What my man wants….

I don’t make many clothes for my long suffering husband. I offered to make him a t shirt recently, as he was eyeing up some henly style ones in a shop, I casually mentioned that I had a pattern for one like that at home, but he quickly dismissed that stating that he “liked to choose the designs on the front of his t shirts”. Then, a few weeks later, he brought home 3 plain short sleeved henly t shirts. I would sigh at this point but there’s no way I’d turn them out that fast.

However, I have made him several waistcoats, or vests if you prefer (which sounds weird if you’re British as here a vest is an undergarment, like a tank). First off was one to wear when he was being an usher at a friends wedding, a long time ago, before we were married. I was supposed to be making waistcoats for the groom, best man and the other usher too, but I got out of that little sewing obligation by getting shingles. Not recommended. He still has it (the waistcoat, not shingles, he’s never had that) but its definitely not everyday wear fabric.

Next up, out of a request for an everyday waistcoat, I made a muslin out of stash. It started very purple, but then he dyed it with black dye and it ended up a very dark indigo kind of colour. It has got worn quite a bit, even whilst it was purple.

The purple one saw less wear once I made the “final” version, which despite a dodgy collar and the lining bagging out at the back, gets worn a lot. However it took me a year to finish it and I only managed it in the end when he started threatening to buy a shop bought one instead.

During my post completion high though, I decided that waistcoats were easy and I would make another one, but this time with a better collar (I think I might have sewn the lapels on backwards on the grey one). We went fabric shopping, he chose some green boiled wool (I think) and a striking gold for the lining and I sewed up the lining and sewed the outer pieces together and did 3 of the 4 darts, then I stopped. No idea why. It got put on one side and languished.

Until a couple of days ago when a combination of my guilty coincidence, a desire to do something nice for him, and the bad light in the evening which meant I didn’t want to cut a new thing out for him spurred me on and I decided to finish it. At least I’ve taken under a year this time, rather than over!

“don’t get many of them t’ pound”

First I stuffed up the welt pockets. They were going fine, using this method, but then at some point when I turned my back they developed a gap along the top of the welt. I think it might be due to not being carefully enough sewing my lining together in a way I can picture but not described. Anyway, I put it on one side to see how I felt in the morning and discovered that I felt annoyed but not enough so to try and redo welt pockets.

welt gappage

welt gappage

So onwards it was and I cut out and sewed up the collar – making it an inch wider at the back than last time as that one gets really narrow there. Then I also made a hot mess of the collar. I carefully marked my pieces so I didn’t so the lapels on backwards but WHAT is happening with that seam, seriously? It doesn’t lie flat and hubby pointed out that the gap from collar edge to armhole is noticeably different on each side. Looking back on it now, I think the purple one looks better as the collar is stiffer, which at first I thought was calico rather than wool, but then I realised I didn’t interface any collar/lapel pieces this time around (can’t remember last time around) which surely isn’t helping.

don't even talk to me about this darn collar

don’t even talk to me about this darn collar

Again, I left it overnight and decided that whilst I wasn’t happy I wasn’t sure unpicking would help, so I finished it. At least the buttonholes went reasonably well this time.

buttons

buttons – the colour is all messed up in these close ups by the way, the full body shots below are a much better representation

So, in conclusion, hubby has a new waistcoat and is very pleased and smiley about it. And I know from last times experience that I will eventually stop wincing at it every time he walks into a room. And I do think the collar is less bad this time.

He does like it, honest.

He does like it, honest.

And next time? Surely there will be a next time. After all he shows no sign of stopping wearing waistcoats and struggles to find ones he wants in the shops (and those he does see cost around £100, so making them is definitely cost effective even after expensive wool fabric purchase) and I am determined to get it right.

he was taking the mick out of me making him stand in front of a “blogging wall” by doing “interesting” poses. The creases aren’t there when he stands naturally

Well, I’ve now spied a pattern which appears to have the “proper” collar he wants, rather than one that ends at the shoulder seam, so should be a better start for all the other alterations he requires, as my collar drafting skills, indeed my collar construction skills, are clearly lacking and I could use a little professional help here in the form of pattern pieces and instructions.

don't look at the seam with the collar, look at the hanging loop, but not too closely, my machine reset the stitch width without my asking when I was half way through sewing it on

don’t look at the seam with the collar, look at the hanging loop, but not too closely, my machine reset the stitch width without my asking when I was half way through sewing it on

Lets just hope I keep whittling down my construction times!

