We love trains

Behold, the Trains Pride T shirt…

IMG_0149.JPG

..the subtler, ironic and more colourful version of the Stonewall “Some people are trans get over it” t shirt.

Confused?  Take 2 minutes to read this article explaining it all, cos I’m not really qualified to explain, don’t worry, I’ll wait…

… all aboard now?

IMG_0153

Anyway, this one off was brought to you via the Thread Theory Strathcona T shirt Pattern, some lovely, quality knit fabric the staff at my Local Fabric Shop have finally persuaded their buyer it’s worth getting, and a lot of hard work from yours truly.

There isn’t a pocket with that t shirt design, so I self drafted one, and used a freezer paper stencil to apply the iconic British Rail logo.  (If you’re wondering why that freezer paper has writing all over it, I tried out a company that prints sewing patterns onto A0 and sends them through the post (because my local print shop is prohibitively expensive).  With my order they sent a piece of freezer paper with it advertising a new “Thermo (Iron on) Adhesive Pattern” service, which I cannibalised to make this stencil.)

I’m pretty pleased with how this came out (apart from the one glaring error that no-one who doesn’t sew will ever spot) and I’m glad I took the time to trace 2 pattern pieces for the sleeves too so that the stripes run across. (Yup, this t shirt had 10 pattern pieces, 3 each for the front and back, 2 for the sleeves, plus the neckband and the pocket. I drew the seam lines at the 1/3 points on the front and back pattern pieces and added seam allowances when I traced them. I measured how far below the armpit the seamline between the pale and dark green was and used that to figure out where to draw the matching seamline on my sleeve piece).

Now to post it off to my friend along with this bonus double sided circular scarf.

City Gym Shorts part 4

So, after failing to make my daughter some scalloped edged shorts last year, this year I finally got around to it.  I traced the next size up of the City Gym pattern, cos whilst last years pairs still fit her, she does still keep growing and had pointed out to me herself that they wouldn’t fit forever. Whilst I was at it I added 2″ to the pattern length at the lengthen line (on both front and back pieces, obviously) and straightened the edges to lose the signature curve at the bottom. I also added pockets as before.

IMG_0077

Construction wise, I started with those front hip pockets, except this time around I sewed the opening right sides together before grading my seam allowance, understitching and topstitching, as I wasn’t using bias binding.

IMG_0076

Then I sewed the fronts to the backs along the side seam. I chose to use a 1/4″ seam allowance, like the pattern suggests for the crotch seam, and figures that way I didn’t have to add any extra seam allowance (when constructed as per instructions, that side seam is made by overlapping the bias bound front and back edges).  It was even narrower than my usual 1cm default. I finished by zig zagging with my overlocker foot on my sewing machine and topstitching the seam allowance down.

Next up I drafted a facing piece the width of the bottom of the short leg and about two inches deep and cut two of these out. Then I folded over the pattern piece paper doll style (after folding over the seam allowance) and cut out an arch.

That gave me a scallop template to trace onto my facing. I hemmed the other side of my facing before pining it to my shorts and stitching along the scalloped line. Then I trimmed, turned the facing and hand tacked everything in place so I could give it a good press.

IMG_0081

Finally I unpicked my tacking and topsitched the edge of the scallops. Then  I added a second line of scalloped stitching, mainly to hold the top of the facing in place as I wasn’t liking the other options I could think of to do that (either a straight line of machine stitching going across, or hand finishing on the inside). I’m rather pleased with how they turned out.

img_00821.jpg

After that the shorts finished up pretty quickly, sewing the crotch seams, inside leg and adding a waistband.

 

I’m pretty pleased with the result, which definitely has some growing room, and I don’t think you’d guess what pattern I’d used, they look so different from the original.  She is more reticent with her feedback, but as she’s wearing them the day after they’re finished I’m taking that as a win. She even was persuaded (just) to read standing up for a minute so that I could photograph them.

 

City Gym Shorts – parts 1 and 2

Last summer, The Girl and I went through her wardrobe to see what gaps there were and we noticed a shortage of shorts (so to speak).   So, we sat and went through my Ottobre magazines and she picked out these scalloped edge shorts from 01/2017.

Except when I measured up they didn’t go up to her size. So whilst I pondered over how to hack them, I made up some City Gym Shorts from the free pattern from Purl Soho. She only just fit into the largest measurements for the largest child pattern, so I used the smallest adult one instead. As they were a trial pair I  was determined to use something from stash and I just squeezed them out most of a fat quarter of fabric that I had only used a couple of strips from (for a communal quilting project, I was the turquoise row). I had to piece one of the back pieces at the top to make it work but in the end that is mainly hidden in the waistband seam allowance. I trimmed them in satin bias binding (which looked ace at the time but has pilled with wear).

