Me Made May 14

My pledge for Me Made May 14
‘I, Rosemary, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear three different me made items each week for the duration of May 2014’
This is a cunning one, as I only have 4 self made items in my wardrobe* , one of which is on the mending pile and another one of which badly needs altering. So, at least I will have too do some adjusting but I hope it will spur me into making (and finishing) some more things for me. Maybe even this week, it is selfish sewing week after all (hey, did they time this to fit in nicely on purpose?).

*due to only making clothes for a year and most of those have been for my kids, who are easier to fit!

Frustrations and next steps

Since getting from holiday I seem to have fallen off the sewing saddle. I tried to remedy this by making the pair of pajama trousers I planned to make hubby for his birthday back in March and I did complete them in one swoop, but whilst he has declared them wearable I am distinctly unipressed and they hasn’t helped. I’m not too ashamed to blog about them but have yet to manage to photograph them.

Tonight I decide to do some PDF pattern printing and matching, not least the pieces I need to recut for the moss skirt I’m making for a present for a friend (having cut the paper pattern out to my size the first time I forgot that not all pattern pieces of a smaller pattern lie within the bigger pattern pieces and when I came to assembly her skirt not all of the skirt pieces match up – so I need to reprint parts of the pattern and recut some of my pattern pieces. Luckily I have oodles of fabric).

This has been frustrating. I knew it would be, but I expected the frustration to be in getting my pattern pieces to match up (yes, I make sure I print them fixed and not scaled, that doesn’t seem to help) – am I the only person who has to choose whether to match up the pattern lines on the long side of the page or the short side when assembly pdf pieces? I have read helpful hints about cutting off one long and one short size to make matching easier, using selotape not glue, making sure your printer isn’t scaling the page, but haven’t come accross acounts of what to do when the pieces simply don’t line up (another problem I’ve come accross, the notches line up or the pattern lines but not both).

Anyway, I’ve not got that far as I’m having printer, wifi, computer and all combinations of the above issues that I won’t bore you with.

Instead, I have been looking at the knit fabric I bought on holiday

new stash

new stash

The plain turquoise one I think might be a ponte, its certainly thick and has a fient stripey texture going across it. It’s about 1.5m wide and I bought 2m. I estimate it has 50% stretch (but I’m not confident with knits, yet). The stripey one is thiner, more a sort of t shirt weight (except you get different kinds of t shirt fabric) and again I bought 2m x 1.5 m. I can’t decide if the dark stripe is a really dark navy or black, the other colour is green, it looks too yellow in the photo. I think it has about 60% stretch.

This more than doubles my amount of knit stash. The turquoise fabric is the same kind as one I already brought, 1.5m x 1.5m of dark grey. DSCF5254[1]. Also I have a quite thin and drapey burgandy knit, 1.75m x 1m (its a strange length as there’s a piece at one end that is marked so I got extra).

So, what to make? When we were away my kids were often wearing things I’d made, me markedly less so, so I’m inspired to do some selfish sewing. I’m also pondering taking part in Me Made May but as I currently only have 3 or 4 items I’ve made for me I’d end up making a pretty weak pledge. Some knit tops might be quick to make up, and help me forget that I still haven’t finished the muslin for my trousers despite my cat doing her best to tear my few wearable pairs to shreds so I’m heading towards trouser crisis territory.

The grey ponte was bought to make leggins with but I really screwed up the other pair I tried to make and I’m not sure now if they’re the right kind of fabric for leggins. However I’m also not sure I want the colour near my face. Hmm.

The burgandy was bought to make leggins for my daughter with but I’ve decided she won’t appreciate it and I want to make something for me. Maybe a plantain? But that’s designed for a C cup, whereas I’m at least an F. I’ve never done a full bust adjustment, can you even do them with knits? Or should I be brave and look out a pattern with a drapey neck effect – maybe something like New Look 6901 view A. I would love there to be enought left to try out the comox trunk pattern that I accidently bought despite my husband voicing reservations but I’m starting to realise that I vastly overestimate what I can make from a piece of fabric.

I have a major crush on this colour blocked coco top Karen at Did You Make That made and I’m considering making a blatant copy in grey and turquoise, which will leave me loads of turquoise left, so maybe a turquoise funnel neck coco too? I was initially wary of the coco pattern as Tilly is so petite and I didn’t think anything that suited her would suit me, but I’m impressed by how flattering it seems to be for lots of different shapes of people in the blogosphere.