Talking of which, as an added bonus, I made myself some “subtle” pants, out of knit leftovers and some of my ribbing stash from impulse online ribbing purchase earlier this year (it is impossible to buy locally). These did not take long to sew up once cut out, in fact I sewed them up before breakfast on Saturday as it was such a dreary grey day and I needed cheering up. Another pair of Barrie Briefs, but this time the banding feels more comfortable around my leg, which I assume is because the ribbing has more stretch than using jersey.

can you make them out against the backdrop?

can you make them out against the backdrop?

Hattifateners

So, I finished the hat!

T

It suits her, but she doesn’t like warm clothing of any description so was co-erced into modelling, can you tell?

My calculations were a bit off, so it’s come out as a large childs hat (my kids have inherited my large head). It’ll go on one side for now until I work out who to gift a hand wash only kids hat to. Or maybe it’d fit a small headed adult. Hmm.

B

Love this shot, thanks to my photographer

I’m still in love with the yarn colours. The red feels quite different than the yellow or the green, which I had to knit double to make them work with the red. I was warned that I had picked three different types of yarn which would handle differently (I can only remember that one was Blue Faced Leicester, but I can’t remember which one). [edit: apparently the green is Blue Faced Leicester, the red is Masham and the yellow is White Faced Woodland] I knit it on 8mm dpns as they were what I could find. I tend to knit my hats in chunky yarn with a fairly tight tension that makes a firmish hat.

I have started a second hat with the leftovers but I’ve had to search for other yarn remnants to make enough for a hat. Which I think will probably also be child sized. I’m not too bothered, my hats all seem to find homes in the end!

I also need some more concentrated knitting time to finish the heel flap and turn the heel on my second sock. Hopefully before Wednesday as I’ve found out about a knitting group in a local pub, so I can then mindlessly knit rounds of sock foot whilst chatting.

But I’m also looking forward to doing some sewing. For a start (probably, unless I get distracted) I’m finally recutting my Jalie pattern pieces full sized (rather than how they came – half sized to be cut on the fold) so I can cut the dratted skittery stripey fabric I want to use. Which means I might finally be on theme for the Stashbusting Sewalong as May in knit fabric month.

P.S.

Apologies to anyone looking forward to a Moomin related post, I’m just a bit random with my titles sometimes.

Queue jumper

Repeat after me “I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying. I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying. I am not doing sewing this weekend, I have guests staying.

Look at me not trace out a pattern. Or cut fabric. Or just get the machine out to do some mending.

I am doing so well. Honestly, I did not realise there would be someone spinning at the street market we went to. A little peak won’t hurt will it? And I have to hang around to stop my kids breaking things whilst my son asks his usual barrage of questions, that’s my job as a parent, right? And it won’t hurt to just fondle some of the pretty colours while I’m here.

Lovely tones

Lovely tones of hand dyed hand spun wool from Spindle and Skein

Whoops, I accidentally bought some. But it would be rude not too, we were there a while and she was so patient with the boy.

Anyway, I will not be rude and start knitting in front of guests. I will not be rude and … hey, one of my guests is knitting. Right, that’s it….

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4

testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4

Test piece done. I may be knitting another hat. Not sure who for yet, other than for someone who knows how to hand wash.

Waistcoat.

Oh, I just remembered, I can banish all thoughts of my ineptitude at woodwork by telling you all about the Man’s waistcoat which I finally finished!

Finally managed a daylight photo shoot and it got photobombed!  He was trying to look like a Victorian Head of the Household apparently (so I was instructed to take a sepia shot, but as it's his camera I didn't know how, so I used black and white).

Finally managed a daylight photo shoot and it got photobombed! He was trying to look like a Victorian Head of the Household apparently (so I was instructed to take a sepia shot, but as it’s his camera I didn’t know how, so I used black and white).

