Vivian jeans

There she was just a walking down the street...

There she was just a walking down the street…

In a bright red version of

In a bright red version of Ottobre 5:2012 curvy fit jeans

She got the raspberry stretch denim from Minerva craft after a tip off on

She got the raspberry stretch denim (with a lovely soft fuzzy feel) from Minerva craft after a tip off on Karen’s blog

secret rainbows

and the pockets are lined with secret rainbows

action shot

despite making them the same size as before they are a little tight, even after letting out some seam allowance, but they’re still wearable and comfy

The zipper insertion instructions caused some headscratching until she realised that

The zipper insertion instructions caused some headscratching until she realised that
last time she’d written a tutorial

hmm

and her first ever proper jeans button went well, but the button hole needs to be further over as the fly gapes a little – a hook and eye bodge is planned

Perfectly turned corner pocket

The coin pocket has perfectly turned corners though

X marks the spot

she had fun with the centre back belt loops though

fox detail

but best of all is the back pocket topstitching

work in progress

taken from Ottobre 4 2014 and sewn on through greaseproof high quality tracing paper

Draped skirt

So, after showing you my latest t shirt I was hoping to show you some new jeans next, but they are coming together very slowly as I’m quite under the weather with a nasty chesty cold thingy and jeans are just a tad too complicated for me at the moment.

However, yesterday, I decided I needed some fresh air, so took a little trip down the road to my very local fabric shop. I had a fun time chatting to all the staff, shame about the massive coughing fit on the way home that saw me going in a corner shop with tears streaming down my face to buy a drink 😦 Luckily I don’t think the shop assistant looked in my direction once whilst serving me so presumably hasn’t jumped to any conclusions about my distressed looking state.

However, as well as some more thread for my jeans, I picked up a few other things. In my defence, I only got 1/2 m of one, two more were from the remnants basket (and one of those was something I’d been eyeing up on the roll before) and the other was a little grey jersey. Just perfect for trying out Maria’s draped skirt tutorial. (I just may have worked out measurements before hand and took them with me my trip.)

Maria Denmark fan girl

spot the Maria Denmark fan girl (that’s my Day to Night T shirtDay to Night t shirt I’m wearing too)

Basically, you make a tube, twice as long as you want your skirt to be, then fold it in half (so you have a double layer), but twist one of the tops round 180 degrees. (If you’re confused, check out the tutorial, it’s very clear).

roll top

roll top

I put a yoga style folded waistband at the top made from some ribbing. It was the sort that comes in a knitted tube which was a close enough match sizewise to what I needed the waistband to be, so I managed not to have any side seams.

back view

back view – the best of some very bad photo’s!

The skirt looks like a weird jumbled mess when it’s not on and your feet have to fight their way through when putting it on as it doesn’t feel as if there’s a hole at the bottom. When I first put it on, it feels very tight around the knees (bearing in mind I tend to live in jeans and don’t have any pencil skirts), but I can walk in it just fine and it’s very comfy to wear. I won’t go cycling or tree climbing in it, but if I worked in an office I think I might run up another couple to be secret office pajamas.

long scarf

long scarf

There was a long strip of fabric left over, so I made a quick scarf.

guts

guts

As these things tend to flip out, I used a french seam to stop the seam showing, then sewed it down, faux flat felled seam style. The sides I left raw.

doubled up

doubled up

And doubled up it works as a shorter scarf and it can also function as a headband (although it’s a bit bulky that way).

All in all, a quick couple of makes to cheer me up and there was no left over fabric at all! Double win. Now, back to edging forward with the jeans…

Teal Birgitte

Hi there. I’ll try to be quick today as this is not super exciting make (but it is super useful and all being well I will have a more interesting thing to show you soon).

As part of the outfit sew a long I had plans to make t shirts. Three or four. After all they’re quick to make aren’t they? I managed one. Then I got ill. But I’m recovering now. So, one t shirt is in some ways is a start towards my September outfit for the sew along, except I’m not sure that it’ll go with the rest of my outfit plans.

teal tastic

teal tastic

However, this teal coloured Maria Denmark Birgitte t shirt does go rather well with the skirt I made earlier this summer and is a colour that I love to wear, so I’m not too disappointed. And it was quick make as I’ve already made it before and tweaked the fit.

hmm, less than ideal

hmm, less than ideal

The fabric is some gorgeous organic jersey from Kitschy Coo (warning, this stuff is seriously addictive, check your willpower before clicking on that link) that I got exactly matching ribbing for (previously seen on my niece’s birthday pressie) – every home sewists dream. So you can imagine I was less than impressed that it’s done this. My neck bindings don’t normally do that, have I offended the sewing gods? Can anyone suggest a suitable offering to get back in their good books?

