Starting Slow

I have barely sewn in 3 months. Apart from The Girl’s birthday dress which I then failed to photograph. But, perhaps spurred on by the fabric I bought on holiday last week (if you’re ever in Glasgow, check out Mandors with the conveniently sited Project Cafe next door) I have managed some things this weekend.

First up a new pin cushion/sewing organiser, which I started in January and has been sat waiting me to sew up a 2″ gap for 3 months. 3 months. For 10 mins sewing. Yikes. Even by my standards that’s bad. Anyway, it’s a blatant copy of one I saw in a blog post now long lost in the mists of time (I tried to find it to link to, I really did), although I figured I didn’t need to buy the pattern to make a cube with pockets on and a flap for putting needles in. I used up batting remnants from the baby quilt to quilt the main panels as per the original but I’m not convinced it was necessary. I stuffed it with ground walnut shells because apparently that’s the done thing (it’s supposed to keep the pins sharp, not sure I believe that but it was an excuse to go investigate my local reptile shop) and I’m hoping it’s huge solidness will make sure that it doesn’t go a wandering like it’s predecessor leaving me bereft of somewhere to stick the pins I pull out whilst sewing and forcing me instead to resort to balancing them on the edge of the desk or sticking them in a piece of scrap fabric. Yup I am that messy a sew. Speaking of which…

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The pincushion needs somewhere to sit of course, so I was inspired to tidy the sewing table in my sewing room. You’ll notice that the rest of the room is not shown. There’s a good reason for that.  Note to self, still need a frame to buy the picture I bought last summer so I can hang it.

See that crumpled pile top right. That was abandoned in the cupboard of my sewing room just before Christmas. Turned out it didn’t take that much to finish sewing up the side seams and attach the arms, then I just needed to rootle around in the pit sewing room for the rest of the grey fabric so I could do the neckband and bottom band and voila, a new top for the boy.

The boy liked the top, but not the photo shoot, can you tell?  I like the origami style print, it’s so hard to find a good non girly print and this one is right up his street, although of course he was bemoaning the lack of instructions as to how to make the birds shown for real. I only got a metre of the fabric and he’s now officially too big for that to make a long sleeve top, hence the grey, which is irritatingly a thinner fabric, but I figured that’d be ok on the side panels of the Semper.  I appear to have hacked the neckline back in December to forgo a hood (hoods are a mixed blessing with the boy, he loves them, but will happily wear a tshirt hood, a jumper hood and a coat hood all up at the same time quite possibly with a ear warmer or a hat too, which makes conversing with him tricky). So I just cut a neckband at 90% of the neckline width. I may have lengthened the pattern too as it’s super long, but as my little sunflower is still growing skywards at an alarming rate I have no problems with that.

Now to motivate myself to do a little more tidying so I can get stuck into my lovely new fabric. Mmm. Fabric.

Cool Dude

When you see the fabric you bought full price on sale, it’s annoying. When you’ve had that fabric sat in your cupboard, for, your not even sure how long any more (over a year?), it’s probably a sign that it’s long overdue that you got cracking on the project you bought it for.

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A long sleeved tee shirt for The Boy. Still, at least things loitering in the stash far too long is a different problem to not having enough fabric.

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Unless you also don’t have enough fabric.

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Luckily I’m getting good at eeking and piecing, must be all the practice.

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This is a Semper, option A (without side panels and pockets), no hood, so slightly altered neckline (just cut a bit higher, make sure that you’re cut is at at right angles when you hit the fold in the fabric), neckband instead (quite wide to account for the fact that I decided at trying on stage I’d’ve preferred it cut higher still), no sleeve bands or bottom band, the pattern pieces were just extended instead, and the front and back were extended a bit extra too, as he’s a bean pole. (Are you still awake at the back there?).

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After fiddling around with alterations and pattern matching at the cutting stage (Good marks for centering the patterns, getting things straight, pattern matching at side seam and underarms, could do better on raglan sleeve), it was a quick make.

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And now I have a happy boy.  (Also modelling a circular scarf he just acquired).

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Why is it the gorgeous fabric I don’t buy straight away always seems to sell out, and the stuff I do get ends up on sale?  Is this just me?

RED-y to go

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My model was not being terribly helpful

Pattern: Semper Sweater from Sofilantjes patterns.

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Fabric: Thick spongey mystery knit from my local fabric shop (probably containing some synthetic fabric) with slightly shiny right side and a stripey reverse (used here for contrasts). The same stuff (in a different colour) to my top.

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Size: Age 11, chosen after comparing the finished garment measurements to an existing top. (Tops are more compliant when you want to measure them than boys can be). It has come out wearable with growing room for my lanky 10 year old. Perfect.

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Modifications: The hood is unlined. I thought about binding the edge in knit bias tape but in the end I just turned the seam allowance over and topstitched it down with a fake coverstitch. (A bit of fudging was required where the hood piece turns a sharp corner as the front cowl-y bit starts).