IMG_0056

The result?  She loves these shorts, declaring them her Peacock Shorts of Power (apparently when wearing them she can control all the peacocks in the world, not a superpower that had ever occurred to me).  She wore them All The Time and moaned when they were in the wash. Not bad considering that I was worried she wouldn’t wear them at all as the background of the fabric is black. Anyway, I said we could go back to the shop and buy some more of that fabric and I’d make her a second pair, maybe with a different colour trim. But of course, they didn’t have any more of that fabric left in the shop, so after a long time, she finally chose some navy blue fabric with bears, foxes, dear, birds, squirrels and rabbits on instead. She was particularly taken with the gold highlights I think.

Second time around I hacked them to have pockets, I was rather kicking myself for not doing this the first time to be honest. I just freehanded a pocket pattern piece that fit the fronts (making sure there was seam allowance included on that long curved L shape) and used that to cut my pocket piece.  Then I folded the corner of that piece over to make my pocket facing pattern piece and folded the front pattern piece over the corresponding amount to make the the pocket opening before cutting out.  I had a mere sliver of fabric left after cutting out and one of my pockets is pieced and one of the facings is cut crossgrain, it was so satisfying to make this work with negligable waste.

Once everything was cut out I attached the pocket pieces to the front along the opening wrong sides together then finished with bias binding (satin again, this was too soon after the first pair to realise it wouldn’t wear well). Then I sewed my pocket piece to the facing, finished the seam allowance, then tacked the pockets to the front piece at the top and side within the seam allowance. Then I proceeded as normal with construction, and voila.

Pair number two were nearly as successful as the first ones, but aren’t quite as popular despite the fact that you can control Even More animals in them AND they have pockets. Sometimes you just strike it lucky first time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Hoodie Tradition

Way back in September, I continued the tradition, and made him a hoodie for his birthday.

IMG_0033

This one is from Ottobre 04/2017, no 30 – Salty Wind. (Nope,I’ve  no idea what is going on with the naming, maybe it makes more sense in Finnish.)

Getting the pockets in the right place with the obvious lines of this fabric was a bit of a headache.

IMG_0019.JPG

Hey, getting the pockets in at all was a bit of a headscratch, as usual everything you needed to know was in the instructions and not a word more (and definitely no diagrams).  Water soluble marker pen was used a plenty!

I found some waxed cotton for the drawstring and added some adjusters from the box of reclaimed bag bits and some cool beads – I love how most of the faces are triangles but some are rhombuses, just like the fabric. The cotton and the beads are from Bunyip, a local craft shop.  Oh and I neatened the neckline finish on the inside with twill tape (which I think I originally got from this tutorial) and added a hanging loop.

IMG_0034

The fabric all came from Kitschy Coo and I only just had enough – in fact I couldn’t quite cut out one sleeve, so I had to add a little patch at the edge, but shh, don’t tell, I don’t think anyone has ever noticed, especially as I “cover stitched” (on my normal sewing machine) it into place in white, unlike the charcoal I used elsewhere.

I altered the cuffs using Kelly’s excellent tutorial for thumbhole cuffs.  I’m glad I did cos not only was it a fun thing to learn, it made them longer, and I think the arms would be getting a little short now if I hadn’t (darn that boy for growing again).

IMG_0035

That’s a lot of explanation and photo’s, because there was a lot of detail on this one, and I don’t even have a photo of the (slightly ridiculous) side zips. I’m really pleased with how it came out and the high quality finish I acheived.

IMG_0037

Luckily the Boy loves it too, including the zips which he says he can zip up for ease of movement and zip down for keeping warm.  Here he is modelling it with the hat I also made for his birthday too (cos that’s how he rolls). He also likes pulling the drawstring so tight there’s just a small hole to look out of (cos then he can pretend to be a cyclops, natch).  Surprisingly with so much white in it it hasn’t acquired any stains yet, which is what I was most worried about!  And entirely unintentionally it goes very well with the triangle jogging bottoms I made him (I guess there are only so many variations on “non girly” prints).

The only problem is, how am I going to follow this next year?

 

Last Minute Shenanigans II

S0011201.JPGThe apron for my friends vertically challenged mother in law that I made 2 years ago was such a big hit that this year she asked for another one, in olive green. My friend gave me a bag with some lovely fabric that she’d bought and co-ordinating green webbing. (I no some people never sew for others but I have no qualms sewing for this particular friend as she does so much for me and others, for instance she just looked  after our dog for 2 days so we could all go cuddle a baby).

S0031209.JPG

So the morning of Christmas Eve I set to work (before it was too late!). With grey thread because I had nothing appropriate in green and my non-sewing friend hadn’t thought to buy any. I made the neckband adjustable again, like before, and I was a little worried there wasn’t quite enough webbing left for the straps, so I raided my box of bits salvaged from defunct rucksacks and added an adjustable clip there too (takes less strap as you don’t need to tie a bow).

S0021207.JPG

I mainly followed this tutorial to make a slightly fancier pocket on the front, it all got a bit rushed at this point so I may not have followed it exactly. It’s lined in some pinkish fabric from my scrapbox.

All safely delivered to my friend after lunch on Christmas Eve, I have yet to hear if her Mother in Law approves.

