Wearable Waistcoat

Hubby sewed the buttons on his waistcoat toile that I started back in December and now has a wearable new waistcoat. The thread and the buttons were bought especially but the fabric is a stashbuster. I would love to add a bold tribal/celtic design using batik wax method and overdye it a darker colour (midnight blue maybe) but he is not convinced (plus I don’t have the equipment).

waistcoat, styled by model

waistcoat, styled by model

I drafted a back collar piece by tracing the top of the lapel piece and the back collar facing and bodged together a full collar, as he didn’t like the way the pattern had a lapel that was sewn into the shoulder seam. I think the result is passable but could look better.

I did add the welt pockets (my first), the first went in better than the second.

And the hemline got straightened at hubby’s request.

apparently it's irresistible from the back

apparently it’s irresistible from the back

The actual waistcoat he wants lined, but with the front facing in the main fabric, keep the straightened hemline but lengthened 2 inches. Which is why it has been taking me so long. I have altered the pieces and cut my lining fabric out and sewed my back seam and it’s now languishing on the pile. So watch this space. Very patiently.

Bunting

I was so good finishing all the buttonholes on Wednesday that yesterday was a day to capitalise on my success.

Well, I’m pleased to report that I finished something. We’ll just gloss over the fact that it was a brand new project rather than a thing on my to do pile, (physically or mental) and celebrate…

hang out the bunting, I finished something

hang out the bunting, I finished something

I was supposed to bake a purple themed cake for a cake sale to raise money for Kidney Research. I tried substituting beetroot into a carrot cake recipe and adding blueberries. The result would not have won prizes for its looks (not sure about taste, I didn’t get to try it, it smelt nice). So I whipped up my tried and testy flapjack recipe instead in case no one wanted to eat it and then I made some purple bunting to make up for it.

As I still have a large piece of slightly mottled home dyed purple calico, I came up with a quick and dirty bunting making method..

marking fabric

marking fabric

Make Template. Mark out triangles on doubled fabric. Sew seams first. Then cut out, turn and press.

cutting out after sewing

cutting out after sewing

Then all that remained was to raid my ribbon box and find a slightly fancy stitch to sew them on. Oh and decide how far apart to place them. I went for the oh so technical width-of-the-metal-plate-on-the-sewing-machine-that-covers-my-bobbin.

So now the PTFA have some bunting for the monthly pop up cafe’s and it all came from my stash. Just don’t tell anyone that I celebrated by starting yet another new project….

Buttonhole Frenzy

OK, not exactly a frenzy, but I did listen to advice, find out all the buttonholes on my to do pile, and do them. And I can report back that I do feel better for it. 20140325_130913
I did 4 buttonholes on pockets flaps on Utility Sashes for Countess Isabella’s Automata (I will try and explain that another time) plus sewed the relevant buttons on, another 4 buttonholes on the waistcoat toile for husbands so-late-it-might-be-early Christmas present (it needs buttons as despite being mottled purple he has declared it wearable) and finally the last 2 buttonholes on a shop bought shirt of my mums “I want an extra 2 buttons on here to stop it gaping, you make such nice buttonholes that I thought you could do them” (I’m not actually complaining by the way, she’s my mum, I think I probably owe her a lot more than 2 buttonholes).
In other news yesterday I stormed through a large part of making up the Tova blouse for my mum (I decided this was priority this week as she’s my mum and its half way between her birthday and mothers day). She tried it on tonight and I think it may need a zip inserted in a side seam to help her get it on and off (she has trouble with stiff shoulders). Or maybe a placket would be more appropriate seeing as we’d just watched the Sewing Bee contestants trying to figure out plackets whilst my mum reminisced about the plackets her grandma put in the tops she made her when she was a child.
I’m also a bit concerned that it has an excess of fabric in the small of her back, although not as much as in my (technically unfinished but has been worn – there’s a back story I’ll tell you sometime) one. I don’t know anything much about patterns but I think this is because the back is one piece and is fitted at the shoulders and relatively fitted at the hips but is not at all fitted around the waist. I was wondering about putting a couple of vertical darts in and was told that I could try tacking them in on mine but it wouldn’t work on hers, as she knew from experience (not sure on the logic here, she’s never made this pattern, but I know I wont win this argument). All in all I’m starting to feel a bit ambivalent about the Tova pattern.
I came back to find my husband sewing the buttons on his waistcoat, which is in general a good thing, but slightly takes the shine off my “I made all of that, all by myself” smugness.
I’m not sure there will be any time for sewing tomorrow, as I have somehow ended up with “bake purple cakes for the PTFA” on my to do list. Wish me luck!

