Saturday, 22 July 2017

Nauty Cross Body Bag

A bag with a nautical flavour. This was a free giveaway pattern for a limited time from So Sew Easy that I downloaded after watching the video tutorial that went with it.

It was really easy to make but like most bags the huge amount of time was taken in cutting out the pieces and fusing interfacing. To be honest I left out fusing the lining as my fabric for both the outer and lining were quite stiff and I didn't want to add too much weight.

I bought the nautical fabric from The Fabric Man on one of his Friday visits to Redhill Market at a stupidly cheap price and I'm so delighted with the result.

The idea of making a bag that was meant to be smaller than my previous one was to stop me carrying so much which was making it heavy.

I don't think I have a lot, keys, wallet, glasses and cellphone mainly but it seemed to always fill up [probably overnight while I was asleep!] with things I never remember having added to which, I'm sure most of my female readers, will have also experienced.

However, although this bag looks a lot smaller I've still managed to accommodate everything from the previous one although it does feel lighter to carry - or is that just my imagination?

Well the design is very professional and all the pieces went together as they should and I'm very happy with the result.

I have made a wallet from this blog site before and that was equally well designed so I wasn't surprised at the way this came together so well.

As you can see the closure is a magnetic clasp and the front navy blue pocket is deep enough to keep membership cards and receipts without them falling out.

The back of the bag has a secure zipped pocket and the space behind is also a pocket but with no closure.

Taking a photo of the inside proved a little tricky but I hope you can see the space left even after my keys, tissues, pen and glasses have been stowed away in their appropriate pockets.

The strap is very sturdy and can be unclipped although apart from putting it on another bag I'm not sure why you would want to take it off.

With my success I also made a self drafted Bum Bag.

I've recently joined a group in our local park in Reigate for some fitness classes and I realised that I need somewhere to keep my car keys and a small amount of cash for a coffee in the cafe afterwards. Actually the coffee hasn't happened yet as I'm so exhausted after the hour that it's all I can do to crawl back to my car!! Still it's getting easier so it must be doing some good!!

Anyway, I had an old bum bag that was a horrible faded red which I took apart and traced around to create my pattern. I then stitched my new bag and used the straps from the original. It turned out rather well for a test so as I have some of the nautical fabric left I think I'll make another bum bag to match it.

I have no excuses not to get fit now....

Friday, 14 July 2017

Lining Trousers

I've always wanted to see what a difference lining a pair of trousers would be. I decided with a white / cream crepe that was see through that I didn't have a choice. Time to experiment.

I made the trousers with my SFD Body Blueprint and then cut out the same again in a satin lining fabric leaving out the pockets. Once I'd made up the outer pair I then made up the lining and pinned then both together at the waist. When I attached the waistband through both layers the lining was then attached. It was a lot easier than I had imagined it would be.

But now I needed to test the wearing of them. We have had some really hot days here in the UK and a white suit seemed appropriate for a meeting I wanted to attend. Would the trousers prove to be too hot and sweaty? I was so pleasantly suprised to find I not only looked cool, I felt cool. The satin lining felt super sexy against my skin and the outer fabric couldn't stick to me so it hung well and prevented any show through. A very cool result.

The waiscoat was made from the surplus fabric and apart from tending to feel a little like an Elvis lookalike competition entry, it's not too bad...

The welt pockets I am delighted with as I seem to have conquered that tricky little technique as posted in a previous blog

Certainly the butterfly fabric I used to make the shirt brings it to life. I bought this from the Fabric Man who has a stall on Friday Mornings in Redhill market. He mostly has a huge variety of cottons at very cheap prices but this has a slight stretch which made it perfect for a fitted shirt. I already had the exact colour for the contrast which broke up the garment from being completely overwhelmed by butterflies.

I didn't take a close up photo but I did embroider a butterfly on one of the collar points. This turned out to be a stupid mistake on my part. I found the butterfly and matched the threads to the shirt. I carefully marked the centre on the collar exactly where I planned to have the butterfly at a 45 degree angle, so far so good. I then centred the design exactly over my marked centre point and stitched it out. So what is wrong you ask? Well I hadn't taken enough notice of the fact the design was already at an angle so by marking and placing the design at an angle I have ended up with the butterfly straight on instead of slanted. Only a little thing but it matters to me.

Oh well, back to the drawing board...

I do have a T-shirt and a cross body bag that turned out better than I had hoped so that'll be in my next blog.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A Blouse, A Scarf and a Label

Before we start on my new blouse top, what do you think of my labels? I ordered them from and they were very reasonably priced and super fast at delivery. You tell them how you want them to look from lots of options and I am very happy with mine.

