Hello Goodbye


This week the wonderful Jewel is hosting a pop up sew a long over on the Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests Facebook Page to encourage us to finish up some UFO’s (Un Finished Objects, aka abandoned projects). Her enthusiasm is infectious and my 3rd finished UFO this week is this Jalie 3132 .


Scuse the wet hair, this was a rather rushed “while you’re on your way to work could you just take a pic of this” photo shoot this morning, the reason being so that I could take it with me to a coffee date to donate to a friend.


This top is just too tight for my liking (see concertina effect on my inner elbow). Yes, I can wear it, but I don’t find it comfy or flattering and rather than keeping it in the hope it’ll fit better at some stage in the future, or to wear as a base layer, I’m liberating it so that it can find a forever home where it is loved and appreciated.


I got this fabric about 2 and a half years ago on a tourist visit to Guthrie and Ghani thinking I’d make something for my then 6 year old with it, but when I got the pattern from Katrin in a CSC sewing swap I decided to use it for that instead. I got as far as tracing the pattern and doing a FBA but only cut out the back. The reason being that this fabric is thin and shifty and I was struggling to match the stripes up. Well, this week I commenced Operation Lower Your Standards and Get On With It and the top was duly cut out. The make itself was fairly straight forward, I even managed the binding on the V neck as per the instructions without any tears.


With such a big gap between tracing the pattern and doing most of the cutting out and sewing up, I can’t really comment on if the sizing issue was my fault in choosing the wrong size, the pattern drafting, or my shape changing in the meantime. The pattern came together nicely and had a sensible amount of notches for matching up. It’s drafted with a 2″ hem, wider than the markings on my sewing machine, so I had to use masking tape to help me line it up for sewing! The sleeve is cut on the fold, which is slightly unusual and I must admit as someone used to asymmetric sleeves I’m a little skeptical that this is the best way to go. My main conclusion about this top is that pretty as it is, I don’t like working with this fabric. It’s a bit see through and not that fun to work with. However, I think it’s made up into a lovely top and I hope it gets lots of wear with my friend.

Hello Goodbye it is then.

On the 5th Day of Christmas


…we went for a day trip to a costal zoo and The Man decided that my foxido bag was a perfect colour match for the Arctic Terns.


Tonight I have done a bit more work on pockets.  I’m at the Doubt stage of my project, current doubts are the colour and my back pocket design. Although I’m pretty pleased with the top stitching on my yoke (going to need more of that thread though)


and my choice of pocket lining fabric (cut from the leg of a defunct pair of the Man’s pyjamas).

So I’m creeping slowly forward, but considering I’m about to call it a night, I’m not convinced these will be ready by the end of December.


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


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

Pledges, socks and jeans.

Right, first off, before it’s too late,

I, ProlificProjectStarter, pledge to wear at least one Me Made item every day in May.

Last year was my first MMM, I think I pledged to wear something me made 3 or 4 times a week and I actually managed to wear something every day. I now have more self sewn stuff in my wardrobe and wear a lot of it often, so lets see where the pledge leads me to this year.

Second, I’m going away this weekend, so I decided to find out a sock pattern so that I have something to do while I’m traveling. This is my first attempt at socks, I bought some pretty bamboo needles especially as I didn’t have any small enough. Fingers crossed I don’t get Second Sock Syndrome.

Lastly, I finally have some photo’s of my Ottobre jeans!

As easy as falling of a log brick

As easy as falling of a log brick

So, the fit is definitely not perfect. But it is wearable as proven by the amount I’ve been wearing them.

I was actually directed to "stand on that brick" by my photographer. Serves me right for nobbling him on his way to work I suppose.

I was actually directed to “stand on that brick” by my photographer. Serves me right for nobbling him on his way to work I suppose.

My mum declared them to be very well fitting and I didn’t even ask her. (This is an amazingly positive comment from a woman who is not known for mincing her words).

and the back

and the back

And I may have shown off and told people I’d made them a couple of times. To general amazement.

and the side

and the side

(Is there an ok way to show off your home made clothes to people who don’t sew?)

Ugh, fold of fabric at the front

Ugh, ugly fold of fabric at the front

So, to make sure I don’t focus too much on my failure for perfection, here are my shop bought jeans. My only pair (and these were only bought after many demoralising tries to find something halfway decent).

more wrinkles

and a few wrinkles at the back

I think my homemade ones fit better.

basted first fit

basted first fit, no zip at this point

My muslin started with an inch seam allowance. Which meant after my first basted fit I could extend the crotch length a little, which has improved the fit, but I think I will add more crotch length next time. (Initially I just added length to the front pieces, as I did on my Junipers, but I went back and added it to the backs as well which improved some of the smiles at the back too).

baggy waistband

baggy waistband

The other fitting adjustment I made was to pinch out some of the baginess at the centre back. I just altered the back centre seam so it curved in. I’m not sure that was the “right” thing to do but it has helped.

So, now I’m off to make sure I have some Me Made Clothes packed for my weekend away so I can get my pledge off to a good start. And who knows, maybe I’ll manage to get a second, slightly better fitting pair of jeans before the end of the month. (I can dream, right).