And what to do with the stripey knit? A hemlock t shirt? But it’s a one size pattern and I’m not Jen’s size, would that work? I want to make something with it as a) I love the fabric, b) I spent more money than I intended on just 4m of knit (including the turquoise too), c) I want to try and make a buff style scarf (and possibly some comox trunks) with the remnants.

So any thoughts for a knit novice with a reasonable amount of sewing experience but hardly any adult clothes making experience and a slight terror of fitting? What would you make with those knits? (Bearing in mind that I have the figure I have) Holiday snap Exibit A, the only holdiay snap of me I could find. To show my general figure (as most of the pictures on this blog are of small children, except here and here). Also included as evidence of why I need to learn to make myself trousers that fit.

Sew Sessment

I am back from holiday, with a couple of pieces of knit fabric stashed in my rucksack that I bought in Edinburgh. I seem to have come back full of intentions of organisey things I can do (for instance I have finally changed the rest of the handles I brought for the kids wardrobes over a year ago) but very little sewing mojo. I keep looking at my pile and thinking “oh, I have an hour I could squeeze some sewing in today” and then doing something else.

However, Karen has posted a Sew Sessment on her Did You Make It Blog, so I’ve done that.

SEW SESSMENT! See How Your Sewing Lines up

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home: Jeans, t shirt, long sleeved thicker t shirts
Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:N/s
Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!): Having ideas, starting things, err, little fear of following instructions (deciphering sewing instructions holds no fear once you’ve tried to read a postgraduate maths textbook)
Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!): Finishing things, having too many projects on the go, patience (in general, with cutting out in particular)
Top Three Sewing Goals: Make myself some trousers that fit, then make some more trousers, make more clothes for me in general
Top Three People Who Enable Me: Lots of lovely bloggers, sometimes my mum (great sewer, not always very tactful though), my long suffering husband (who puts up with a lot, including my late night sewing antics)
Top Three People I Enable: My kids, myself, my husband (sews his own morris related stuff but asks for advice)
Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew: Lack of organisation, large enough chunks of time in daylight without kids around, lack of discipline
Top Three Reasons I Can Sew: Lack of organisation (I get to prioritise sewing over more important things and to hell with it), unhealthy disregard for the amount of sleep I need, long suffering husband
NUMBER ONE CHALLENGE I SET MYSELF! Make some trousers for me (I have some cheapish fabric bought, I have a partly made muslin)

I think it’s pretty clear, if I ever get my mojo back, apart from finishing all my unfinished objects on my pile, I need to stop distracting myself with making things for other people (such as my kids, who have loads of clothes) and bite the bullet and learn to make myself (who has at most 3 semi decently fitting pairs of trousers) some clothes that I actually want to wear (which is not dresses – I don’t wear dresses, most sewing bloggers seem to blog about dresses, ok, maybe I exagerate butyou know what I mean).

Now excuse me, some one mentioned a new Oliver and S baby layette pattern and my friend is expecting baby no 4 next week…..

Gift Bag

What’s that you say, I might be getting a teensy bit obsessed with making Erin’s Presido pattern.

You aren’t the first, when my son saw the half made bag the following conversation happened…

“Is that a problem?”
“It might be a problem if you keep on making bags”

This was the leverage he used to get me to make him some trousers (the bag was finished first but it only just made it to it’s recipient so I didn’t blog it sooner).

There’s not much more to say on the pattern, this one has the pocket on the outside like last time and I used some more scraps from that dress to make a lotus flower applique decoration, because I thought it would go down well with the recipient.

technical drawing and pattern cutting

“technical drawing” and pattern cutting

petals cut and ready to go

petals cut and ready to go

part way through

part way through

After trying out arranging the petals I realised that you could pretty much do anything with them and it ended up looking like a lotus flower. So I just went for it. The fabric doesn’t fray so I just used a straight stitch, much quicker. I’m pretty pleased with the result, although slightly less pleased that in my enthusiasm I sewed it on lopsided, but I decided to call it a design feature. Also, don’t look too closely at the applique, some of my petals aren’t sewn on as neat as they could be.

