The Placket of Doom

(On the Sorry You’re Feeling Ill T-Shirt with Get Better Faster Stripes)

So, the Boy got a tummy bug and got sent home from school. My children have a combined age of approx 20, so needless to say I have dealt with a few tummy bugs in my time. Never have I seen someone laid so low with one though. It wasn’t the typical symptoms so much that were extreme, more his general demeanor, listlessness, staring into space-ness, asking for help to sit up, not reading and barely talking. On Day 5, when he still wasn’t eating at all or showing any signs of improvement, I consulted our GP, which led to him being sent to the hospital to rule out appendicitis. It wasn’t appendicitis (the official diagnosis in the end was viral gastroenteritis), but he did end up getting admitted for 3 nights and put on a drip to counteract the dehydration.

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It was a busy week. Sitting around doing nothing at the hospital is surprisingly exhausting. Taking my turn being the parent at home with The Girl was surprisingly stressful too. So I decided to make the Boy a t shirt. Ostentatiously that was to cheer him up in the hospital, but really, it was to take my mind of things, which is good, as I didn’t finish it until several days after he got home from the hospital.

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Being unwell brings out the Aspergers side in my son, and as well as being the exact opposite of his normal chatty self at the hospital (one member of staff commented on how shy he was and I had to explain that he’s actually very outgoing usually, which is one of the reasons I knew he felt so ill), it also seemed to ramp up his sensory sensitivity and he kept complaining that his t shirt was too restrictive around his throat. By the time he was admitted to the ward, he’d stripped of his t shirt and covered himself up in a blanket instead and after that he couldn’t have put a tshirt on if he wanted as by then he had a line in his arm. We took some shirts in to the hospital so that he could wear them as unbuttoned as he liked, but mainly he rocked the bare chested “look you can see even more of my ribs than normal” look.

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Hence I chose to make no 37 from Ottobre 03/2016 , a raglan Henly style t shirt with stripes up the side, because I thought he could undo the placket and it would feel less restrictive.  Great plan. The downside of the plan turned out to be that I had to make a placket.

Tracing and cutting went well. I made it in a size I was pretty sure had some growing room (as he wasn’t there to measure), but cut it to the length of the pattern 2 sizes up, for my string bean. At this point I was still delusional that I would finish it in an evening and take it with me to the hospital the next day. Ha.

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Mistake no 1: The t shirt was made on a whim so I used scrap fabric that I had in. The grey knots was the only thing really suitable that I had to hand, and I decided to brighten it up a bit with the red (after all what is the point of a faffing around with an extra pattern piece for a side stripe if you never notice it). This was my first mistake as I think the red is a 4 way stretch and it shifted like billy o when I tried to wrangle it into shape and sew it down. Particularly troublesome on that placket. Which brings me to….

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Mistake no 2: I tried to follow the Ottobre Minimalist Diagrams Are For Wimps Instructions when inserting the placket. This didn’t go well and I ended up with the hot mess you see above. After sleeping on it I decided to recut the front and try again.

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Second time around I used the Thread Theory placket tutorial for their Strathcona henly t shirt. To make this work I cut the placket piece on the fold, rather than as two separate pieces. I didn’t quite follow the instructions to the word, but it went sooo much better this time again. Definitely still room for improvement but liveable with.  The sharp eyed may notice that this placket is the “wrong” way around, that’s because despite tacking the other side, it stretched as I was sewing it and has little tucks in. Grr.

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Mistake no 3:  Prym poppers. Past experience shows that no matter how many times I reread the instructions or do trial runs on scrap fabric (ok, actually I did 0 trial runs this time), at least one of them always screws up on the real garment. I’ve never had the inserty applicator thingy jam onto the popper before though. Turned out it was due to the popper front and back being misalinged. Another sleep on it moment, before then taking apart with pliers and carefully lining up the replacement popper through the holes it’s predecessor left behind before attaching it.

Mistake no 4: I then sewed the original front with the awful placket to the rest of the t shirt and had to unpick the triple stretch lightening stitch raglan seems. Urgh.

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The neckband isn’t technically a mistake, but I did follow the Strathcona instructions and tried the slanty edge look and it’s not entirely successful. In particular I’m not happy with the scruffy insides showing when it’s worn open.  However I am now officially past caring.