I may be a lost cause

So, this evening, I’m alone in the house, the kids are in bed, I fancy doing a little sewing, but what to sew?

In theory I should finish the other moss mini that I started this week, but I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I have messed up some of the pocket pieces and need to reprint them (and glue the paper together) and recut them (luckily I have loads of fabric left) and possibly do some unpicking and I can’t face all that right now (sorry Y, I will do it soon, no really I will, the need to “get it right” is stronger as it’s not for me and it’s slowing me down).

Well, I only started the skirts because I couldn’t get any further with the Tova for my mum due to temporary pattern misplacement, but that issue is now resolved so I could get cracking on that. But somehow now her birthday is passed it doesn’t seem so urgent (she’s told me more than once that she won’t wear it until the weather is hotter so I shouldn’t rush it).

http://www.thevillagehaberdashery.co.uk/sewing-patchwork/fabric?fabric_collection=1073&limit=all

Tova pattern plus fabric to make it with, errm, plus some more fabric I bought to make a pair of pyjama bottoms with for my husbands birthday at the beginning of March that has been washed but not ironed yet.

http://www.thevillagehaberdashery.co.uk/sewing-patchwork/fabric?fabric_collection=1073&limit=all

my small knit stash

What I really wanted to do tonight was make a pair of leggins as mine are falling apart and I want some to wear with my moss skirts. I have some thickish grey knit fabric (with a very subtle almost rib like stripe going across the fabric) that I bought for this purpose before Christmas that will go with both the old and the new skirt. I bought this fabric right around the same time that I made a pair of self drafted purple leggins, that are both too tight and scratchy and match nothing in my wardrobe. The less said about those the better. So making up new leggins requires remeasuring, re reading the tutorial on drafting leggins, (a novice attempt at a) close examination of stretchiness of knit, diagnostics on the bad fitting leggins, redrafting pattern…..

This is why the fabric has been on my pile for so long despite me desperately needing new leggins. When I began to contemplate doing this and realised what a big job it was I then started thinking about making a top in the same fabric. I remember enough about the leggins disaster to realise that I will not have enough fabric left to do both as leggins take up a surprising amount of fabric. I know why I’m considering a top, check out this great Coco top on Didyoumakethat. I had mentally written the pattern off as a) it seems very popular (I’m not naturally trendy) and b) I had mainly seen photo’s of people with very different body shapes to myself in it (i.e. thiner and with less bust), they all looked fabulous but I was kind of suspicious that I would look less fabulous. However Philippa’s version and the one above suggest that I may be able to pull it off and I already have some grey knit. I would need something contrasting though to get the yoke effect, not sure how easy that would be to find in a similar weight/stretch.

Then I remembered the burgandy knit that I bought at the beginning of December thinking that I’d make some leggins for my daughter to wear to school with her school skirts as she won’t wear trousers, no matter how cold the weather and I suspect that tights aren’t good for her excema. I found it in the last few days after having misplaced it. It’s thinner and drapier than the grey (sorry, I’m pretty clueless how to describe knits) so wouldn’t make contrast yoke, but I’m starting to fantasise about making something out of it for me. I’m not sure if I can be bothered making legins for my daughter now as soon she’ll be in summer uniform and by next autumn she’ll have grown and I’m not sure that she’ll wear them anyway. This knit was bought whilst I was away for the weekend, so if I make a top out of it I wont be able to make her leggins in the future as I can’t sorce burgandy knit fabric. I’m kicking myself I didn’t buy more at the time as then I could make both.

