Nivalis

Recently I saw a 10% off code for Sofilantjes. It lasted 1 day.  So I quickly told my friend who I knew was considering getting the Domi pattern and she dully bought them. The next day I remembered that I was planning to get the Nivalis tunic and dress pattern, doh. Needless to say I bought it anyway as I had two lots of remnants with this pattern in mind. First up, use the colour block dress version to make a minuture copy of this black and pink dress to give to The Girls friend who’d admired the original (The Girl won’t touch that fabric with a bargepole). I didn’t have enough fabric, not even for a tunic, so I made myself commiseratory pants instead.  Never mind, I had plans to make the leftover of my floral mustard leggings into a tunic for the girl. Guess what, not enough of that either. (I think I’ve found something else to do with it though, so watch this space). When Will I Learn?

Now I had the pattern though, I had to do something with it. So I broke out my secret “this was going to be a Christmas present dress (in 2015, I ran out of time)” blue/teal/purple/pink/yellow peacock/rainbow/shell fabric and got to work. Directional print, limited fabric, I only just squeezed it out without having to have the back upside down or cut it in two pieces. I think I refolded it about 6 times before I managed it. Still Learning.

I used the layer printing option for the first time to reduce the number of sizes printed (several designers do this) and guess what, it makes life easier! This came together quick and easy (one evening to finish the last bits of pdf taping, cut it out and sew it), the most time was spent fiddling with the (optional) tabs (although I lost the mark of where to attach them on the pattern piece somehow and had to work it out based on the button placement mark) and the (self drafted) pocket (less said about that the better, it’s a bit wobbly). I didn’t do the hood (which she wouldn’t use) or the collar (not my style), so if you went for one of those options it’d take a bit longer. I got a bit confused as to how to finish the cap sleeves, the inside of the underarms are a bit messy, maybe I was supposed to hem them before doing the side seam? Anyway, that might well be me as I wasn’t having my best sewing day yesterday and there a couple of things on this that weren’t my best work. But the overall result is lovely, and she’s happily wearing it today. It’s slimmer fit that I’m used to seeing her wear, this pattern range seems to be drafted that way, so when I make it again (and I plan to, I want to try a long sleeve tunic top), I think I’ll size up a bit.

But overall, the Nivalis is a stylish, slender, quick win.

M is for?

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Mind the Moose Mila shirt, natch (with printed selvage edge made into a label).

 

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Stashbust? Check. Bought this last year on holiday in Wales (later found my local fabric shop stocks it too). Pretty much the whole 2m used.

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Seasonal Sewing Wardrobe Challenge? Check.

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Pattern? Itch to Sitch Mila shirt. So now I can be a total fan girl in this and my Liana jeans.

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Well drafted? Check, all lined up perfectly and you get to chose your upper chest in A, B, C, D or DD cups.

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Customer service? Excellent. When I got confused as to which size to choose someone suggested I ask Kennis on facebook and she looked at my measurements and suggested 12DD top graded to 18 a the waist and hips. Seams to have worked fine.

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Instructions: Excellent, and leads to to really professional finish. I had never inserted a partial placket before and it went swimmingly.

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Any deviation from said instructions? I wimped out on narrow curved hem and used satin bias binding instead.

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Pattern Alerations: As it was drafted for people up to 5’7″ and I’m 5’8″ and like things long, I added 1 1/2″ to the length. I probably didn’t need too.

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Sulkiest Machine Moment: Buttonholes. My machine, always fickle with buttonholes at best, decided to try and chew up the fabric. Eventually, I had a brainwave and unscrewed the throat plate and found a serious lint build up, eurghhh. I spent 15 minutes clearing it all out and after a wait while I made jeans, gave it a go, and it was much better. I also worked out that I need to turn the stitch length down 3 notches for the last step of the buttonhole (when it stiches forward down the right hand side) in order for the two sides to match up.

Overall? Not the quickest make, but the finish is great and I have a sunny yellow shirt.

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Best pattern matching moment: Check out the moose down the placket and on the centre back of the collar.