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Because tis done now.  And it looks ok, although I wouldn’t want to subject it to close inspection from someone who knows how to sew. I think it has a bit of a cycling top vibe to it.  But most importantly The Boy is now home and on the mend. He hasn’t really passed comment on the new t shirt, but he did chose to wear it.

 

Mash Up

Extra frost protection for the runner bean, cos I do like to wash his clothes sometimes. Another one for his upcoming birthday, so no model shots this time.

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Grey with black triangles,  a bit subtle for him maybe? I’m hoping that the super soft plush fleece reverse will win him over and help him wear this more neutral garment. (Also, do you have any idea how hard it is to get non floral, non star prints on sweatshirt fabric?).

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These are a mash up of the Domi sweatpant pattern and the Ottobre (mock denim) ones I made him previously. I started by overlapping the front and back pieces of the Domi by 2cm at the side seam (to allow for each piece having a 1cm seam allowance) and tracing this new piece for a single piece Domi pattern (so no side seams to sew, but that does mean the Domi pockets as drafted won’t work, fear not though, I don’t want to use them!). I doubled the length of the Domi cuff (to make it more similar to the Ottobre pattern proportions), and shortened the bottom of the leg by the appropriate amount to keep the overall leg length the same. Then I laid my previously adjusted Ottobre pattern on top of my new pattern piece and traced the hole for the pocket, making sure to line it up with the now non existent side seam and adding an extra couple of cm depth at the top (where its straight). I used the Ottobre pocket piece (with an extra 2cm strip along the top) and the Domi waistband.

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With a little help from my online sewing friends it was a pretty straight forward sew up. First up, someone scanned in their Ottobre instructions since I seam to have misplaced put my magazine in a sensible place, and I couldn’t remember how to sew the pocket, so very kind and helped me postpone a big Sewing Room clean up a little longer.  Next up, I someone else suggested I used twill tape to stabilise the seam and stop it stretching out as I didn’t interfacing ironed onto plush fleece would work well and wasn’t sure how to proceed.  (I used some thin cheap yellow ribbon rather than twill tape in the end).

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The first pocket I made (on the left), had mystery hole/gapage at the bottom corner once sewn up, that I just fixed with some zag zagging (a bit messy but I don’t think anyone will ever notice). I think it might have been due to the diagonal clip you make from the corner down towards the “side seam”, after you’ve sewn the curved edge and before you sew the straight edge. This was neither interfaced nor stabilised by ribbon (as it has no seam). So on the second pocket, I put a small piece of interfacing on the right side of the fabric within the seam allowance where I was going to clip and that seemed to work better (no mystery holes). Unfortunately giddy on success I then topstitched at the wrong seam allowance. You can’t win em all.

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Comparison shot, so you can see how my mash up compare to the straight Domi’s (left) and last years graded up Ottobre.  The new pairs are back in the cupboard now waiting for the big day. Fingers crossed they meet with approval…

Is it Sunday yet?

Yesterday was Finish Something Saturday over at the Stashbusting sewalong. I had plans. I had great plans. I did finish something, but something I started on Friday night and none of the planned sad projects that have been languishing a while.

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  I’m dancing around manically because        IT WAS COLD and LSH was taking too long with the camera!

Today, however, I finally finished my purple jeans.  And the happy dance is partly due to the jeans, and partly due to the camper van in the background, which we just bought.

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The reason that these jeans were languishing is because when they were nearly done, I discovered that there was a frankly obscene fold of fabric at the front. Which is odd because this is the same pattern I used for my foxy jeans, which have no such problem. Anyway, eventually, after sulking at them for a while, I unstitched the crotch seams and got my husband to pin them to try and get a better fit. Then I tacked and expectantly tried them on again. It was worse. Argghh. I ripped out the tacking and redid it a random way. Bit better. Then I got invited round to my friends to do some sewing with her. Aha. Along came the jeans. She thought I was going to help her, little did she know, instead she ended up repinning my crotch for me. Lucky me because the third time, if not exactly the charm, was at least wearable.

Hmm, this me removing a wedge that I’m pretty sure is almost exactly the same as the one I ended up putting in for the foxy pair to help with the fitting issues on my first pair. This fitting malarky makes no sense I tell you. We did end up taking more off the front than the back to help pull the creases out, that’s why my seam allowances don’t match up.