Finally I resolved my dilema by realising that I haven’t washed either knit, so I can’t do anything. I started tidying stuff up instead and that’s when I discovered the real extend of my problems.

things that just need buttons and buton holes:

  • wearable waistcoat toile for husband
  • sashes for mine and husbands Molly kit
  • .

    partially sewn things:

  • summer school top for my daughter that I started about last easter
  • another couple of sashes for the Morris side
  • the waistcoat for my husbands Christmas present (2013)
  • at least 2 other things hidden away upstairs
  • .

    cut out things:

  • upcycling old t-shirts into pants
  • furry ears and tail for a kids costume
  • at least one other thing lurking upstairs
  • .

    things I have the fabric on one side for and are mentally on my pile:

  • tova top for mum
  • pyjama trousers for husband
  • fitting toile and finished item jeans for me (desperately needed but I’m very scared of fitting trousers)
  • tova top for mum
  • pyjama trousers for husband
  • fitting toile and finished item jeans for me
  • another summer dress for daughter
  • more t shirt to pants conversions
  • a top for daughter (couldn’t resist the voile remnant)
  • a couple more kids dressing up costumes for school
  • .

    things I’m planning to make with leftover fabric:

  • waistcoat for son to match his dad
  • baby clothes (for friends)
  • another presido purse
  • or two
  • .

    other ideas on my mental list:

  • trousers for son
  • more trousers for me (assuming first lot don’t put me off entirely)
  • shirt for son
  • tops for me
  • lady skater or penny pinafore for me
  • shirt for husband
  • sweatshirts for me
  • more leggins for me (if I work the pattern out)
  • archer for me
  • HELP! I think I’m a lost cause. But seriously, if anyone has had the stamina to read this far, what should I do with my knit fabric? (I’m quite new to sewing with knits). I have approx 160cm (62″) wide by 3m (10′) of the thicker weight grey knit and approx 1m (40″) by 1m80 (70″) of the thiner drapier burgandy fabric. Any ideas on what my immediate sewing priorities should be and/or how to whittle down and prioritise the multitude of ideas in my head will also be gratefully considered.

    Little bird skirt

    I have a new moss skirt which definitely counts as stash busting as I bought exactly nothing to make it.

    Yay!

    Yay!(Happy pose, with assistant model)

    I wasn’t planning to make myself a skirt. My next project was a Tova top for my mum’s birthday but that got stalled as I couldn’t find the pattern anywhere. (I think it’s probably saved in my old email account, the one that I’m locked out of). But after a few days of being ill I wanted to do some sewing. So instead I cut out a Moss mini from my to do pile (just like mine, but smaller, a present for an old friend) and I worked out that I had just enough of the leftover fabric from my curtains to make the shorter version for me. So I cut both of them out Monday evening. Cutting out is not my favourite task but I felt virtuous afterwards.

    On Tuesday I went round to my Mum’s to watch the Sewing Bee and discovered (as I hoped) that she had the Tova pattern saved on her computer (as that’s where I’d printed it out before), so I was able to print out and tape up the Tova pattern in the smaller sizes. It’s now draped over a chair in my living room with the fabric waiting for me to have time/chance/peace to cut it out.

    Then my week got busy. I didn’t get chance to sew anything until Friday – when I made a start on both the mini’s, production line style and got them both about 1/3 done in an hour.

    I decided to be selfish use mine as a practice for the zip on the one for a present so I went ahead and did more on it last night and finished it this morning.

    Back view

    Front view


    Back View

    Back View

    Actually, there was another reason I chose to get this one finished first. I couldn’t decide if it would make a nice garment or a there’s a reason you can’t buy this in the shops item. I think I’ve decided it’s the former.

    The photo shoot moved indoors for technical reasons

    The photo shoot moved indoors for technical reasons. No idea what’s going on with my expression there.

    I cut a size 16 this time as the 18 I made before is huge. I still ended taking it in at the back seam a cm or two. But I also ended up resewing most of the side seams with less seam allowance as it was a bit tight around the hips.