I nearly finished it before Christmas. The welt pockets didn’t go too badly in the end, although they don’t look as good as my practice one. I had cut the pocket linings from the pattern, but then decided the decidedly simpler looking welt pocket tutorial on the Oliver and S blog was the way to go. Plus it doesn’t have a triangular flap of fabric that you have to fold under and handstitch into place (spot the potential shabby finish, handsewing is not my forte). However, they use a rectangle of lining fabric and I didn’t have much left. So I sort of bodged the two methods together, sewing the welt the Oliver and S way and then attaching the lining pieces to them and then sewing them up. It worked ok. The top of the pocket on the inside is wool and then lower down it’s green lining.

The slit is cut, the welt piece (currently looking rectangular) is on the inside and I'm figuring how and where to attach the lining pieces to it (hence chalk marks) before I can press and stitch the relevant folds that make it a welt into place and sew up my pocket bags)

The slit is cut, the welt piece (currently looking rectangular) is on the inside and I’m figuring how and where to attach the lining pieces to it (hence chalk marks) before I can press and stitch the relevant folds that make it a welt into place and sew up my pocket bags.

But after I attached the lining the collar was sitting wierdly, it had wibbles in it (can’t think of a better way to describe it). I’m fairly sure the lapels are attached to the back collar piece back to front, but I was loathe to unpick the collar from the lining and main waistcoat, and then unpick the collar from itself and restitch them. So I sulked. Then I tacked it into place and steamed it lots, left it a few days, steamed it lots, hubby wore it around the house, left it a few days, and repeat. Eventually I took the stitches out and it was better. Not right, but hubby was happy with it and I wasn’t confident it would look better after being attacked with a seam ripper.

In the colour shot you can see how well it matches the shirt my mum bought him for Christmas.

In the colour shot you can see how well it matches the shirt my mum bought him for Christmas as well as playing spot the still wibbly bits on the collar.

Next stop, to get some buttons. There was one with the waistcoat which I think hubby chose as a possible at the time (either that or I’ve lost the rest) but it was a bit small. They didn’t have any the same in the shop but I found something close that he approved of.

2 of the actual buttons with the original choice above

2 of the actual buttons with the original choice above


And then I didn’t get around to making the buttonholes. In my defenes we had 2 lots of family staying back to back and I was really ill with flu and there were Anna dresses to sew etc. In the mean time, he wore it out to his Christmas night out, with no buttons.

The Man decided to do Humourous Poses. (He was about to go on his Works Night Out and was in a good mood - so all these photo's are before the waistcoat was actually finished). I think this is him doing up his top button.

The Man decided to do Humourous Poses. (He was about to go on his Works Night Out and was in a good mood – so all these photo’s are before the waistcoat was actually finished). I think this is him doing up his top shirt button.

After that it was Christmas and we were busy and he kept wearing it! It goes really nicely with the shirt my mum gave him for Christmas. Eventually I added buttonholes, but the bottom one messed up badly so I didn’t cut it and he had 4 for a while. Again, I never got chance to sew it as it was being worn!

The bottom two buttonholes, that last one is a bit scruffy. Plus on the left you can see the lining attached to the self drafted facing.

The bottom two buttonholes, that last one is a bit scruffy. Plus on the left you can see the lining attached to the self drafted facing.

Finally, I unpicked the dodgy button hole and re did it. Badly. In the process I found a better colour grey thread I should have used for the others and then a third shade that I thought was the same as the others but is slightly different – I never knew I had so much grey thread! Also, for some unknown reason, I didn’t set the stitch length right, but didn’t work this out until after I’d cut the buttonhole. It was clearly going to unravel if I left it like that, so I hand stitched over my efforts with blanket stitch. It won’t win any prizes but it will hold. I think. Then I just needed to stitch up the lining seam where it was turned (more hand stitching, I must love him), sew the last button on and Finally it was done! Hoorah.

Closing the curtains back view pose

Closing the curtains back view pose

It really obviously looks hand made to me. The collar is the worse bit, but the button holes aren’t great on close inspection and the lining at the back appears to be shorter than the main fabric so it bags out a bit. But I don’t think a non sewer would spot these things and he wears it all the time.