Finished bag

Finished bag

The greeney fabrics are all upholstery remnants from my stash bought for bag making at some point. The lining is part of a remnant of the fabric my mum just used to recover her sofa cushions that I had to wrestle off her. The zips are recylced from a worn out coat of my husbands. Speaking of zips, the main zip on this was a complete pain. I don’t think using two such thick fabrics helped (my previous linings have all been thinner but I wanted to use something sunny for this one and that was the obvious fabric choice), plus I think I was getting a little blase at remembering to read and follow the instructions after all the times I’ve made the pattern and I ended up sewing the zip on too close to the edge. It looked great, but it kept sticking. I unpicked my top stitching, (which was hard work as the thread matched so perfectly) and pressed out a few wrinkles in the lining around the zip, tacked it by hand, pressed again and re topstitched it. It’s a lot better now but far from perfect, but I honestly didn’t think I could do all the unpicking needed to reinsert the zip without damaging the fabric, unpicking one of the bag handles alone would have been enough of a job. Also it’s a usable bag without a zip, so hey. (Needless to say it took a while of the bag being left on the shelf while I sulked in between steps before I reached this conculsion).

pockets galore

pockets galore

All my pockets were made from remnants that I had lying about. I put a small pocket inside the zip pocket as per Erin’s instructions. I made a simple rectangular pocket for the inside too. And I tried making a pocket on the side out of some mesh from the lining of hubby’s coat which has elastic at the top to pull it in. The idea was a kind of meshey outside pocket you could put the wrappers and used tissues that come from being out and about with children in, until you reach a bin. The idea is good, but my mesh scrap was the wrong shape so the pocket is pretty shallow and the elastic didn’t work as well as I wanted. Hey ho.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this bag too and the only thing I purchased to make it was the flanged piping (which I’m getting pretty adicted too).

Holiday trousers

I have been sewing, but a little less due to Easter holidays around here. Recently I’ve finished a bag, post soon when it’s finsihed winging it’s way to it’s recipient, plus the Tova blouse for my mum’s birthday which I was so pleased I got done that I forgot to take any pictures of. Hey ho.

I also had a request, bordering on a demand, for some trousers for my son. He pointed out that there were some included on the pattern I used to make his shirt. There’s no flies on him.

So I made some Simplicity 4760 trousers. With extra pockets (a coin pocket, and two differently shaped back pockets) as directed. (Although I got out of putting a pocket with flap on the back of one of the calves as he relented at the last minute to my pleas). The pocket fabrics, all different, were all chosen from my remnant stash by the boy. The zip is from a coat of his that got destroyed at school. I didn’t have anything suitable for the main fabric in my collection so I took him fabric shopping and after a lot of deliberation he chose some black denim (to my relief, something else might have been too much with the pockets).

front view

front view

back view

back view

So, the pattern. I looked at the finished measurements on the pattern – the large size were the same lenth as some he has and there seemed to be no waist measurement for the finished pattern. So I made a medium (as he’s skinny) in the length of the long plus 1″ for growing, which meant I added 4 ” to the length. They came out 4 ” too long so I improvised lining the bottom 4 inches of the trousers in left overs from his last shirt. They were also too large in the waist.

The waist of these trousers annoyed me, there is no waistband, just some facing on the inside. (I cut it from his shirt remnant before I planned the turnup lining as I thought it would make him smile). I’m sure a waistband would’ve been as easy to do an the result would’ve been better. What is it with major pattern companies and trousers without proper waistbands? I tried to find a pattern to make myself trousers years ago and none of them had waistbands either. I stayed with the pattern due to time pressure and sewing in the daytime with kids about, but I ended up putting some elastic in the back. I also struggled with the opening. It’s supposed to have a button on the inside of the fly at the top of the zip with the buttonhole on the underlay (I think). But my zip ended up going right to the top and the underlay was longer than the rest of the trousers and stuck up over the top. Not sure what I did there, but I fudged it, folded down the underlay and sewed it into place, sewed the button on the front as decoration and added a hook an eye at the top of the zip to stop them falling down. Its a bit of a mess really, but it works and I don’t think anyone will notice when he’s wearing them.

All in all I hate this pattern and will never make it again, although I might steal the external patch pocket with a diagonal opening that turns into the belt loops, but I’ll make it better so the belt loops fit a belt in more easily. My other peeve is that the legs of these trousers are really baggy. Before I fixed the waist, when he was having a fitting and was stood there holding them up, with the baggy legs, colourful pockets and mad turn ups my husband commented that he only needed braces and he’d look like a clown. That didn’t help.

Anyway, the boy is very pleased with them and I managed to finish them in time for him to take away on our holiday tomorrow. In fact, he’s going to wear them to travel in.