    As I only had just enough fabric left I used some thin demin offcuts to face the pockets (which don’t show). I also used a strip of this cut on the bias to face the bottom of the skirt. The short version is rather short (fair enough, it’s a mini) and I was slightly alarmed when I tried it on. I faced the hem rather than folding it over twice as I didn’t want to loose any more length than I had to (even though I only plan to wear this over leggins).

    I had been planning to piece the waistband together out of my remaining scraps of fabric. But when I found out I might have to use more than 4 pieces to get a long (or is that wide?) enough strip for a waistband I opted for plan B. Which was to pick the remaining waistband off the trousers that I cut up to make my Swirly skirt and use that instead. This was not really time saving in the end with all the unpicking, but worked amazingly well, I didn’t even have to do any resizing. As a bonus it came with belt loops (but as this skirt actually fits I don’t need to wear a belt with this one) a pre done button hole and a jeans style belt button.

    DSCF5098[1]

    My major headache with the make was breaking the zip this morning, I must have not sewn it in properly and it slid off the end. I got it fixed in the end and have sewn over the bottom to stop that happening it again.

    I’m really pleased with my bonus skirt. I like the darker grey cord waistband with the fabric and I’m not bothered by the fact the pattern doesn’t match at all (the only pattern choice I had space to make was to have a bird peeping out of the top of my left pocket) – it doesn’t show much on this fabric. I may even be inspired to take the waistband off my other moss and refit it when I’m doing the waistband for the one I’m making as a gift.

    Right, off to try the skirt out in public now and see if I get laughed at for wearing something made from curtain fabric….

    Ups and downs

    Every time we’re camping I think that I really must sort out the camping stuff when we’re back home, and then we’re back and tired and there’s a pile of washing and I never do.

    Well, on Saturday night I was left alone whilst hubby did a spot of babysitting for friends and I made a bit of low key late birthday present for him.

    I found 2 different pairs of irreparable cord trousers that had been his and one of his favourite old shirts that had been worn until it was threadbare in places and made two useful things.

    First up a bag for storing camping crockery in (the one we currently use has been his for about 30 years as far as I can tell and is starting to fall apart. It’s some dodgy 70’s synthetic fabric. I would’ve taken a comparison photo but there is a mountain of lego piled up in front of the cupboard its in).

    utlititarian

    utlititarian

    It’s nothing fancy but as a non quilter/piecer I was pleased with my results. I was too tired to work out what size to cut the top squares in order to be able to fold them over to make a channel for the drawstring so I used a piece of facing from the shirt instead.

    Then I made a cutlery roll, again not very inspiring but hopefully useful. There was quite a lot of the purple ribbon in my ribbon box so I tried a hanging loop too, but I’m not sure how that’ll work not least as there’s not many places to hang stuff from in our bell tent. The bottoms of the pockets are reinforced with some more cord to help toughen up the shirt fabric. There are 5 pockets because that seemed to fit the width of the fabric I had.

    DSCF5085[1]

    Anyhow, that definitely counts as scrapbusting. I think I’m starting to notice a bit more room in one of my fabric boxes now too. Whilst rootling I found the piece of netting fabric that I had lost in there so made a replacement net curtain for the one the kids had ripped in their room and an extra one for the landing at hubby’s request. But even I am not boring enough to photograph hemmed rectangles of fabric (although, that’s pretty much what the bag is so maybe I am).

    Today however I’m down in the dumps. I offered to make my mum a Tova blouse for her birthday. I was going to cut it out last night but I went to bed before the kids as I was knocked out by a cold cough thingy. Never mind, there’s always Monday morning. Except I have lost the file to print the pattern out from – which I need to do as my Mum is smaller size than me. I’m hoping it’s sitting on her laptop somewhere as when I printed it out before it was at her flat as I didn’t have a working printer at the time. Except she’s coming here for lunch between appointments so I’m twiddling my thumbs in frustration. I’m busy all day tomorrow and it’s her birthday on Wednesday. Gah…..