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Anyway, all done now, phew and I’ve been wearing them today.

Out on a walk, admiring the details (like lining the pockets with the remains of LSH’s old pj’s).

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Actually I’ve told a bit of a lie. Whilst they’ve been languishing I, err, misplaced the proper jeans button that I bought. So, as it’s Sunday I just wore them out with a belt, especially as my machine was eating buttonholes yesterday. But I will find the button or buy a new one and attach it and make a buttonhole soon. Promise. In the meantime, here’s more van!

Have you finished anything this weekend?

On the 5th Day of Christmas

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…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.

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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)

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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.

 

Baby Cthulu Dress

Oh sorry, didn’t see you there, you been there long? Come in, I’ll put the kettle on, move that pile of stuff on the sofa and have a seat.

Things have been a little busy around here, what with ill children and really very tired children and visitors galore and the whole lack of daylight thing. I’ll pop on an episode of The Bridge in a moment – shh, don’t say a word about the plot, I’m not up to date. Anyway, once The Ever Patient Man who currently has Favoured Parent Status (lucky him, apparently I smell today so cannot dish out the regulation bedtime hugs) has put the kiddlings to bed we can all watch it together.

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Ta Da

In the mean time, let me show you this dress that I made. Sorry you can’t see it amazingly well in this light, but it’s hidden away in the daytime as it’s a Christmas present for the girl. I hope she likes it, I’m a bit worried about the octopi, but hopefully the colour and the flowers and hearts will win her over. When I went to buy the fabric that I knew she’d like I discovered that they’d sold out, so I got this instead. When it arrived I wondered if I’d done the right thing. Someone tried to reassure me that they look like baby Cthulu. Now I know a few people who like to rock that kind of look, but she is not one of them.  Luckily I don’t think she’s heard of Cthulu so maybe I’ll get away with it. Fingers crossed.

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New Neckline

The pattern is the Banana Sweet dress from good old Ottobre 4/2014. The observant amongst you will notice that I missed the hood off, because hoods are not her style.  While I was at it  I decided to save myself some potential sewing headaches and miss the placket* off too, so when cutting out I simply extended the line of the neckline curve to the centre front. When I made it up I was worried it looked a bit small for her head so I widened the neckline at the shoulders slightly and dropped it a bit at the front in an entirely unscientific way. Then I bound it with ribbing, I cut mine 3.5cm wide and 70% of the neck circumference (plus seam allowance) long. Amazingly the neck looks ok despite all my random messing. I will have to see how it looks on (assuming she’ll wear it). Oh and for some reason I decided to apply the ribbing like bias binding, but hand stitching it down on the inside. Not sure why. Not sure I know how to handstich stretchily either. Oh well, I used this finish for pockets, neckline and the cuffs. Obviously I’m a glutton for punishment this week (or just really dissatisfied with the options I know of for applying rib with a standard sewing machine).

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Cuffs

Other than altering the neckline, I made it up in the “wrong” fabric (jersey not sweatshirt fabric, a fairly safe swap), added a couple of inches to the length and extended the cuffs too (it was the biggest size for this pattern and I was worried it wouldn’t be long enough, I’m pretty sure it’s wide enough by comparing it to other dresses though, presumably there’s extra ease for added for the intended sweatshirt fabric). I just managed to squeeze it out of my metre of fabric – even after realising I couldn’t place my back and front oppisite ways up to each other (there are clearly upside down hearts, so I assumed the fabric worked either way up, but on close inspection only 1 column in 4 is upside down, so it would look strange if cut the other way around).

 

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So, why choose this pattern then if I was going to change it so much. Well, for the gathers at the sides (front and back). But boy did those gathers befuddle me at times. Here’s the pattern, as traced from the magazine, on my fabric. See the slits going in?  Well, as this is an Ottobre pattern, I still have to add my seam allowance, but I had no idea how to do it to those slits. I reread the instructions several times but could find nothing to help. Just that I needed to add 1cm seam allowance to most edges. (There were exceptions but this wasn’t listed as one).

