Sunday, 14 December 2014

Georgeous Green Blouse

I was so fortunate to be given a fantastic piece of fabric by a friend of mine and I couldn't wait to turn it into a soft drapey blouse that I could wear during the festive season. I am so pleased with the result and the colour is just stunning.

I could wear the neck tie as a belt threaded through the trouser loops for a different look. Sorry I didn't take many photos as the heating isn't on out on the landing and it was too cold to hang about. We're off out to lunch soon so it wasn't worth heating the whole house this morning....
 I also managed to cut my head off [probably no bad thing!!] but I wanted to show you the blouse, not me anyway.
This was a Burda mix of two different patterns. For the main body I used 11/2013 #103 but I used the neckband from 12/2014 #114 although it gave me great grief because my fabric wasn't stretch as the pattern suggested so I cut it on the bias but I still had trouble putting in the zip at the back. The ruching was too thick once it was reduced in width and didn't really work well with the design. I would probably have done better to choose a cowl neck pattern but heyho! next time...

The colour goes beautifully with the grape wine trousers as you see and at last I'm managing to get clothes that can be partnered with several items to make my wardrobe more flexible. I do thing I have been in danger of making different items with no real thought as to combinations to wear so that I have more choice for outfits that work.

Have you ever made an item that didn't really go with anything else? 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Pink Brocade Jeans

On the crazy Craftsy Black Friday sale of classes I decided to buy myself Angela Wolf's Designer Jeans. It's really great and she is an excellent tutor. I got inspired but didn't have any denim to hand so used some fabric from my stash that is probably meant for curtains!!

Anyway, it would either be a wearable muslin or just a learning curve but here is where I'm at so far.
The rear view with ric-rac design on pockets
Actually the top stitching is a light blue, the same colour as the ric-rac but it hasn't come out like that in the photo!!
This shows the right side pocket with smaller coin pocket detail at the front

Both front pieces showing ric-rac details before the fly zip has been sewn
I will post more photos as I progress with the project. I have done flat felled seams everywhere so far as the fabric frays a lot as you can see in the photos.The pockets are lined in a plain blue cotton. All the fabric is woven and NON-stretch so I'll be glad when I've done the first fitting!!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

One plus two equals three

I have been busy sewing and trying hard not to fret about my Samsung Tablet. After a software upgrade it wouldn't connect to the Wi-Fi so I couldn't blog - Catastrophe!!

It was sent to tablet hospital for repair and released back into my care yesterday - Joy!!

Euphoria didn't last long - the problem is back again - black mood again!!

Before it gets re-admitted I managed to take some photos and sync them to my PC so I can at least show you what I've been up to.

After the success of the navy trouser fit, I was spurred into using a strange green fabric I had to make a second pair. I decided to try a bit of design by using a scrap of dark teal to make them look distinctive. I also used a couple of self covered buttons [my first attempt] to help the concept along.

Side view shows pocket and tab detail.
And the rear view which unfortunately shows the line of my 'tucked in' top but you can see I left the back plain.
 The second pair are made of an aubergine stretch fabric I purchased at the knitting and Stitching Show recently. It was lovely to work with and my best pair yet.
Like all patterns when you make them the first time there are things you tell yourself you will do differently or modify slightly 'next time', well the result is three pairs of trousers in one month.
 Here is the inside showing the zip fly and finished waistband. I tried a new technique [for me anyway] to edge the band with bias binding and stitch in the ditch from the right side. This reduces the bulk considerably and I like the fun colour of the binding which only I will know is there when I put them on.

I lined the pockets with some luxurious lilac silky lining fabric which makes them feel very expensive when you put your hand in.
Now on to my next project. I have been very fortunate to be given some John Lewis Crepe in a bright green. This fabric has great draping qualities so I am going to make a blouse to go with the aubergine trousers. I will blog about it when I've finished but here is a photo of the fabric although the camera doesn't do justice to the true colour.
Do you ever make up a pattern many times to make improvements?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Eyelet or Grommet Curtains

If you're in the UK these would be called Eyelet Curtains but in the US they're called Grommets but whatever you call them this was my very first attempt at making them.