I did not want a flip top sleeve :(

I did not want a flip top sleeve 😦

This problem however, is fairly common. I sew my hems with my twin needle, they look fine, and then when I wear them they flip up. Any suggestions on this one? (preferably not involving buying an expensive piece of hardware). I know Amanda suggests binding the arms to stop this, but I don’t always want to do that.

wierd creases

wierd creases

Finally, while we’re being picky, when looking through the photo’s I saw these wierd creases. What’s that all about? Or am I being fussy now.

Anyway, don’t pay too much attention to my moaning, this t shirt is going to get a lot of wear. And Anne has just reminded me that there is a longer sleeved option that I’d forgotten about. Oh and have you spotted my mistake in the construction of the t shirt above?

Skirt

I resurfaced after a lot of summer traveling (less glamorous than it sounds that, think long journeys on trains with kids in tow, packed lunches and heavy rucksacks) to find that the Sew-A-Longs & Sewing Contests group on facebook had been making Messenger Bags in August. I love making bags and felt slightly sad to have missed out on all the fun (only slightly, after all I’d made my own bag in July). Never mind, I thought, I’d join in with the September sew a long.

Turns out that is to make an outfit, skirt, top, trousers and accessory. One a week for a month. Eek. Talk about upping the sewing ante.

where to start

where to start

So, time to get cracking then. Except I couldn’t start. I just had too many things to do, in theory as well as literally. I wanted to join in with so many online things (shirt refashion, Sew Indie Month, a leggings sew a long I now can’t find, the September outerwear stashbusting theme), and then there were all the half finished projects threatening to engulf my dining room at home. Oh and an upcoming birthday.

mending pile

mending pile

Anyway, once again my Sewing Fairy Godmother helped (thanks Crystal), this time in the form of a much needed message to stop worrying and get on with it. As the first item on the outfit sew a long was skirt, I decided if I couldn’t face making one from scratch, I could at least start by digging out all the skirts from the pile and seeing what needed doing to them. First off, 3 skirts got mended (hmm, I suspect the underlying problem was strain, although the symptoms were different), and one that needed altering for “a friend” got put back.

shoddy lining

shoddy lining

Next up I made an inserting the lining that this skirt should’ve had all along. The fabric was a pig to work with and I wasn’t in the mood, so the finished result is not pretty, but it works and it’s not visible.

spot the difference

spot the difference

After whetting my sewing appetite I decided to tackle a skirt that was part made and in the naughty corner because I traced the wrong line so my pocket facings and skirt fronts didn’t line up. This is another Ottobre Aztec skirt 05/201, made with pockets as intended this time. Turned out this was an easy fix, just recut the skirt fronts to match and bob’s your uncle. It came together quite easily after that.

pockets done at last

pockets done at last – you can sort of see that it’s shot cord here, but the photo’s don’t do this fabric justice

Although I’m not sure if past me cut the pocket pieces the other way up on purpose or not, which of course, shows a bit as the cord has a nap, but it kind of looks like a deliberate design feature, so I kept it.

all done

all done

Still, in no time I had a skirt.

pansy close up

pansy close up

And I found a pansy I’d made at a workshop and decided to add that on a whim. I oh so badly handstitched it on, hoping that the interfacing behind the velvet petals would work magic. This picture is taken after a wash and it’s clear that I need to redo this. I may just zig zag on the machine.

zip - must pay more attention

zip – must pay more attention

Buying the zip was a dream as I had to take my half made skirt with me to get a good match and the fabric got oohed and ahhed over by all the staff in the shop 🙂 I bought an invisible zip, but I’m thinking I didn’t do so well inserting that. Still, it works.

jaunty half lining

jaunty half lining

The lining had been made previously from stash, but I didn’t have enough of this batik style print cotton, so it ended up a half lining. I’m quite proud of my handstitching down of the waistband. (Not sure what came over me). I even remembered to add ribbon hanging loops this time. The handstitching of the hem isn’t too bad, but a little wonky as when shortening the skirt I don’t appear to have cut my seam allowances evenly.

hand stitched button hole, not pretty, but it works

hand stitched button hole, not pretty, but it works

Then my button hole on the machine stopped working. I thought I would have to put this back on hold until someone pointed out I could handstitch that. I had a quick search and found suggestions to use strong thick thread held double. Well, I think I should’ve gone with my instinct to use it single, as this vintage button thread was a bit thick double. So again, no prizes for my hand stitching, but at least it works.

front

front

And it fits! The fabric is so soft and drapey, it feels lovely.

look, embellished skirt!

look, embellished skirt!

I’m still not quite sure about the impulse pansy, but I think it works.

super photo bomber

super photo bomber

Of course, the photo session had to be supervised!

it's supposed to show the back of my skirt Mr Photographer!

it’s supposed to show the back of my skirt Mr Photographer!