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So I bumbled my way through and as the seam allowances on the slip overlap it ended up like this, sort of like a pinafore dress. Which was fine, until I tried to make the gathers. See those blue arrows pointing in, you have to gather between those. When I tried that, it gathered the top fabric that I’m supposed to be stitching to up too. Unsurprising really when you think about it. The instructions are to sew “darts” (but they’re not marked like darts) by sewing “rows of gathering stitches along lower edges of darts as marked on pattern” (that’ll be between those arrows then) “and gather edges to fit upper edges. Stitch darts; as you approach dip of dart, stitch with gradually narrower seam allowance”. Rereading this several times didn’t help. I could only think that I needed to cut into my seam allowances but that seemed scary without more information.

 

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So I emailed Ottobre and 2 hours later I got a reply, which I think is pretty amazing customer service, especially as my email was in English as was the reply and they’re based in Finland. And what did the reply say you ask? “You need to add 10 mm seam allowance only to the beginning of darts, on the sides. Then you add gradually smaller 9..8..7..6..mm seam allowances as you approach the tip of the dart. It`s a bit tricky without having 10 mm seam allowances all the way but I`m sure you`ll get it done right. Hopefully this will help you to continue with your project!”

So, confidence bolstered, I drew a line that bisected my angle (please forgive me if I’m straying into geeky maths talk, I really cannot think of another way of putting it that’s clear). Then I cut along my new line just as far as the gathers have to go and no further.

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So then, fabric cut, gathers now just gathering the bottom half of the fabric, I sewed it together like a dart best I could, tapering to a point and tying off the ends.

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Once pressed it looked ok from the outside. Then I just did the same with the other three. So, I don’t know if that was the right way to do it, but it seemed to work.

After the gathers, it was plain sailing to make. Sew the shoulder seams, attach arms, join arms and side seams in one fell swoop, hem, cuffs, bind neckline. The pockets were a little fiddly as they have curved edges so you’re instructed to gather them around a template to press the sides under, but it was straight forward enough.

Now I just have to wait and see if she likes it.

I’m curious, what’s your favourite way of applying ribbing to a neckline (that doesn’t involve expensive machinery, trying to keep things simple here)? But tell me in a bit, after we’ve watched Saga doing some more investigating in her inimitable style.

 

 

*My friend who lectures in English once told me that placket used to be considered a rude word and now I struggle to type it without sniggering.  However I can’t bring myself to explain what it’s a euphemism for, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

 

 

We interrupt this sewing…

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Playing with scraps

After the wrapping paper bags I  made last week I was musing on how to make a more masculine version. So I had a rootle through my recently organised scrap fabric collection and started having a play.

NEWSFLASH

We interrupt this blog post to bring you breaking sewing updates…

…yesterday a parcel arrived containing some lime green sugar skull adorned sweatshirting

Calaveras green cotton sweatshirting (by the half metre)

and it got thrown straight in the wash, aired, ironed dry(ish) and made into some new jogging bottoms because the boy wants to wear his starry ones all the time and gets very cross if they are in the wash.

 

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winging some pattern alterations

The sewing was fairly straight forward, but I did do some pattern alteration before making them as I wanted to go up a size but the last pair were made in the biggest pattern size. So I retraced the main pattern piece adding 2 inches length and 1/2 inch width (which will mean 1″ extra width at the waist) to the middle – see shaded area above. I kept the pocket opening the same size so I could use the existing pocket piece. And I just made the cuffs a smidge wider (I didn’t even use the wiastband piece, my wiastand is not as deep having only one channel for elastic).

The verdict?  He likes them, indeed he’s wearing them today as he’s going to a running event with school today. But he’s skeptical about their warmth, as they’re not fleece backed liked the starry ones, so he predicts they wont get worn as much. So the hunt for additional/replacement warm/comfy/bright trousers continues. In the mean time, bids are being put in from several sources for the leftover fabric…

Anyway, now they’re made, back to the

NEWSFLASH

We interrupt this blog post to bring you more updates…

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belated birthday goodies

A parcel of sewing related goodies has arrived and is just demanding to be played with so I might just go have to go and play with these instead…

NEWSFLASH

We interrupt this blog post to bring you news of more arriving parcels…

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some more precious’s for me

Arghgh, TOO MANY IDEA’S TOO LITTLE TIME – anyone else have this problem?

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

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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