Best comment: “with that label in it it looks like you bought it” LSH.

Fabric bought for the next one? You betcha (don’t tell the stashbusters, but I really don’t have much lightweight fabric in my stash).

 

 

Lovely Liana

Did you spot the anachronism yesterday I posted about my camel jumper? Anyone?  There are probably a myriad of mistakes I overlooked, but the glaring error to my mind is that I said I had nothing to wear it with and yet I was wearing it with a pair of jeans it looked fine with. So, I’ll let you into two secrets. The first is, that post sat waiting for photo’s for over a week whilst I failed to take photo’s (top tip, if you put something on in the morning so you get a photo of it, don’t have an impromptu gardening session first and cover it in mud).

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The second is that whilst I was waiting for the photo’s I made jeans. But I don’t mind if you didn’t notice, I’ll just take it as proof that they look pretty professional 😉

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These are Itch to Stitch Liana Stretch Jeans. There was a sew-a-long back in December, but I decided I didn’t have time to pfaff about getting jeans to fix back then.

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More fool me as these are the size 18 straight out of the packet, no alterations, and they are the best fitting pair of jeans I can remember having (although there are wrinkles so might investigate alterations before the next pair, and there will be a next pair, but then again, I might just be lazy).

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My favourite bit was topstitching the back pockets, such fun! (And yes, I have sorted those loose ends out now).

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Now I’ve made them I understand why a couple of people I know have been raving about them. First off Kennis’s pattern is impeccably well drafted. See that coin pocket, there is a different sized one for each size of the pattern (and for the back pockets too) Seriously. And a pattern piece for the belt loops (rather than just cut a piece of fabric x by y). Oh and those pockets you see have pocket stays too. And there are three different leg options, skinny, straight or bootcut, I went for the latter.

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The instructions (with diagrams, I love a good diagram) are really clear, including when to finish seams, when to topstitch, what to do if your machine doesn’t have a bar tack function and a great way of inserting the fly. It all leads to a very professional finish.

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Can you tell I love them? There will soon be a pile like this again awaiting construction as my red jeans are on the mending pile with fabric failure, as for a while they were the only jeans I had so they’ve seen quite alot of use. I need to make a second pair of these before they go the same way…

 

 

Farewell to dining table sewing

<meta
http-equiv="X-Frame-Options" content="DEI wanted to show you the last thing I made before I got my new sewing space, some Domi Shorts. I was really pleased to find the Sofilantjes Pattern range when someone from the Stashbusting Group posted a pic of a Semper Sweater. There are boys/unisex patterns, in everyday style clothes and the size range on the patterns is huge (12months – 14 years). Plus being based in the Netherlands (the patterns are available in either Dutch or English), there are samples made in the bright patterns that my son loves. Anyway, to start with I bought the Semper sweater (which was on offer at the time) and the Domi sweatpant pattern, as it was perfect to make the long shorts I had in mind to use up the rest of the cogs and gear fabric  and should  also come in handy when I have to replace the star trousers.

Yup, this photo is awful. I can’t take another one though as I’ve given them away. They came out too small! This may well be as I was going pretty fast when I made these and not stopping to think. I measured the boy, waist, hip and inside leg. His hip size fell in age 7 range, the inside leg and I think the waist too came out as age 10. This should’ve rung alarm bells as my boy is a straight up and down beanpole, his waist is not 3 sizes bigger than his hips. However, the pattern said to go with the hip and inside leg measurement (presumably as the waistband is elasticated) and he is skinny for his age, so I made them in the size 7, but cut to the length of the size 10 (which is still always going to be shorter than a size 10 as you loose crotch length). I made them the 3/4 length but without the cuff, hoping for a below the knee long short look (that would grow with him into above the knee shorts!). Anyway, they just fit but only just in a slim fit kind of way and were above the knee. On reflection, the pattern did state that they’ll fit more loosley around the hips of boys as they tend to be slimmer there than girls, so probably I should’ve made a size 10. I was a bit frustrated, as I love this fabric and don’t have enough left for a remake, but I’ve found a good home for them and next time I make something from this company I will remember that they’re not drafted huge like a big 4 pattern!
The shorts themselves were a quick make, the pattern is straightforward and the instructions are clear. I love the curved pocket openings (although as stated in the pattern, if you choose this option they don’t fit much in) and the eyelets I used to thread the cord through having helped them to come out looking professional. I was pleased with the lime green and teal combination too, I’m glad they’ve found a good home!