This is all I have of a back shot. I’m wearing my Dimpsy T from the naughty corner here. Thimberlina has made lovely versions and I’m sure part of the problem is my poor choice of fabric.

Excess fabric dismay

Excess fabric dismay

But though it would be less obvious in a drapier fabric, I still don’t like the excess here and have no idea how to fix it. I’m pretty sure that the issue is that whilst it’s drafted for a larger cup size than your average pattern, my cup size is larger still (F-G) so I should have chosen my size based on my upper bust measurement and done an FBA, but had no idea how with that unusual dart. So back on the naughty pile it has gone.

Anyway, half way through September and I have finished a skirt that doesn’t count towards the sew a long as I started it ages ago. Still, this is my hobby, so I don’t mind, the point is to have fun and I’ve been loving wearing my new skirt and the challenge got it finished for me.

Are you a challenge joiner-in-er or a do-your-own-thing-er?

Bag of Tricks

all packed and ready to go

all packed and ready to go

Earlier this summer I made a bag for hubby, to replace one that was starting to look a little the worse for wear (despite mending) and had a tendency to gape.

photobombed by an owl

photobombed by an owl

The main fabric I used was some thick organic cotton fabric from Wheeler Fabrics in Machynllyth especially for the purpose. Lovely stuff, not cheap but great quality and we liked the subtle pattern. Not waterproof, but then neither was the original bag.

the inside basic construction

the inside basic construction – with the original bag top right

Nearly everything else was from stash. I lined it with some leftover khaki fabric that is a really tight weave and if not waterproof, its slightly water repellent. I made the lining first to check the sizing as I was winging it self drafting.

pen pocket, check

pen pocket, check

I was all for filling it with pockets (I love pockets), but the Man was not so keen. He did relent and say a pen pocket would be useful…

coffee cup pocket

coffee cup pocket

… and maybe somewhere to put his sealable reusable coffee cup that goes everywhere with him.

pocket ready to attach

pocket ready to attach

Apparently an essential feature with the deep pockets on the outside.

lining the pockets with his old waterproof coat

lining the pockets with his old waterproof coat – this piece needed a small mend before I could attach it to the outside pocket

I lined these with scraps of various things, including his old waterproof coat. The front pocket started rectangular and had the “fold lines” stitched.

mitre

mitre

Then I mitred the bottom corners and stitched in place. I didn’t cut the excess fabric, but left it there.

ta da

ta da

It seemed to work ok.

pockets on

pockets on

I zig zagged at the top of the sides when sewing them on, to add strength at this stress point, and I zig zagged along the bottom edge too.

snaps on

snaps on

After sewing them on I decided to topstitch along the edges to add definition. And I added some snaps with my new favourite tool. I could only get nave blue ones the right size/weight locally, which was annoying, but not enough to do anything about.

side pocket with pieced lining and contrast sides

side pocket with pieced lining and contrast sides

I didn’t have quite enough fabric (only having bought a metre) so I used some left over green cord, which ended up being a nice feature. As this was just used as the sides of the side pockets, I constructing them differently, cutting a long strip of green for the sides and base and sewing it around 3 sides of the chevron front piece – which is how the original pockets were constructed. The insides of these pockets are a mish mash of different fabrics and are constructed in the same way to the outside.

reinforcing the top of the back

reinforcing the top of the back

The original bag has some kind of reinforcing along the top of the back. I managed this by cutting a strip off a thin plastic chopping board, rounding the edges slightly to avoid them tearing the fabric and sliding it inside a strip of cord sewn across, with a handle peeking out.

in action

in action

All the pocket fastenings come from my box of stuff culled off old bags. I put them on in the way that makes sense to me, which is apparently upside down, but hey, they work and are still adjustable. I had to buy extra strapping for the shoulder straps as I didn’t have a long enough piece, it looks like the right kind of stuff but is annoyingly slippier, not what you want, but hubby has managed to get it to stay in place in the end (makes it harder to adjust thought).

in action

in action

So, the verdict, pretty good. Looks the part, but is a bit wide and the top still gapes a bit despite me adding flaps to the top of the front and sides designed to sit under the main flap. I love the external pockets though and my flaps have much better coverage than the originals (if I say so myself). With hindsight, I rushed making it a bit, and should have started from scratch design wise rather, than copying a less than perfect design. But then, instead of making it around Scotland, it would probably still be sitting on my to do pile, which is no use to anyone. And is it is, it’s still being used regularly (I saw him with it today), so I’m not too disappointed. Next time however….

Nothing like a deadline.