Zip it up

Ottobre design 5/2012, how your minimalist zip insertion instructions intimidated me. How I longed for a diagram. And yet. After stepping away for a bit, when I came back to the zip it seemed to go in really easily. Minimal and yet complete. Still, a diagram wouldn’t have gone amiss.

As I plan to make these again, I thought I’d take notes to help me next time. So they’re here as well, in case they ever help anyone else or in case anyone else feels like enlightening me on what I could’ve done better. I don’t claim to be an expert, I wasn’t convinced I knew what doing at times. But it seemed to work in the end.

Finish raw edges of crotch seam allowance. Stitch crotch seam from back waist to bottom of zipper placket.

So far so good. Seams finished with use of overlocking foot. Zipper placket, that’s where the bit where one of the fronts has a stickey out bit that the other doesn’t, right? Crotch seam duly sewn.

Finish raw curved edge of fly facing. Pin and stitch fly facing to right placket edge.


This was straight forward, once I’d worked out I had cut a mirror image of my fly facing and recut it the right way around.

Understitch seam allowance to facing close to seamline. Fold fly facing and pants front wrong sides together and edgestitch along center-front edge.



Simple enough. What’s next?

Fold fly shield piece in half, right sides together, and stitch it’s bottom edge.

Which edge is the bottom? Err, it must be the slanty one, right, cos there’d be no point having that slant inside the seam allowance at the waistband surely. And that would make it the right way up on your picture of all the pattern pieces. OK, I’m 90% sure it’s the slanty one, lets go for it.

Turn fly shield right side out and serge of siz sag its open edges together


fly shield assembled.

Pin and stitch left zipper tape to left edge of fly shield

Left zipper tape, this kind of thing always confuses me, that’s the bit that will be on the left when I’m wearing them is it? So the bit on the right as I look at it. Ok, so I need to pin it to the left edge of the fly shield. Hang on, which is the left edge? You haven’t told me this have you. And as it was folded in half during it’s construction it’s not clear from the picture of the pattern pieces either. Grr….

At this point our author sulked, went off, read a different fly insertion tutorial (done completely differently so it just confused her more), mulled it over and then came back

The folded edge must be the one I see once its constructed surely, so I’ll pin the zip to the finished edge, that has to be right.


zipper sewn to fly shield

Pin and stitch fly shield to left placket edge, right sides together and with zipper in between.


fly shield duely stitched to left placket edge

Turn fly shield right way up and edgestitch seam close to zipper


This is looking promising.

Close zipper and pin fly in position from right side, matching centre front marks.

Centrefront marks? Surely I marked those? They must’ve got rubbed off. Oh well, that looks about right….

Turn fly wrong side up and pin free zipper edge to fly facing only (not to pants front). Remove pins from right side, open zipper and stitch it to fly facing carefully.


In the process of attaching zipper to fly facing only

Close zipper, pin facing to pants front and topstitch fly, using pattern piece for fly facing as template (flip fly shield out of the way as you stitch).


Using fly facing pattern piece (which has no seam allowance added) as my template to mark stitching line. The pins are holding the fly shield out of the way so it doesn’t get stitched accidentally.

Topstitch crotch seam with two parallel rows of stiching

I swear this was not in the instructions when I was sewing. I missed this step out. I noticed later the stitching lines on the garment diagram and “knew” this step had been missed out of the instructions.

Stitch bar tacks on fly as shown in design sketch

Bar tacks, zig zag stitch length 0, that’ll do right?


My slightly wobbly topstitching and bar tacks

Fairly painless in the end, once I’d got over my sulk at being expected to know which was the left side of the fly shield. I knew I’d inserted flys ok before on The Boy’s trousers and my moss skirts which only made it worse. I did contemplate following the grainline moss zipper tutorial but I have got seriously confused in the past switching instructions – the pieces are never quite the same shape or referred to in the same way. Plus it somehow feels wrong to not follow the “right” instructions for what I’m doing, but maybe that’s just me? Although with things I’m more confident on, I just surge right ahead and do things the way that makes sense to me, so maybe I just need more practise?

Do you have a set methods for doing things that you do regardless of the instructions or are you a stickler for following the pattern to the t?

First foray into jean sewing

So, as I mentioned yesterday I’ve been trying to make some jeans. Because I am a practical kind of gal and jeans are what I want to wear a lot of the time. And yet I really struggle to find ones that fit (camel toe and general not enough space in crotch, too low waisted, big gapes in my middle back). So, despite being really put off by the thought of many muslins, with the help of my new online sewing friends I’m giving it a go.

Here are some thoughts on my experiences of the jeans style pattern from Ottobre. This is not a sew-a-long because, trust me, I do not know what I’m doing!

