Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ultimate Trousers!

I decided back in the summer that one of the things I want to make this year is jeans or trousers.  I prefer to wear skirts as a rule but I have two pairs of jeans which I wear to work when it's really cold as I walk to work and work in a freezing warehouse!  My issue with jeans is that I haven't found a style yet that I don't need to keep hitching up or that is the right length.  So it would make sense to make a pair but I couldn't find the perfect pattern (I see that the perfect pattern has just been released!) and I am a lot daunted with the though of making jeans.  Just so much stitching and pockets and zips!  However, I have really been loving seeing lots of Ultimate Trousers from Sew Over It popping up around the blogosphere so I thought I would dip my toe in the trouser sewing waters with these.

I actually made a muslin to check the fit on these trousers which I rarely do.  The fit was fine, although possibly a bit tight around the derriere (!) so while I was intending my first pair of Ultimate Trousers to be denim I changed tack and used a stretch fabric instead.  When I make a non-stretch pair of these I think it will be enough to just narrow the seam allowances slightly around the hip area.

I also added a waistband as I wanted the trousers to come up over my hips for a bit of extra coverage!  I had read Kathryn's post (Yes I like that) on how she did this but laziness overcame me and I fudged it by using the facing pieces but turning them upside down so the narrow bit was at the top.  It does work,which is the main thing, but there was probably a better way of doing this.

For the inner waistband I decided to use my favourite ever fabric which is Tom's Jets from Liberty because the yellow aeroplanes match the fabric perfectly.  I keep hunting for more of this but haven't had any luck.  As usual, because I was using a really special piece of fabric I messed up the cutting out and managed to get my planes flying upside down!  I know no-one else is going to be looking at the inside of my trousers but I was very irritated with myself when I realised!

The fabric I used is a stretch twill type from Croft Mill.  It is described as lycra chino trousering and while I don't have a whole lot of experience with chino it is thicker than I would have thought, which is perfect for these trousers.  The surface is also slightly brushed so they are incredibly soft.  It was a delight to sew with and has a good amount of stretch, without being too much.  Just perfect really.  If I didn't already have a mustard skirt I would buy some more to make one with.  In fact I might still do that!!

These trousers are so seriously comfortable.  I finished them on Saturday and then spent all day Sunday and Monday wearing them, including visiting Legoland.  I really love them.  I will definitely be making more of these in the future.  Next up on my sewing list though is some finishing off (mainly my ongoing quilt) before getting started on Christmas makes for my daughter and niece.  It feels too early to be worrying about Christmas but if I don't start soon I will run out of time.  I am going to get all the present sewing done first so I can reward myself with a new dress if I have enough time.  I will leave you with an outtake from the photo session displaying my "just hurry up and take the bloody photo" face:

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sewing Costumes

It is the time of year when a lot of people start to think about making costumes and I have made a few during the last few years so  thought I would share some of them.  Normally I am not inclined to make a costume just for one night of the year so the costumes I have made have been at the request of the child (more on them later).  However, a very dear friend's baby was born on 31st October last year and the only thing he could possibly wear on his birthday is a pumpkin suit and not knowing what else to get for his birthday I offered to make one for him.

I started with Butterick B5585 which calls for fabrics with minimal stretch and a woven bias binding trim.  It also includes a 1.5cm seam allowance which confused me a bit when coming to the neck.  I used a fantastic bright orange velour from Plush Addict with green ribbing for the cuffs, neckline and placket.

For the neckline I cut a length of the ribbing just slightly shorter than the neck and attached it as on the Renfrew or Skater pattern, stretching slightly as I overlocked.  It took me three attempts to get the right height as it was at this point I forgot to take the 1.5cm seam allowances into account!  I also attached the cuffs and leg cuffs the same way although originally I had hoped to make a footed version.  I would like to use this pattern again as I can see it being very versatile but not having a child the right age to try it on as I was sewing meant I was sewing blind a lot of the time. However, I am very pleased with the outfit and took it with me yesterday when I went to see him and was very relieved that it fits!