Drinking a dolls cup of tea (note waistcoat matches his shop bought hat).

Drinking a dolls cup of tea (note waistcoat matches his shop bought hat).

I’ve also bought fabric to make a second one as I figured after all that messing around with the pattern it would help me recoup my time outlay. He chose green boiled wool, lining as yet undecided. I’ll see if I can get the collar better next time. Lets hope this one doesn’t take to long as he’s mentioned a black one too!

Lining Joy

Lining Joy. It’s actually a really bright green, not blue at all, honest.

A plethera of last minute christmas makes

Well, after taking some steps in the right direction, namely seriously denting my pile and making something for myself (which I haven’t blogged properly about yet for complicated reasons) have I capitilised on my success? No, of course not. I’ve started new projects.

I have completed one. Another school pinafore. Little girl was sad that the first one was in the wash and she couldn’t wear it and I had enough fabric left so I made another. It looks just like the first, but with slightly different buttons, so I haven’t taken a photo. This time I finished the edges of the ruffles that get gathered as well as the edges that get hemmed, as one of my original ruffles had embarassingly started coming apart at the seam and needed mending. I also made sure they were well attatched to the yoke before adding the yoke facing. So far so good.

Other than not using a different colour thread for the gathers this time (honestly, if you have to use contrast thread to tell it’s there so that you can take it out, why not use the same colour thread and any you can’t spot can safely be left in) the only other thing I did different was to cut the pocket bags in with the front and back. This was simpler to do and quicker to make up but takes more fabric, but I had enough.

pocket bag ear

pocket bag ear

It was hard for me to make the same garment twice in a row in the same fabric. I was itching to change things. I did construct it in a slightly different order, just to keep me sane (nothing major). But it was a lot faster as I knew what I was doing and the pattern pieces were already traced.

Other than that I’m now planning to make my immediate family Christmas presents. I have left oh so much time for this!*

There was a painful family trip to the fabric store on a Saturday to discuss fabric and pattern options with my husband. I have the fabric but the pattern is to collect. I was a good little sewer though and prewashed the main fabric (still have to do the lining) and ironed it. It’s a grey wool tweed…

http://www.quaker

pre ironed shot with random shadows, for interest

Then I bought some very special fabric to make up a slightly different sew chic dress as a party dress, fabric that only a nearly 6 year old girl could love. I’ve cut out the pieces but had to wait for a child free time to start it so it stays a surprise. This evening was my first chance but my husband was using the machine to make a rag coat.

Oh well, I started cutting a shirt for my son instead. I think I’m going to try making the sew chic shirt ‘t’ which has a proper collar but try and mash it up with the long sleeve option of the simplicity pattern that I used to make his pirate t shirt. And if that isn’t complicated enough the fabric is a seersucker check (I was heckled with cries of tablecloth) that requires pattern matching and won’t lie flat due to it’s seersucker nature (no, I have neither pre washed nor ironed it either, I have reverted to type). I have cut out the front, back and yoke and I’m going to construct them before cutting the sleeves.

So I’m itching to get started on one or the other, but then I realised I only have the daytime this week and Thursday evening to make hubbies present while he isn’t around. The pattern is here now so I’ll try and get it tomorrow without accidently buying something else at the fabric shop and then I can do even more cutting out, eurghh.

*please note the sarcasm

Knitting Update

ImageRemember the gorgeous but impossible to work with yarn that I bought? Well, I forgot to say that I knit it up.  Here are my two rectangles before I sewed them up into fingerless mitten / wristwarmer thingies.  The left shows the front of the twisted rib, the right the back where it comes out as plain rib. (Apologise for the fuzzy photo, I’m having hardware issues). I didn’t want to do anything complicated texturewise that would fight with the variagated yarn, but I wanted something a bit more interesting than plain rib.  I like the effect I got, but it’s messy.  My excuse is the number of times I had to tie the  yarn back in because it broke as I was knittng.  I knitted the ends in as I went because I couldn’t face the thought of weaving them all in.

 Well, they’re cosy and stay on and I still love the colours. Need to make the thumb holes a bit smaller though.

Dodgy selfie

Dodgy selfie