So, the top. The colour makes it look a lot pinkier than it actually is. The light pink is really cream.

The fabric is soft and drapey and I have lined it in a matching sea green polyester at the neck, cuffs and inner yoke. I did this partly to save fabric as I wanted to make a matching scarf and I just about had enough.

The photo below shows the scarf worn with the waistcaot I blogged about last time.

You can also see my new very short haircut which I absoloutely love. I've been wanting to have this shape for years but was reluctant to do so because I wear hearing aids and thought they would show with short hair. I've become less self-conscious and the way my lovely hairdresser has created this style for me it does cover the parts of my ears I'd rather not show.

I wish I'd had it like this for our trip to Australia as it would have been a lot easier to deal with...

The top was originally made to wear under a cream trouser suit I am just finishing and I'll show you that in my next blog. The colours of this multi toned fabric go well with either and I also have a turquoise pair of jeans that will tone with it well too.

I have been trying to make more co-ordinated pieces to produce a capsule wardrobe of sorts and feel I'm on the way there with this piece.

I apologise that the photos and blog this time has not been edited as well as normal but my computer is in hospital and my tablet is not as easy to use. Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Lined Waistcoats

Good Morning to all my faithful readers. I'm back from our 12 week travels in Australia, recovered from jet lag and back in my sewing room that I SSOOOoooooo missed while we were away. My sewing room was the first place I made for when we got home, even before putting the kettle on!! It was great to put a weekly update of our journey but now I'm back to blogging about sewing.

My first make was really a continuation of where I was before we set off. That is my new direction into a more tailored look, jackets with linings and to add to this a more everyday garment that suits our on off summer weather - a Waistcoat.
It took a lot of research to find the look I was after, I wanted it fairly fitted but longish. I didn't want a bolero style or collared masculine look. Neither did I want a straight long boxy shape. After finding an old Burda Style design in the very first copy of this magazine that I bought back in December 2012 which I modified with my SFD Body Blueprint, I had the idea on paper.

First I made a muslin from an old sheet to check the fit. This turned out pretty well so I went ahead and cut out the pattern in some blue fabric I had left over from a recent pair of trousers and added the lining from my stash.

I had all sorts of issues with this version. First of all I made the mistake of sewing the shoulders and the side seams of both the fabric and the lining. Big Mistake!! The easiest way to make a lined waistcoat is to sew ONLY the shoulder seams of both lining and outer after all darts etc have been sewn. Then after pulling the garment through the shoulder seams to the right side it's now easy to sew the side seams from the outer fabric right up and on through the lining seam, leaving a gap in one lining side to turn the garment back to the inside to sew the hem.


The end result was a wearable muslin but somewhere along the way the fit was no longer as perfect as the original muslin. I can wear it as a loose garment but no way could I button it up. I also felt it would have benefited from some welt pockets.

So with some stretch denim left over from my Valentine Jeans, I set about making a much improved version. I am so delighted that at last I have not only learned how to do welt pockets but they no longer scare me. I have used a method I found in a Palmer/Pletsch 'no fail' jacket pattern and it works so well for me every time.

I also tweaked the fit and now I can add buttons that do up comfortably but the waistcoat also feels fine unbuttoned.

Monday, 13 February 2017

My Valentine Jeans

Why Valentine? Well this is February and they have a red rose on the back pockets...

 So first off my back side to view the embroidery in all its glory..
There isn't much to say about these jeans except they are so comfortable to wear. The fabric was purchased  during a visit to Goldhawk Road. I found it at the very back in the cellar of a shop which seemed to go down into the bowels of the earth but brought forth this fabulous medium weight stretch denim in a deep purple colour which has come out well in the photos.

Here is a short video [with no sound] to show them in action.


I used my usual SFD jeans sloper that I have made many times before and that I know fits well so made in a very quick time.

It did throw up a bit of a question though. When I made my husband's jeans he asked me to copy his favourite Levi's. Now I've always made mine by sewing the outside seams and top stitching before sewing the inside seams but I noticed on his it is the inside seam that has the double top stitching. So which is correct and why?

I personally like the fact that the side seams that go up to the waistband add extra strength to the seams that may have to take stress whereas the inside leg seams don't take as much! I also like the top stitching to show but then I'm probably a bit of a show-off - don't answer that!


My next blog will be about my new fleece and I have a video to upload for that too.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Three tops to reveal

Today I have three tops I've finished in recent weeks but hadn't got round to photographing.

