Thursday, 27 November 2014

Françoise Mark I

I made something!  Life has been really hectic around here lately and I feel like I haven't finished anything for ages but I managed to squeeze a dress in.  The pattern is the newly released Françoise from Tilly which I bought at soon as it went on sale.  I didn't think I would be making it this side of Christmas but temptation won!

In my head I have the perfect vision of how I want a Françoise to look, and I even have the fabric sitting in my cupboard waiting for something perfect such as this pattern to come along.  However, for my first attempt I wanted to see what the general fit was like, and being very time poor at the moment I didn't want to make a non-wearable muslin.  So I hunted in my stash and found this cheap polyester ponte roma with great big hummingbirds flying around on it.

There are so many issues with this fabric I am not sure where to start.  Firstly, the stretch runs perpendicular to the pattern so this fabric is completely unsuitable for a Lady Skater which is what it was originally bought for.  Secondly it is printed and is white on the inside, but is also quite see-through so will probably need a slip underneath.  Thirdly, I didn't have quite enough to make this dress so there is a pieced triangle on the back bottom hem.

Lastly, and most importantly, because of the size of the print I had to omit the waist darts on the front and back.  So really not much of a good test garment then!  Next time I will make a muslin, and definitely before I cut into the perfect stash fabric!  As usual for Tilly's patterns, this was a delight to sew.  Everything went together extremely well and the instructions were perfect.  I made a size 4 and the only alteration I made (except for omitting most of the darts!) was to lower the bust darts.

What I do like about this version is the fit on most of it, and the pattern matched zip!  I think I could do with taking some width out of the upper back but other than that it looks okay.  For my next version I was intending to try my first FBA but looking at these pictures I am not sure it is needed.  Any thoughts?  Overall I am happy with this dress.  I am wearing it out to dinner tonight so it will get a full outing then.  

My father-in-law was kind enough to take these photos, and most of them are great, but I have no idea what he was hoping to achieve with this one!!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Pyjama Drama

So it turns out that before you start sewing for someone you should measure them first.  Who knew?  Not me apparently!  Despite the fact that the pyjamas that these were made to replace are size 2-3 (hence needing new ones, she turns 5 in three months!!) I still went ahead and made size 5.  In my defence she is nearly 5 and I wanted plenty of room to grow because I hate making pyjamas so I didn't want to have to replace them for a while.  But still, I should have checked the envelope before I cut them out.  Actually before I bought the pattern because I bought the 4-5-6 size range when she actually falls between sizes 2 and 3.  So I ended up making two pyjama tops because the first was unwearably too big.

Luckily I had enough fabric that I could recut the top and make another in size 4 which still swamps her but is a lot better and actually wearable.  The fabric came from Fabrics Galore at the Knitting and Stitching show two years ago.  I actually bought it to make a pair of pyjamas for me but I only ever got round to making the bottoms.  It is the softest, most beautiful brushed cotton in a delightfully twee print!

The pattern I used is Butterick 4647 which says it is fast and easy - and it is.  There is just one pattern piece for the bottoms and 4 for the top so cutting out was really quick.  Which was good because I did it twice! (really not bitter about having to make 2 tops!).  I let the child choose which version she wanted me to make.  Initially she was going for the button up seen on the boy bottom right, but she wanted the elastic sleeves and lots of ric rac, but she then changed her mind and went for the flouncy one!
 She was still insistent on the ric rac so I sandwiched some in on the bodice seam.  I was thinking about putting more round the neck and cuffs but it gets lost on the busy print and I felt the style of top was frilly enough without extra embellishment, although I would normally say you can never have enough ric rac!

There is a button fastening at the back (although at the moment the top is so big it is superfluous!) but being really quite lazy I used a hair elastic as a button loop.  It works and is a really quick solution.  The button is another one from my friend's grandmother's button box and is so pretty I felt it had to be used on here.

The child is really happy with her new pyjamas.  I think they are the girliest thing she has ever owned, and they should last at least until she starts university!  I still hate making pyjamas, life just feels too short to be making something that gets worn in bed, but I am pleased I made them.  Next up I'm making two more pairs of pyjamas for the Child and her Cousin for Christmas, and then I'm never making pyjamas again!!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Girl Friday Cardi

Have you ever planned something and been so excited by it that you actually thought it was already finished?  This is what happened with this cardigan.  For the last few weeks I've been reaching for it only to find it wasn't there because, duh, it wasn't finished yet!