A few weeks ago the Child's school had a Roald Dahl dress up day and as soon as she came home with the letter I knew exactly what I wanted to make for her.  I had bought some interlock (also from Plush Addict) to make a maxi skirt back in April but this just did not work as it was too heavy.  It is beautiful material though but it was just the wrong fabric for the use.  It was also a perfect colour for a Violet Beauregard costume!

I started with the KitschyCoo Skater Dress pattern and lengthened the bodice bringing it out in an a-line shape.  I appliqued the collar, belt and buckle and used the same fabric as the collar for the cuffs. I finished the top using some gold buttons which I found in my parents' old button box.  The leggings I made using the Go To Patterns Leggings pattern.  I had almost run out of fabric by this point and had to piece together the leg fronts.  However, I then had a moment of madness and made two matching legs so now the leggings have a front and a back on one side, and a front and back on the other!  Thankfully jersey is a forgiving fabric!!

I have previously used the Skater Dress pattern to make the Child a Kwazii from the Octonauts outfit.  The Child is obsessed with the Octonauts, less so now than a year ago but it is really all she wants to watch and play so when she asked for a Kwazii costume I had to oblige!

The top was made lengthening the bodice again but this time I attached a band at the bottom to bring it in a bit.  The trousers were self-drafted from a pair of her existing trousers and I attached the tail into the back seam.  I wasn't sure if this would be secure enough but it has lasted over a year with various trips through the washing machine.

I also made an Octonauts themed dress for the Child's birthday in February.  No prizes for guessing the pattern!!  The fabric came from KitschyCoo too and is an organic sweatshirting.  I used some iron on flocking for the logo on the front and appliquéd jersey for the collar.  This has been worn so much and the sweatshirting makes it extra snuggly in the winter.

 Well, that was longer than I expected!  I have made other dressing up items but I think that is plenty to be going on with.  The good thing about sewing play clothes from jersey is that they can be worn and washed like normal clothes.  We have been given dressing up items in the past and they are flimsy and thin, can't be worn out in all weathers and don't wash well and as a result don't last.  The Child has just watched Brave and has now requested a Merida costume.  I know exactly which pattern I will be turning to as a starting point - it's so versatile!!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Delphine Skirt

So I am working my way through Tilly and the Buttons' Love at First Stitch.  Not intentionally but I have so far made the Clémence Skirt and Mimi Blouse, then I remade the Clémence Skirt into the Megan Dress and now I have made the Delphine Skirt to add to my collection!  I should have sewn the entire book by Christmas (joking.  Sort of.).

The skirt is a lovely, a-line shape with a waistband and invisible zip at the back.  Although, as I was so desperate to finish the skirt and just use what I had in, my invisible zip is a bit more visible than planned but I kind of like the contrast (sorry, the only picture I have of it is pretty bad).

I decided to line the skirt so it won't stick to my tights in the winter and used something that looks like crepe back satin that has been sitting in my sewing room for forever.  I don't even remember buying it but it does the job remarkably well!  I also added pockets to the front piece because pockets are always useful (mine have been full of conkers recently from the walk home from school, I find them everywhere!).

The fabric for this skirt came from Amanda as part of Marilla's hand printed fabric swap which was so much fun to take part in, even though I do feel Amanda drew the short straw with my child like printed fish!  I love the colour of this fabric although I do not, at present, have a lot that coordinates with it.  I do have a couple of projects in mind though which will rectify that (already planned before the fabric arrived!).  It's like Amanda read my sewing/knitting plans for the next few months.

The skirt came together really easily and quickly.  I made a straight size 4 and it fits perfectly, which is lucky because I didn't bother making a trial version.  I love the length of it and having initially thought this wasn't really my sort of skirt I can see myself making another couple this winter.  I would like a denim one with big patch pockets on and a corduroy version.