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Additions: Lots of topstitching in my favourite stretch “coverstitch” stitch (including sewing down the trimmed seam allowance where the two hood pieces meet).

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Well drafted? Yes, everything came together perfectly.  Even attaching the made up sleeve to the scary looking U shaped underam hole. (Topstitching that seam however, was not so easy, I managed to catch the neckline and had to unpick it. That however is a mess entirely of my own making due to my current topstitching addiction.)

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Most confusing bit? Trying to use the table provided to work out how much fabric to buy (it’s designed with colour blocking in mind, showing you how much you need of a given fabric for different elements of the different views in different sizes, less helpful if you just want to make it all in one fabric like me.)  In the end I just bought an overly cautious 2 m.  After washing the fabric and cutting out I still had 80cm left of 1m60 wide fabric (plus extra wibbly bits), so I could’ve got away with buying 1m20.

Review? It got a thumbs up. Literally that was all the comment I got.

That’s my boy

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Engrossed in a comic explaining gravitational waves, after hearing about them on the radio this morning while he was washing up the breakfast things.

Hat update, the hat has found an owner, turns up it wasn’t quite as small as I thought (just smaller than I intended). The only disappointed was when I had to tell him there wasn’t enough of the fabric left over to make a matching bigger one for his dad.

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The same hat owner also finished off the rat today that he started earlier this week (he came home from school one day really keen to make a rat, no idea why, his sister thinks it might be something to do with Chinease New Year). We used this page for the pattern pieces by the way, but followed my nose for construction, sewing it on the machine with the seam allowances on the inside.

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Next up, “can I make a dog?” (his Chinease zodiac year). 5 minutes before bedtime of course. Of course, I said, just not now, why don’t you draw a picture of what you want the dog to look like and we can work out how to make it in the morning. So he drew a plan. Including 2 pieces to be the side of the dogs face and a strip to go around in between them giving them depth. “Of course we’ll have to get the sizes right”. I was however told that it would be ok if I found something useful on the internet.

Good job it’s the start of the half term holidays then!  Do you have any plans for this week?

 

On the third day of Christmas

I finally finished the trousers that I started on the 23rd…

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If they look familiar, it’s because I’ve made them before, last year for a Boy who was desperate for colourful trousers. This year, while colours and patterns are still important to him, it’s all about warmth and cosyness and the staryones have a really soft brushed fleece back and are nice and snuggly. He’s currently refusing to wear jeans (too cold apparently, although he did manage his steam punk trousers to meet up with the Automata recently). The skull trousers that I made him are sweatshirt fabric, but looped back, not fleecy, so don’t tick the cosy box (or so I’m informed). Neither do the two pairs I bought. So he’s basically been living in the star ones when not at school and woe betide me if they’re not washed and dried. I had to break it to him that he couldn’t wear them for 2 weeks solid in the Christmas Holidays, resulting in me having to promise that they would be clean and dry on Christmas day (done, phew).

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Still unable to find a suitably acceptable fabric (this stuff was bought last year online from My Fabric and is now gone from their website) I finally worked out that whilst I didn’t have enough leftover from the first time to make a new pair, I could squeeze a pair out if I introduced a below knee seam.

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Huzzah!

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This time they have orange and navy ribbing at the cuffs, rather than red and navy (or they will once I’ve unpicked the one I sewed on back to front and reattached it so you can see it’s orange stripe). The Boy wanted them as similar to the original as possible,  so no-one could tell the difference. Although they’re the graded up size of the skull ones.

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Also new this time, I actually followed the instructions for the waistband to the letter and they have a drawstring, which came in my Curvy Sewing Collective Christmas Swap last year. I was a bit wary about the grommets in the knit, but after a few tries on scraps it worked fine with a piece of woven polycotton at the back (as recommended).  The Boy is mightily pleased with this addition and it wasn’t as tricky as I thought.

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New/Old Comparison

So, all in all, a sewing win. And a happy Boy. And I have resigned myself to him wearing both pairs of trousers a lot, at least it will make my washing easier.

Have you / would you ever recreate something you’ve already made?

 

Christmas is Icumen In

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Bam. Second Christmas present made. Still more than a week before Christmas. Not sure what’s come over me.

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Super quick raglan t shirt made with left over falling coins jersey fabric (from the Grimms brothers fairy tale Sterntaler) and some orange jersey from the stash for the arms and extra length for the body.  Think I might have gone a bit overboard on the extra length. Oh well.

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The ribbing is navy, but a darker blue than the main fabric. I didn’t hand stitch it down this time, but topstitched my raw cuff edges down with navy blue zig zag. I’m not entirely happy with how this has come out but when I use a twin needle I get stitches popping and I’d like not to buy a coverstitch machine.

Oh and confession time the print is upside down on the back. Whoops. Don’t think anyone will ever know though.

Are you making anything for Christmas?

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.