Ohh, and let me tell you about mynew sewing space. The Great Sort Out is still going on, but now that we’ve banished the kids up to the attic (in separate rooms), their old room is our new spare room / sewing space / work from home place. I have repurposed an old table to be my sewing table and tried to get organised with a home made spool holder and some tubs from IKEA and I’m really pleased with my new lamp. The hand cranked adjustable height table on the other side of the room is from IKEA too, perfect for when LSH is working from home as he can sit or stand at it and help prevent back issues. When he’s not using it it’s great for taping PDF’s together and cutting out patterns. I also found an old pile of mending, including 2 pairs of age 3-4 trousers and a coat, all now mended and passed next door for their 2 year old to grow into, along with some trousers for LSH.

Speaking of which, LSH has been using the new space for sewing too, raiding my scrap pile to make a new rag coat for the latest morris side he’s joined. The Girl had great fun chasing him round in his new coat trying to spot where all the fabric was from, including hte hidden fairies.

A brace of Anya’s

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So, all that thinking about making bags reminded me that I hadn’t made the Anya Bag pattern up yet that I won before Christmas. It was a condition of winning that I blog a bag within 4 months, but, you know the drill, all opinions are most definitely my own.

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I had a plan to use this to make something for my friend (as I’m not really into handbags), but that idea wasn’t with scraps. Now Zoe herself says this bag is a great scrap buster and as I know that she is into reducing the impact of her sewing and as I had just posted all about sewing bags from scraps, I thought I really should have a rootle in my scrap bin for something appropriate to try the pattern with. What I found there was some left over cerise boiled wool from making a Princess Anna inspired cape   – perfect.

There were two little problems I found when cutting out. The first was that it was, err, oh so very very pink. Extremely pink. I felt it needed breaking up a little. So I had another rootle and found some more boiled wool scraps, green this time (from a waistcoat for LSH) and improvised a little leafy design. It came out rather well if I do say so myself. As the boiled wool won’t fray I didn’t have to worry about finishing edges or even sewing them down. I just cut the leaves out, tried some arrangement, pinned when I was happy and then sewed them freehand on my normal sewing machine.

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The second problem was that I didn’t have a big enough piece of fabric left to cut the straps and by this stage the bag was looking quite smart so I didn’t want to piece some together. Instead I bought some from my local fabric shop. There was a limited range of colours, so I chose navy, which matched the print on the lining.

The lining wasn’t techincally scrap, but it did come in a bargain bundle of fabrics and I’ve never been quite sure what to do with it. It’s perfect for a lining though, pale yet interesting, and the tree’s inside match the leaves outside.

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Next up, bag number 2, for my friend, who is not really a pink kind of person. I was quite happy to make 2 in a row as this is a fun, quick pattern and I also wanted to see how it looked in different fabrics. This is my Zombie Apocalypse version with a blood splatter velvet pattern on a soft drapey denim. This time, the outer is new fabric, and the inner uses scraps, red for the yoke and white waterproof lining fabric for the inside (which was hell to work with).

So, pattern review then.

PDF: short and sweet (4 pages), taped together easily, full marks.

Instructions: very comprehensive, lots of photo’s, in fact, I was finding them a bit too detailed, then I found the condensed 1 page version at the end which was just what I wanted. So something for everyone. Full marks again.

Difficulty: Fairly easy, there are pleats, curves and an optional buttonhole (but you could use a secret snap/popper) and all well explained so I think a beginner would be fine with this but maybe not as a first project.

Pattern drafting: Good, everything matched up tickity boo.