  • Choosing a pattern – I considered the Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans because it is everywhere in my blogfeed at the moment, but went with the Ottobre ones in the end because I had the magazine already and hadn’t made a single thing from it. Plus I’m not really into skinny fit jeans and tracing a pattern is marginally better than fighting a pdf in my book. Oh yeah, and the Ottobre ones have a wider range of sizes, there’s a different set of pattern pieces for the larger “curvy fit” jeans, with the same set of instructions as the smaller “Lady fit” ones.
  • How to fit? cos, err, you know muslins (or toiles as my mum would say) and stretch fabric, of which I had none. I was eyeing up this purple stretch denim (more tasteful than it sounds, a dark shade) in a local shop, but had told myself I had to finish the pink wool Junipers before I bought it. But then when I went back it was gone, horror. So I found some black denim instead that is brown on the back (brown warp threads?) – making it a nice subtle shade. Then it turned out they did still have the purple, he’d put the last 2m on one side after a customer had complained it had a mark running down the fold line. So I bought both. And decided, the black are going to be a wearable muslin, the purple the real deal, hopefully. Both are quite lightweight but doable as trosuer fabric.
  • The dreaded seam allowance cos, you know, Ottobre patterns don’t come with seam allowance. So as well as tracing from this

    cue concentrating face

    (onto my greaseproof paper, cos all I can get locally are tiny packs of tracing paper that last half a garment), you have to add seam allowance. They suggest 1cm. I had decided to go with 1″ so I had room for some fitting. Now, I saw a top tip recently to tape two pens together then you can trace the seamline and seamallowance at the same time. I tried it with my two fabric pens and got a perfect 1cm seam allowance. So I rigged up something to increase that.

    my model of the space shuttle

    my model of the space shuttle

  • think thrice before doing clever things like using different seam allowances for different pieces. Yes, the back pockets don’t need 1″ seam allowance just in case you want to adjust how the fronts and backs are joined, so you can get away with 1cm there. But honestly how did you forget that the yokes join to the backs so really should have the same seam allowance. And the hip pockets. Sigh.
  • Pay attention Pocket bags are designed to be cut from a different fabric. Like it says. Read the instructions. Sigh. (more on how I’d do the pockets in hindsight another time)
  • Consider adding in notches Now, I struggle to see notches on the Ottobre patterns as they’re marked as a line at right angles to the seam line on the inside of the pattern piece. I didn’t find any on this pattern. Nothing. However I wouldn’t put money on them not being there. In general this wasn’t a problem, everything lined up. But the yokes. I’m really struggling to get them the right way up. Next time I will add a notch to the top of the backs and the bottom of the yokes and save myself head scratching and multiple unpickings.
  • Pattern lay out There isn’t one given. Which threw me. I’m not sure why, as I normally ignore the pattern lay out and do my own thing. But hey. I only had 2m of this denim, the pattern called for 2.2m. Plus I’d increased the seam allowance. I made it, just. But if my fabric had nap, I wouldn’t have made it as the fronts and backs lay in opposite directions. And the waistband (which I haven’t cut yet) will need to be four pieces, not 2. Either that or cut with the grain, rather than across it as directed. And I decreased my seam allowance at the bottom of the legs to fit things on, cos I’m fairly confident there won’t be fitting issues there.
    creative seam allowance

    creative seam allowance

    Right then, that’s everything traced and cut. Next up, the first bits of sewing.

  • Trouser-A-Long

    None of my peers sew, which means it could be a quite lonely hobby, but of course it isn’t. Apart from the friendly staff at my local fabric shop who are always happy to discuss fabric and projects, there is the marvelous online sewing community. Sure, sometimes it can feel a bit cliquey, but I’d still be sewing rectangles if it wasn’t for all the inspiration, tutorials, tips and encouragement out there.

    Recently I joined the Sew-A-Longs & Sewing Contests facebook group, which is “a place to find the latest (as well as the past) sew a longs! Discuss, show off your marvelous work, rate them! Whether they be garments for any age, bags and purses, quilting related or home decor”. My sewing fairy godmother is also a member and we were planning on following Lladybirds Thurlow Sew-a-long together (I bought the pattern last month when said Fairy Godmother pointed out that Sewaholic had a sale on. Bad Fairy Godmother). A couple of other people wanted to join in with other but had other patterns, so it broadened out to a trouser-a-long. We’ve been supporting each other with the intimidating process that is fitting trousers, a kind of online self help group. We’ve been discussing muslins and processes on the facebook page and have set up a flickr group so that we can post photo’s of our rear ends and practise reading wrinkles and diagnosing adjustments. If you’re interested head on over to the facebook page to join in – you have to request to join but it’s a painless process.

    Along the way I got sidetracked (ok, confession time, I kept failing to buy printer paper to print out the Thurlow pattern) and I’ve actually started making the curvy fit trousers from Ottobre 2012/5 (no 10 on the alldesigns pdf). They’re designed for stretch cordroy/denim. Expect more posts on them soon, because I couldn’t find any on the blogosphere (please let me know if you come across any). In general I find their magazines great value and I love the size range of the models, but the instructions are rather minimal, so I thought I’d share my mistakes as if it helps just one person it’ll be worth it!

    Have you got any top tips to make the most of the wealth of information that is the online sewing community?