    I love it when a plan comes together

    Remember that random pile of fabric that I was starting a new project with rather being disciplined and doing something from my to do/finish pile? Well, I have absolved myself from any guilt as I have now finished another Presido purse from Erin’s wonderful pattern and this is the best one yet!

    Image

    It started when a neighbour was admiring my Spotty Presido. I said that I might have enough of that fabric left* to make her one. However she said that she’d be fine with lots of different scraps of fabric. Now I have just joined a stashbusting group on Facebook. The theme this month is seasonal change in your wardrobe which has made me realise that due to me being very new to sewing clothes, I don’t have much fabric suitable for clothing in my stash. (Although I do have items I could make on my to do pile, which is arguably stash, so I don’t really have an excuse not to join in.) What I do have in my 3 large boxes of stash includes quite a few upholstery remnants that I’ve picked up over the years, thinking “this would make a good bag”. And this thought kept swirling around my head and wouldn’t go away. My neighbour likes blues and purples and lots of colours, so I had a rummage and a plan was born.

    I started with the lining. I had just enough of this funky camper van fabric left from making my niece a PE bag to cut a front a back piece for the bag. For the sides I used the leg of an old pair of linen trousers from my husband. I realised that the trousers had unused pockets still sewn up from when they were bought on the back, so I unpicked them and added them to the bag with an extra camper van on one as they were looking a little plain. The bag side got an extra pocket too.

    Completed lining

    Completed lining

    I was pretty pleased with how things were going. I like the two tone look, the camper vans might be a bit much all on their own but with the green they look pretty stylish. Plus I award myself points for inventively squeezing a lining out of what was to hand. At this point my husband predicted that the lining was going to end up being the outer fabric again but I had other ideas.

    For the outer I had a plain purple textured remnant of fabric like the blue that ended up inside the birthday bag – perfect weight for the bag and the right kind of colour. I had learnt my lesson that this fabric was too plain on it’s own to have the impact I wanted, but I didn’t want to make the inserts as in the pattern. Somewhere on the wibblyweb I have seen a version with the pocket featured on the outside but I’m darned if I can remember where. Anyway, whoever you were, thank you for your inspiration. I put a featured blue pocket with a satin stripe in it on the front of my bag to spice it up.

    blue stripey pocket feature with reclaimed zip

    blue stripey pocket feature with reclaimed zip

    This time of following Erin’s instructions the cunning zipper end fabric bits that help make it look a little more professional are nearly lined up with the rest of the pocket, but they still step in a bit. Dashed if I can work out what I’m still doing wrong there, I read the instructions really thoroughly. Also I carefully pattern matched the pocket top and pocket bottom (the bits above and below the zip), then ruined my hard work by sewing the top on upside down. The non matching stripes are annoying but seemingly not irritating me enough for me to have been bothered to unpick it and resew. Also the zipper lies a little wobbly rather than flat, but I don’t think anyone but me will notice. And its recycled from a trashed coat of hubbies so more brownie points for me there.

    Spot the outer pocket lurking in the background waiting to be sewn over the inner one after its finished having the pen pockets tested

    Spot the outer pocket lurking in the background waiting to be sewn over the inner one after its finished having the pen pockets tested

    To save my shiny blue fabric I lined the pocket with a thin denim piece my mum had given me – strange shaped offcuts from a skirt she made that was cut on the bias. I made the inner pocket in this fabric too and it got a heart appliquĂ©d on because I had it lying around in my sewing box cut out (it was cut out from scraps lying about from the girls birthday dress in order to wind my husband up – I threatened to patch a hole in the knee of his trousers with it. Unsurprisingly he objected).

    stripey sides

    stripey sides

    The side is some similar upholstery fabric in greeney stripes with one stripe of purple that matches the other fabric well. Its the same bumpy style of fabric too, but has some white stuff (fire retardant?) sprayed all over the back of it which makes it noticeably stiffer. I cut it on the fold so I didn’t have to seam it and pattern match. Another top tip picked up from a source I’ve forgotten (sorry, must pay more attention when late night blog browsing). As well as taking off the seam allowance I made it shorter still as with the other two presido bags I have found there was more fabric in this piece than the front and back pieces and struggled to match them. This tactic worked well with the lining but on the outer I ended up with too short a stripey piece and ended up having to put a couple of tucks in my purple fabric at the corners to get them to fit together. Maybe it didn’t work this time as the bottom/side piece was stiff and the front/back pieces were stretchy. Anyway, blame me, not Erin.