Trickiest bit: The button tab, surprisingly. My first attempt ended up a little wonky and unsymmetrical and it was really noticable. So then I traced the stiching line onto my interfacing before ironing it on and used that for a guide which worked much better. Oh and the buttonhole, but me and my machine aren’t seeing eye to eye with buttonholes at the moment, on a different machine that would be fine (and you can leave the tab off).

Overall: I got two very professional looking bags that don’t particularly look home made, especially the boiled wool one. What I didn’t get to do is add a pocket (I’m a bit of pocket addict), the pattern doesn’t have one and I couldn’t think where to put one what with all those pleats.  This pattern is great for using up leftover fabric and there’s lots of scope for playing with contrast fabric and decoration (piping along the yoke seam? or maybe ric rac bumps sticking out?).

Make again? Maybe, as I said, I don’t really do handbags, but if I wanted to give one as another gift this is a quick make.

 

A circus of Puffins

*Actually, the time before I made this t shirt was my first ever Full Bust Adjustment and I messed it up and fudged it. I wasn’t quite sure how to manage one on a kimono sleeve t shirt but according to a comment on Maria’s blog“you just cut off the sleeves, and then put them back on after the adjustment”. Righto. I think I did this right.

Next up, the back. I decided that as I’d gone to all that fuss with the front, maybe I should finally learn how to do a sway back adjustment on the front, using this tutorial from Kitschycoo, in for a penny, in for a pound, right?

 

So, more taping (does anyone actually tape the whole pdf together before starting to cut pattern pieces out?), chose where to do it (err, no lengthen/shorten line as per tutorial, so I chose a handily looking placed join in the taped together pieces), mark wedge to be taken out (in blue) scratch head, re-read tutorial, mark wedge the correct way around (in pink, I’m loosing 2cm height from the centre back here), trace top half of pattern (with seam allowance included trick), mark top part of wedge, rotate greaseproof tracing paper so that line is now at the bottom of wedge, trace bottom part of pattern. See, that wasn’t so bad was it?  And now there are two personalised pattern pieces and walking the side seams looks like the side seams are still about the same length. Brill.

A short panic about cutting into my precious fabric later (really I should use a fabric I don’t care about to test my fit, but all my jersey is precious), 4 seams (with clear elastic in the shoulder seams) later and I’m ready to try it on.

Not too shabby, the swayback has definitely helped reduce pooling in my lower back, it’s a little tight around my ever expanding waistline (no, no happy news here, just pies) and it’s far too long, as despite making this mistake last time, I cut the 4XL length with the L size.

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Just some finishing to do. Inspired by Dandelion Drift recent shoreline boatneck  post I use this variant of this technique to finish my sleeves and neckline in orange ribbing. Happy colours! (I cut the neckline ribbing at about 90% the length of my neckline).  This was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, I love the orange but had to trim my seam allowance to get the binding to work as instructed. The inside looks a bit messy but worst of all the sleeve hem is still flipping up in the pictures above. Arghh. Bane of my sewing with knits life.

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Then I hacked off some inches from the bottom and added a wider orange rib band (so the length ended up back to about where it was drafted, nice and long without being silly).

And the jobs a good un. And now I can wear puffins all day long! My daughter’s comment on it was “these two are talking to each other and this one is ignoring that one”…

Jasper

Finally, a jumper, for me, nearly made in the last weekend of Jan (hey I was ill) thereby meeting a key sewing goal.

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I know, I know, it’s a bit wierd to start with a back shot and it’s not because there’s an exciting reveal at the front, just I could only get LSH to take 4 photo’s in total and it took some effort getting that many out of him. The back shot is the only one where I don’t look like a complete [insert mild insult of your choice here].

This Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater took sooo long to make. Not actually make you know, that was surprisingly quick, especially one the welt pockets were out of the way. No, it took so long to get  around to making it, as I’d built it up into some impossibly complicated thing in my head, partly due to the fact that there’s a flow chart to help you choose your size. (And also because the test garments on the Paprika website are so swoonworthy I was worried I wouldn’t do the pattern justice.) In the end, I was in such a strop with the Collar Of Despair on the Jumper That Shall Not be Named that I bit the bullet and, with a lot of repeatly muttering “this is a Muslin, a test garment, it doesn’t matter” to myself, I manged to get on with it.