Ta Da

Ta Da

Life is busy sometimes. I’d been planning this a little while, but only started tracing the pattern yesterday afternoon. Finished in the early hours of this morning for his birthday today. Cutting it fine.

too busy opening presents to pose

too busy opening presents to pose


I’m not going to look at it too closely, cos I’m sure the sewing could be better (the seams are fine, it its the more visible pocket application and bindings that have room for improvement). But it is finished, it fits, and he’s worn it all day (despite it not being school uniform, not sure how he managed that).

side seams inside and out

side seams inside and out – you can just make out the reverse of the red fleece is looped

The idea was to replace a snuggly hooded fleece top that he’d grown out of. The pattern is a mash up of two hooded tops from Ottobre 4/2014, mainly the older boys top (number 39) but with the hood (and hence necklines too) of the girls top (number 37) as I couldn’t be bothered with plackets and buttons I preferred the look of the cross over hood. I also extended the sleeves by the length of the ribbing and left that off, and added a kangaroo pocket.

topstitching the seam allowance down

topstitching the seam allowance down

The skull and crossbone fleece was a holiday purchase. I can’t remember which came first, the decision only to buy a precut 1/2m length, or the choice to mix it with a contrasting solid. The red came from my local fabric shop and has a looped back. I knew the fleece wouldn’t fray so didn’t need a seam finish, but I was worried the seams would be bulky, so I topstitched the seam allowances flat (everywhere except the sleeves, as that wasn’t possible). I used black thread throughout, as I was feeling lazy a design feature.

binding

binding

I bound all the raw edges with strips of contrast fleece as if it was bias binding (not that it was cut on the bias mind). This is how the original hoodie was finished. Some worked better than others, probably as some were different widths than others.

Overall, I like this a lot, but would never enter it for a competition. My main issue constructing it was sewing the hood binding to the bottom edge (the one that gets sewn to the main jumper) by mistake, rather than to the front edge. I always struggle telling which way up an unattached hood is. That was 2 rows of stitching to unpick, stitching that had sunk into the fleece. Gah. Overall the fit is really quite skinny, even on my beanpole, maybe that’s bad fabric choice, the model looks to be wearing more a thick t shit fabric. It’s fine for now but I worry he won’t want to layer it over long sleeved tops and that it’ll be too tight before the arms are the right length.

I can’t comment on the sewing instructions as I ignored them, but the pattern was just fine, just be aware of the skinny fit. Oh, and I love the fabric combinations, my favourite bit, the two together are better than the sum of the parts. Slightly more grown up than his last top, but still fun, and me made this time.

Wonderful Dilemmas*

While we were galavanting about far flung corners of Great Britain this summer, our lovely cat sitter took in a parcel for me. So on one of my brief trips back home, I got to open a present from Sewing Fairy Godmother as part of the Challenge Anya.

approx 30"/76cm deep by 48"/123cm wide horizontal striped silk suiting and 16"/42cm x 49"/125cm grey cotton sateen

approx 30″/76cm deep by 48″/123cm wide horizontal striped silk suiting and 16″/42cm x 49″/125cm grey cotton sateen

I had been sent some pink/grey stripey (blended stripes?) raw silk suiting and some toning grey stretchy cotton sateen, both kindly prewashed three times (I only managed once with the parcel I sent, sorry H!). Wow. Lovely. And, err, what next. Raw Silk Suiting! What does one do with that?

I must admit my first thought on seeing the fabric was a bag, as they’re not normally colours I wear. But surely that would be a waste. My next thought was a moss mini skirt, in the stripey stuff, with a grey yoke at the back, grey showing inside the pocket and grey waistband. And possibly something cunning with back pockets. I think I might have enough, but I haven’t checked yet.

Then I found out about the Sew-A-Longs-and-Sewing-Contest (facebook) group September sew a long, which is to make a skirt, a blouse/top, a pair of trousers and an accessory. This could be the skirt part, but what on earth could I make to go with it, my stash doesn’t have any of these tones. Would black go ok?

75"/190cm x 38"/98cm border print silk

75″/190cm x 38″/98cm border print Thai silk

Then I remembered some lovely border print silk that I got as a gift when I attended my brother in law’s wedding in Thailand. At the time I sewed it into a tube and attached straps to make a very simple tie skirt of the sort I’d seen in Thailand, as I daren’t cut into it. But it doesn’t stay up well and I’ve only worn it once.

all mixed together

all mixed together, the colours are a bit washed out here and not quite true to life, but you can at least see that they tone

It sort of goes with the other silk but not as much in reality as it did in my head. So now I have absolutley no idea what to make out of two pieces of silk. Silk. Me. Arrgh.

What would you do? Answers on a postcard please, or if that’s too much effort, just leave a comment below…

*with superfluous bicosse deleted (luckily for me my brother is staying who pointed out my shocking spelling of the word dilema’s)