Messing about on the river

My son loves prints as much as he loves colours and it’s so hard to find boyish ones, or rather, not girly ones, so I tend to snatch them up when I stumble across them.

A while ago I bought this boat print, which is very lovely, but the long sleeved ADV T I made it into hasn’t got worn so much, on reflection the design is probably a bit young for him, or maybe just not his thing.

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With the remnants of the long sleeve T I started making a short sleeved negative version shortly after this was finished. (I used turquoise ribbing for the neckband, the closest match I had, I didn’t want lots of bits of boats there!)

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I had to piece the back as I didn’t have enough red left and I foolishly decided to applique a boat on it whilst I was at it to match the print. It looked naff. My son loved it and wanted me to make it the front, which a) I didn’t want to do and b) would’ve been very complicated. So it languished in a pile for far too long, until I unearthed it in April when I joined in with the Sew Alongs and Sewing Contests UFO Purge.

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After a brief try at sprucing up the applique, in the end I just manged to re-piece the back out of red remnants so it was plain red. Phew. After that it was a quick finish.

I wasn’t sure how much it’d be worn though, however, there was a lot of the boat fabric left and still a little red, so I made up some matching Domi shorts to make a summer pj set.  I even retraced them in the next size up.

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Night Night!

Dandelion Tea

T shirts. A staple make for me, cos that’s what I wear day in day out, but I tend to make the same ones all the time, because I’ve adjusted the pattern for me and lets face it, how different can a t shirt be?

Then I saw the Chai t-shirt pattern by Liesl and Co, and not only do the pleats stand out, but the sleeves are different from the t-shirt patterns I have too, plus it has A/B, C and D cup size options, so I thought I might be able to get away with not doing a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and I decided to give it a go.

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Looking through my fabric to make a test one, I found this burgundy knit, with not much stretch, that I thought would do. I didn’t think there would be enough, so I pulled out a remnant of black jersey with a styilised dandelion print and thought I’d have to use it for the yokes and sleeves. In the end, I had enough to cut everything in the burgundy, but I had the idea in my head then so I cut the yokes and neckband in the dandelions.

Then one night whilst noodling on the internet I saw someone painting dandelions with a toilet roll tube. It looked so easy (this gives you the idea) and I thought, “I know, I’ll put a couple of dandelions onto the shirt front using some of my screenprint dye”.

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Needless to say it did not come out as well as the internet suggested it would. Luckily I tried it on a scrap bit of fabric. But LSH liked the seeds flying off that I’d done with the glue spreader.

So I tried again using my glue spreader, working lines around in a circle and then adding them inwards and that worked much better and I decided to go for it on my real fabric. (Obviously they didn’t come out quite as good as my test, but hey). Painting a flat piece of fabric that isn’t sewn up yet is definitely easier than painting a t shirt, a definite sewing perk.

So, after faffing around with printing the fabric and setting the dye, the t shirt came together really quickly. I attached the neckband my usual way rather than as the instructions.

The yokes and sleeves are size L, the main pieces are L graded to XL at the waist and the side seams are sewn in a slightly smaller seam allowance than the 1/2″ in the pattern because I was worried it would be a bit tight having had it over my head.  I chose the D cup. The fit is alright, but I think maybe I could use a little more room in the chest, the pleats hide what’s going on a little but I think there’s fabric pooling at the top due to it being a bit tight around my, err, chest apex.

So, as test garments go this is pretty wearable and I’m really chuffed with how the dandelions came out, it turns it from a “using up the oddments” garment into something special. Now to decide what to do next time, do I size up, or try and work out how to do an FBA on the front (which is a different shape to your average t shirt, cos pleats). Any thoughts on top tips?

When someone is having a rough time…

… what better way to go than to make them a Cactus T shirt?

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Kimono T-shirt pattern free from Maria Denmark

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With added length for the beanpole it’s made for

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beautiful fabric from Kitschy Coo, perfect for the succulent growing recipient.

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Much better than flowers, don’t you think?

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It’s winging its way to her as I type.

Generation Gap

It’s official, I am now an Old Fogey who doesn’t understand modern fashion. Namely, the trend of wearing leggings as outerwear. The Girl now prefers to wear leggings and t shirts to the dresses with leggings that she lived in for so long. Cue lots of arguments between me and The Girl about the need for her to cover her bum before she goes out.

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She does have a couple of long t shirts that I let her get away with, so I made her another one. This is an Adv Tee, age 11, with 4 1/2″ added length.

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I just extended the sides straight, so I put 4″ slits at the bottom for ease of movement.

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I changed the front neckline from a v neck to a round neck, just cutting it by eye. The neckband came out rather narrow, but I like it. And to show which is the front, I sewed on 3 of these handmade Stuttgart buttons that I got for Christmas from a lovely friend who lives in Germany.

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And look, decency is preserved. (Well kind of, it runs up a bit cos it’s quite a fitting t shirt).

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Speaking of bum coverage, I made a little something for myself out of the remnants.

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.

 

Hello Goodbye

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bad Aunty

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After a busy summer,the kids are now back at school and I’m finally catching up on organising overdue birthday presents for all my Niephlings north of the border.

Exibit A is a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono t-shirt in awesome print, with extra length for my superhero niece who is so tall that she doesn’t need to jump over buildings, she can just walk over them (well, almost).

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