    The only thing I bought for this bag was the flanged piping (spot the newly learnt technical term), which is black with gold flecks. I was a bit worried that the gold flecks would look tacky, but they’ve come out just fine. I love how professional the piping makes the finished bag look, I’m becoming addicted and it’s only the 3rd time I’ve used it (thanks again Erin for your sewalong piping tips). But the only shop I’ve found so far to sell it has just 3 or 4 colours and they told me they’re not getting any more in once they’ve sold out, so I will have to find a new source or tackle making my own. This time I sewed it to both sides of the straight side of the side/bottom piece, rather than round the curved front back pieces, and this was definitely easier.

    DSCF5080[1]

    Front and back completed, now came the time to sew them together with a zip. I was really pleased how they had both come out, the lining looks good enough to be an outer, yet it’s not really outery fabric. Then I had an almost cunning plan whilst looking through my zipper box. I found a big long zip salvaged from a tent. One that went around the door and had two zipper bits each double sided. I thought that if I used a double sided zip the bag could be reversable, unfortunatley I forgot to think about the toplogy of the bag (‘scuse the technical maths term for the shape – specifically here I’m referring to the fact that the handle makes the bag have a hole in it, like a dougnuht, ok, enough maths, I know not everyone loves it like I do).

    Anyway, I sewed on a cut down to size double sided zipper but, when you turn the bag inside out you cant use it as the handle gets in the way, like this…

    Image

    If you actually want to make a reversible presido purse you’d need a double sided open zipper, not sure where you’d get one from, certainly not my zipper stash.

    Apart from that cutting the long tent zip down to size worked quite well in the end. I used less than half of it and only one of the zippers, so I still have a super long double sided zip I can use for something else. Did I say it went well? Except for the bit where the zipper tape was unravelling as it got caught being unpicked and I couldn’t find my clear nail varnish so I used some gold thinking it would be inside the seam, but as it was at the end that sits inside the bag it is visible. Oh and because the ends of the zip were cut off it is possible to zip the zipper off the end before the ends are sewn into the seam. I was very careful not to do this. And then I forgot and did it anyway. Gahhh. After much gnashing of teeth and head scratching this was solved by a trip to my friendly local shoe shop where they cut off my lovely fabric end stop from the beginning of the zip and reset it for me. This meant one end was a cm or so longer than the other, but it still seemed to match up ok so I trimmed the zip, unpicked and resewed the endstop (a campervan one side, demin the other) although it doesn’t look quite as neat as it did before after all that mucking about.

    My zipper (extra long as per pattern instructions so that you can fully open the bag), complete with campervan end stopper and dodgy gold nail varnish to stop the tape fraying.

    My zipper (extra long as per pattern instructions so that you can fully open the bag), complete with campervan end stopper and dodgy gold nail varnish to stop the tape fraying.

    Then I was very careful with the end of the zip until I had sewn on the handles (purple and green linen with piping just down the sides (not around the anchor bit) that I remembered to assemble so as to not have raw edges showing at the end this time), sewn the lining on, turned the bag (which feels like it shouldn’t work but does) and folded the remaining raw edges under, carefully trapping the zip ends in to prevent further accidents and topstitched all around.

    At the end I had a little piping left so I replaced the tag on the zip with it even though it meant hand sewing the ends of the piping to stop it fraying (I don’t really have the patience for handsewing).

    And voila, one thank you present bag which was happily received.

    Image

    *apart from the stuff that’s earmarked for a make for a friend, I haven’t forgotten you Y