 

Impulse Trousers (aka Unexpected Liana’s)

 

Ages ago I bought 2m of this lovely “gordian knot of tangled yarn in black on a grey melange background” jersey for myself with no particular plan in mind. It would make a great lady skater or a monata, but I’m not really a dress person.  I contemplated a maxi skirt or a full (circle?) skirt, but I’m not really a skirt person either. I kept thinking about making it into trousers, but I couldn’t find the right knit pattern. They were all to tight and jegging-y, or too loose and haremey, or too wide and palazo-ey, or too frumpy, or just plain wierd.

IMG_0119[1].JPG

And then I read about some most excellent looking Ponte Pants (not to be confused with Pont Y Pants, North Wales, nor indeed with Pontipines), or more preciesly, Pleather and Ponte pants. I remember that they looked fab and someone called Andrea had made them  with the Ginger jeans pattern (for stretch demin) that she already had in a beefy ponte and some plether but I cannot find the post now at all, so frustrating, I thought I had the link saved, sorry. Anyway they gave me enough confidence to  bite the bullet and try using my Liana stretch jeans pattern with my precious fabric. After all, I reasoned, I could always cut them down into leggings if it didn’t work, or wear them as pyjama bottoms. (A sensible person would make a toile before cutting into their precious fabric obviously, but you need a fabric with a similar hand, especially for a knit as they can handle so differently. However, my local fabric shops don’t have knit anywhere near as nice as this, so I’d have to buy more expensive knit fabric online to practise with, which seems a bit pointless).

IMG_0124[1].JPG

Using the Liana pattern was a bit of a (semi) educated guess, as it calls for 25% stretch denim, so I thought I might get away with jersey without sizing down.  This is what I did, in case you’re interested.  I hesitate to call it a “tutorial” as that might imply I knew what I was doing (I didn’t, I was winging it).

IMG_0261[1]

In order to convert my pattern to jersey I taped the pocket facing piece behind the pocket cut out to create a pocketless pattern piece and I also folded over the fly, then I cut them out. I considered converting the back to one piece, rather than a yoke and a back piece, but I wasn’t sure how didn’t think it would be worth the effort, so I cut them out as they were.

I still wanted pockets in my trousers, because pockets, I just hadn’t thought that “proper” jeans style pockets would work in the jersey. So I took inspiration from the opening of the Domi short pattern, but tried to make them a bit more practical (as the round pocket option on the Domi’s is very shallow, as described in the pattern notes). To do this, I first traced the edge of my pattern piece and drew in the seam lines. Then I worked out where I wanted my pocket opening to start and drew round a handily sized lid to make a semi circle. I also marked another semicircle, half an inch wider, to show where the ribbing would end. I decided to have my pocket extend to the waistband and side seam, for added support and stability, and drew in the pocket line by eye. Then I cut this out and used it as a pattern piece to cut out two pockets. Next I marked a third (pink) semicircle on my pattern piece, 1cm smaller than the outer one, so that I knew where the seam line would be (yes, I want 1/2″ ribbing and I’m using 1cm seam allowance, that’s how messed up versatile I am). I cut along this pink line and then used the pattern piece as a guide for cutting out the indents on my fronts (lining the piece up with the top and sides, natch).

The “ribbing” was some black jersey. I cut a width approx 75% the circumferential of my semi circle, and the height was twice the finished ribbing width plus the seam allowance (so 1″ plus 2cm then!). This was pressed in half, then I matched the midpoint of the long raw edges to the centre of the semicircle (right side), matched the end points to the edges of the semi circle, stretched it o fit, pinned, sewed, pressed, turned it, pressed again, “coverstitched” my seam allowance down (because I thought that on the pocket the raw edges might show and also I was worried that the ribbing might fray). Next I lined up my pocket piece with my front and basted along the top and side in the seam allowance. Finally I “coverstitched” (a zig zag would do as well) the curve edge in place, from the back, so I could see what I was doing. And voila, a pocket. (And a pretty fine looking one if I do say so myself).

img_01251

After that it was pretty plain sailing, sew the pieces together, starting with attaching the yokes. (I did the centre front and back seams next and then the inside leg, so I could “coverstitch” them all for extra durability and left the side seams for last, but any order you like works, even the one that always seems needlessley complicated to me where you do the centre seams last and have to put one leg inside the other).

img_01181

I added a yoga style waistband as described in this tutorial (except I didn’t subtract only 1 1/2″ from my waistline for the length, as it was clear that my super stretchy rib would’ve been too big then. It was a tubular peice of ribbing  which I thought was the perfect size for my waist, so I used it as it was, ha. Then it turned out it was too big, so I went back later and inserted some elastic at the back).

IMG_0127[1].JPG

Then it just remained to hem them. [and get some decent photo’s, but as mentioned previously my photographer seems to be on a work to rule so dodgy selfies it is).

So, in conclusion, sometimes it’s good to do something on impulse….

(but maybe not stealing flowers and propositioning strangers with them eh)

(I feel I have to add this to balance out the creepyness of the ad, just incase anyone decides to give someone tea on impulse, plus its a great video in its own right).

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.

img_00441

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?).

img_00461

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.

img_00181

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).

IMG_0027[1].JPG

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.

img_00481

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…