The London photos in this post were taken by my lovely cousin and her boyfriend when we went to see their new flat last weekend.  We had such a good time, and ended it with a visit to the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey. The Chanel to Westwood knitwear exhibition was really fascinating but unfortunately no photos were allowed.  There were some really lovely 50's style cocktail jumpers and the most amazing Fairisle I have ever seen.   I would definitely love to go back for another visit before it ends in January.

I'll leave you with some outtakes from when I asked the Husband to take some photos.  I think I'm best finding someone else in future!!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Marilla Walker's Maya Pattern!!

In the summer Marilla very kindly asked if I would test her brand new pattern (the Maya Dress) and I jumped at the chance!  The only issue was I was just about to go and spend a week with my parents in Switzerland so I made sure my Mum's sewing machine was all ready to go, packed a suitcase full of fabric and the pattern and off I went.  (I apologise for the terrible photos - they were the best of a bad lot and all taken on my phone!)

I decided to make the top length as that is what fitted on the fabric I took with me but I would have liked to make the dress length, which I will do one day very soon, possibly in denim or maybe corduroy.   The fabric I used is a shirting type chambray which I bought a lot of a few years ago.  I have used it on so many projects, mostly for the child, and this was the very last bits of it.  I had some yellow buttons which I wanted to use on it and I used yellow thread to stitch the pocket on, which I am rather proud of!

The construction of the top is very, very pleasing.  The sides are french seamed and the facings are all top stitched down which makes for a very neat finish.  I really dislike facings so I was especially happy with this!

The pattern itself comes with three different length options, a buttoned option or plain front and curved hem or straight so it is a really versatile pattern.  Marilla has made about 10 different versions herself and she has set up a Pinterest board for inspiration.

I am very excited by Marilla's foray into pattern production, and hope there are many more to come.  Good luck!!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Serendipitous Jenna!!

A little while ago Rachel of House of Pinheiro hosted a giveaway on her Instagram for a copy of the new Jenna Cardi by Muse Patterns and amazingly I won it!  Pretty awesome coincidence going on there!  I think I would have bought this pattern in any event because it is so versatile (and the name, obvs!).  There are two length variations (waist and hip length), two front variations (a gathered yoke or one piece) and three sleeve lengths (short, three quarter and long).  For my version I went with the hip length, gathered yokes and long sleeves.  

The sizing on the pattern works on the same principal as on vintage patterns. i.e. you pick your size based on your bust measurement.  I went with the 36" as this is what I always like to believe (although I have measured myself again recently and think I may need to adjust my thinking!).  Having said that though, this has come out quite roomy all round but this may be due to my inexperience with my overlocker not getting my seam allowances quite right.  I think I need to sit down with a ruler and some marker pens and work out exactly where I need to sew.  Not that I mind roomy in a cardigan, that is so much better than the alternative!

The fabric for this was bought a while ago with the intention of making a sweater type top of some sort but after washing this I realised that it is too floppy, while still being quite thick.  Also the ribbing, although a fantastic colour, is not as sturdy as I had hoped for.  Both fabrics are almost too stretchy with not great recovery but were fine for this wearable muslin.  What I would really like to find for my next Jenna Cardi (because there will be many, many more!) is some really lovely, sturdy and thick jersey in anything but black or brown.  Anyway, the fabric does work for this cardigan which is the main thing, and I love the colours!

I constructed the whole of the cardigan on my overlocker then topstitched on my normal machine.  The topstitching is one of the things that makes the Jenna Cardi look so good (in my opinion!).  I made it in two evenings and really took my time with it, but the construction is actually very straight forward.   I love the little gathered yoke and never having gathered jersey before I was worried about how this would turn out but I needn't have!  

Thank you very much to Rachel for hosting the giveaway and to Muse Patterns.  I love my new Cardi and can't wait to make another couple to see me though the autumn/winter.