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[Seriously , this is the best shot by far. I may have to find a new photographer.]

As a fit test muslin goes, my thoughts are more space could be used at the bust, which might stop the front hem rising up a little too, the pocket is adding extra layers where there is too much of me to start with (and I forget it’s there when I’m wearing it so don’t use it), I’d like it longer (this is the sweater length, not the dress, but I like my jumpers on the long side), the arms are ok now but were tight (I redid them with a smaller seam allowance), oh and the arms seem shorter now I’ve added the cuffs, which is weird (yes, I did lazilly wear it before adding cuffs).

I decided while I was making it that I hated this fleece that I can’t remember buying (but I know it was always earmarked to test this pattern) and couldn’t understand why I chose this colour. I like it better now it’s finished, the colour is not one I normally wear but looks ok on, but the fabric quality isn’t great – I’m not sure how well it’ll wash and wear. I’m also worried that it’s not a good test for my final fabric, being both thicker and less stretchy.

The mental block on this project was definitely getting the size right and working out what adjustments to make. I’ll give you the details of my agonising, in case it helps anyone else.  In the end I took a deep breath, did some careful measuring and reread the instructions on choosing sizes and whether you need and FBA or not:

First up my measurements:

  • Full bust 106cm – size 7
  • Waist 96cm – between sizes 8 and a 9
  • Hips 120cm – between sizes 8 and a 9

So according to the flowchart I needed to print pattern file 6 -10 (based on my hip measurements). Which is good, as that was what I had printed out. Phew. (From a copy shop, this pattern has both metric and imperial copy shop options so I could get it printed easily, hooray! So no taping, double hooray)

Next up, the Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) decision. My Upper Bust measures 100cm which is 6cm difference from full bust and therefore falls in the 4.5-8cm difference C cup range that the size  6 – 10 is drafted for, so officially I was good to go without any adjustments. I find this weird as I wear an F/G cup bra, but I decided to trust the pattern and reminded myself this was a muslin, so it’s ok to go wrong. In the end I traced pattern size 7 for my shoulders and bust grading to 9 at waist and hips and marking my notches as best I could and trying to make sure that the blend started/finished in the same place on the front/side and back pieces. I think the shoulders fit ok, but a FBA would actually have been a good idea. Then again, the arms were tight so maybe I should do a size 8 top half grading to a 9 for the waist and hips? Or do I need a size 8 with and FBA grading to a 9? And there’s quite a lot of fabric around my centre back so do I need a different size at the back to the front, which is surely madness, or a sway back adjustment? Arrgh, fitting is hard!

As the markings for the welt pockets are different for each size, I lined my welts up with my lower dot on my pattern front (where my pattern was definitely size 9) and then just made sure they were parallel with the edge of the pattern piece (as I hadn’t been sure where to put the top dot as at that point my line was in the middle of blending from the size 9 to the 7).  I cut the pocket pieces a straight size 9, centred them on the front piece and trimmed the excess off to make them match.

After the welt pockets it was pretty easy actually. Just kind of sew it together. And there’s a great tutorial for the welt pockets. The only I did get a bit confused was whether I was supposed to sew the bottom band through the pocket as well as the front or not, in the end I decided not. The only thing I would change  construction wise is when trimming the seam allowance at the neckline, I would grade it so the longest piece is on top and then when I topstitch it would hold everything down together.

So, in conclusion, I need to be less scared of getting started and less precious about my muslins. This jumper is fine, I would find it perfectly acceptable size wise if I bought it in a shop. The pattern is great, seems well drafted and had lovely clear instructions. I definitely do want to make it again in my earmarked precious fabric, with a hood next time and in the dress length (if I have enough fabric). I will almost certainly leave the welt pockets off, seeing as I find them unflattering and not useful, however this is my personal preference, because on the test garments they look great. I’m still dithering about what size to use especially as the next fabric will be both thinner and stretchier.