The first is a pale blue slinky feel stretch fabric that was made totally on my serger so very quick and easy. I just wanted to make a top that would work under the Navy Blue Suit I made and this fits the bill. 

On its own I don't think it's quite right as the very pale colour does nothing for me, I much prefer bolder colours or prints but the black beaded necklace helps.

Next up is this lovely strtiped polo necked top. This fabric had been in my stash for some time but had always frustrated me because it was so off grain. This was such a disappointment because it felt like really good quality stretch fabric.

I decided I'd just line up the pattern to the stripes and see what happened. Again this was quick and easy made entirely on my serger except for the hem which was zig-zagged. I told myself that if it didn't work I'd lost nothing as it would have just stayed in my stash otherwise.
Actually I'm really happy with it and it has washed well with no outward signs of it being off grain so fingers crossed it stays that way. 

I feel the unusual way I laid out the fabric with the sleeves lines going down and the body across makes this a very different design and this will definitely be in the luggage for Australia.

Lastly for this blog is slightly weird. 

The fabric reminds me of the experiments we did in school with oil paints floating on water and making paper that looked like this by dragging it across the surface. I can't remember what this technique is called but it was fun to do.

Another stretch jersey with a high neck but this one has a small zip opening at the back neck to ensure the collar is snug.

Again this top was made specifically to add interest to the Navy Blue Suit mentioned earlier but it turned out differently to the one I had planned.

This has a raglan design so the gathers at the neck edge show the design feature but the collar didn't turn out to look as good as I'd hoped. I should have taken more notice of the pattern of the fabric for the piece I was cutting out. The pattern of the fabric was so random I didn't give it much thought but seeing the photos I think the dominance of black in the particular piece makes it look a bit odd to me. I think I could have chosen better.

The fabric itself was purchased during a visit to my friend in Portugal last year while we were out shopping in Portimao. In fact she picked it out so I think of her every time I wear it.

The sleeves were supposed to have been gathered into a cuff but I tried it on for length before adding them and decided I quite liked the bell shape as they were, so left them.

Coming soon...
I have some super new Valentine jeans for me and a new fleece with some embroidery to show you.

Just over 5 weeks to go now and the Australia Adventure begins.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Mens Designer Jeans

I've made a few pairs of jeans for me but this was my first attempt at making a pair of denim jeans for my husband.

The good news is he agreed to model them for my blog so you get to see him wearing them.

He is over 6ft tall and finds buying the leg length he needs quite difficult unless you want to spend a fortune [which he doesn't].

I had this heavy weight denim in  my stash and I can't remember where I bought it exactly as it's been there for quite a while.

He's quite a plain dresser and didn't want anything fancy on the back pockets so I just copied the design from a pair he already owns.

I'm quite surprised he opted for the gold top stitching but I'm pleased the way it looks as a finished garment. I actually used the ordinary thread double through the needle while the bobbin was just single. This is a super easy trick if you don't have top stitching thread in the right colour.

I did however have enormous battles with my sewing machines especially getting the several layers of fabric to stitch properly over the belt loops on the waistband. The thread kept breaking or the stitching just went completely loopy and I must admit to the occasional bad language to vent my frustration but as I was alone in my sewing room, no-one heard me.

I changed the needle [a jeans needle] three times, re-threaded about 50 times and even tried using my older workhorse machine but nothing worked for long. Having watched the machine very closely and going as slowly as possible the thread always seemed to break at the needle yet there wasn't any undue tension or bumps on the thread and I tried different threads to see if that was the issue but it didn't seem to be.

Eventually I changed the needle for a used Stretch that was supplied with my machine and at last it behaved properly. I also found a trick to get over the really thick places by using the spacer that came with my Husqvarna Viking Ruby to jump the foot smoothly over the fattest bits. What I discovered was that the cheap jeans needles that I got from Lidl's recently were the problem They just didn't fit perfectly. Lesson learned.

These jeans were drafted using my SFD Pants Pattern but with the modifications in the special leaflet from Glenda. This worked well and I did make a muslin first to check.

I used pieces of fabric I recycled from one of his Dad's shirts for the pocket bags to remind him of his father.

Would I make another pair? I feel a bit exhausted right now and can't wait to get back to some selfish sewing with easier fabrics to work with but after a while if this pair proves comfortable and he asks me nicely, I might.

I've actually booked a service for both my sewing machines next week as I think they deserve a bit of TLC don't you?

Next time are some T-shirts I made but haven't got to blog about yet and a fleece for my holiday next month. [It's super lightweight so will not take up much of our luggage allowance.]