I love knitting but cannot knit in the round.  Well I expect I could if I had to but I really don't want to.  That is what my Mum is for.  So I was on the hunt for a flat knitted cardigan that would be suitable for Cascade 220 wool.  I had bought some of this for my Mum to make my last cardigan and it was so nice I bought some more for me to use.  I chose to go with fairly neutral grey because I was anticipating this getting a lot of wear but then brightened it up with the turquoise accents because I do like a bit of colour.  I think the combination works really well and since finishing this last Sunday I have worn it every day!  The buttons came in a big button box which was a gift from a very lovely friend.  She thinks they were her Great Aunt's and I am truly grateful to her for amassing such a fantastic collection of buttons!!

The pattern is Girl Friday from Knitty, Fall 2009.  It is a really nicely written pattern and very straight forward to knit.  I only really knit on weekend evenings so although I have been working on this since August is doesn't feel like a lot of work.  Two to three evenings a week over 10ish weeks isn't bad for a cardigan, especially when my last piece of knitwear took a year (with other bits in between) and I'm not that happy with it now! I do love this though.

The lace pattern is very easy to remember and get into the rhythm of so halfway up the back I no longer needed to be staring at the chart and from then on this cardigan sped along.  It does help that it is knit on 5mm needles.  I had a few issues with the collar not folding down neatly but I have just realised this is because I knitted it on the wrong size needles (oops!).  I have fixed the problem by tacking down the collar all the way along the back so it stays where it is supposed to.  I like it like this, no rearranging when I put it on or take it off, so it's all good.  

 Now I just need to decide on my next project.  I have narrowed it down to 1 of about 10 from my huge collection of Stitchcraft magazines.  I had wanted to do a christmas jumper but time is decidedly short now so I think it will be a compromise.  I'm hoping to get the wool ordered this weekend so I can make a start on it next week.  Below is the current favourites with the forerunner on the left, decisions decisions!!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A handbaaaaag!

I made a handbag!  I am seriously chuffed with myself, not because it was difficult (it wasn't) but because it is something that I would normally push to the back of the queue for when I have time and then never find the time to make.

This project is the kind that evolves on its own accord and before I knew it I was making a bag without really knowing how I got to that point!  I saw a bag I kind of liked the look of but didn't want to buy, then saw that Stone Fabrics had some really lovely waxed cotton from Barbour at a reasonable price and thought it would be a nice alternative to a leather bag.   I love the used look of this bag already and I know the more it gets used, the better its going to look!

I had already bought some beagle print fabric which I believe is also a Barbour fabric (not entirely sure about that!) which I had found from Crafty Baba's Ebay shop (it seems to be out of stock now but Guthrie-Ghani has some) and thought this would make a great lining.  I then saw that there was a handbag pattern in issue 6 of Love Sewing magazine.  Plans started coming together!

I veered slightly away from the pattern in that I put a zipped pocket in the back of the bag for essentials.  I also used a magnetic closure because that was what I had.  A friend had happened to give me a bag with a broken zip a few weeks ago because she thought it would be useful, and how right she was!  I took all the hard wear for this bag from it and another broken bag I had squirrelled away.  I was surprised at how easy it was to sew through the fake leather buckle strap bit.  I had to unpick all the original stitching as it was cream, but it didn't take long to redo the top stitching then attach the strap to the front flap.

Sewing with the waxed cotton was really interesting and not as hard as I thought it was going to be, in fact it was really quite easy!  I did try ironing it just to see what would happen (the wax melted, obviously!!).  Because it is slightly sticky it did not need pins which was great although I did put a couple in and they didn't mark.  I found the best thing for pressing the seams open was to run a knife along them and I also used the knife to mark the fabric.

The strap is my favourite part of this bag.  I used the sliders I harvested from one of the bags to make it adjustable so I can wear it either as a shoulder bag or a cross body bag which I find is especially useful in the winter when straps slide off bulky coats.  It was so easy to make but so satisfying!!

The construction of this was very straight forward and was a nice, easy bag pattern.  I have made a few bags before but always tote style shopping bags with no closures.  It did take while to make because there are quite a lot of pieces but I took my time and really enjoyed making it.  The husband has just walked in and asked for one for him but "bigger and more like a man bag" so I guess I'm going to be making more bags in the future!  Another thing to add to my Christmas sewing list....