I did have help in the form of the latest Craftsy Class from Susan Woodcock who made the whole thing seem a lot easier than it was. That said it wasn't exactly difficult just hard to manage the volume and getting everything really straight and accurate measurements.

Our newly decorated dining room needed curtains to close over the big sliding doors that lead out into the conservatory. I measured the space and worked out that I needed 7½ metres of fabric so I called in to our local curtain fabric shop and chose a modest but pleasing pattern from the many books available. On enquiring the price I was told £70 per metre [!!] so the length I required would cost £525.00 before any lining, fittings or fixtures. This was way more than I wanted to spend so I came back to my computer and looked on line and especially one of my favourite eBay shops. Here I found what looked like the perfect fabric for the room but the length offered wouldn't be enough. I sent an email to Susie and Yvonne from Susiechatts and they came back at once to confirm they could supply 7½ metres and gave me the link so I could purchase it right away. The cost was just £22.50 and the material is fabulous. It's called Hawarth by Textra and is a heavyweight cotton and is made in England..

Next I bought the lining and also sent for Eyelets on a roll from Tasseltrove on eBay and set about following the instructions from the Crafty Class. The total cost including the class came to less than £90.00, a massive saving on what I could have spent and I'm extremely happy with the result. Plus I've learned a new skill which can't be bad.

 Here is the tape pinned to the top of the curtains ready to be stitched in place. Once the tape is stitched to the top I marked the inside of the holes with a pencil and then cut them out before snapping on the outside rings. There are spacers between every other pair of holes that you clip together so the curtain folds hang in the right place. You have to have an even number of rings per curtain and make sure the ends have the right amount of gap to ensure the curtain's end sits against the wall when they're pulled open.

This brief video shows the construction of the eyelet.
And here are the final curtains in place.

Thanks for watching, I hope you found it interesting, please leave a comment if you did.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Top to go with the navy trousers

Having made a comfortable pair of navy trousers I realised I had nothing that really went with them in my wardrobe. So searching in my stash I found some fabric that had a lovely drape and a navy background to the flowery pattern. I normally don't go for flowers but the colours in this were very pretty so I made a simple Burda top with a mandarin collar and narrow ribbon ties that I'd made successfully before.

Believe it or not the hardest part to make was attaching the heart shaped buttons at the ends of the tie. I put two back-to-back and sewed through both together until I was ready to finish when I realised I couldn't get the needle and thread between the two buttons. I ended up struggling with two crochet hooks until I managed to pull the thread between them to tie off. They do however match the buttons on the cuffs although they don't show in the photo.
I like full sleeves but I think these might have been better a little shorter. It's amazing what the camera sees that I wished I'd noticed while I was making it.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Navy Trousers - the best fit ever

I've just finished the best fitting trousers I've ever made [or worn!!].

I owe it all to three things

1. Sure-fit Designs pants sloper made to my measurements
2. Making several pairs already where I've noted different issues that need to change plus I made a muslin.
3. Hints and tips from 'Pants for Real People' by Patti Palmer and Marta Alto. This book was great and could possibly have made some of my previous pairs less issue ridden. I especially liked fitting the trousers [pants] before attaching the waistband then marking the seam lines on both as well as the desired actual waistline. This certainly put the waistband in the correct place at last!!!

Here are the photos during construction.
 The fronts with fly zip and side slant pockets completed.
 The fly zip inside.
 My home made fly zip template for marking the front stitching line. I use a sliver of soap to mark it which is easy dissolved after stitching.
 Inside the fronts. I used lining fabric for the pocket lining and the main fabric for the pocket bag was extended to the fly seams to add a bit of secret tummy tuck support!!
 These photos show the nearly finished trousers although there are still pins in the hem and front fastening as I needed to see where to put the hem for wearing small heels.
 I love the side slant pockets, they seem to flatter the shape.
 Side seams are straight and bum doesn't look too big!!
 I made these a bootleg shape but I think I could have been braver and made them a little tighter at the knee before the flare.

The rear view - what can I say? The trousers are now hemmed using a blind stitch hem which I love doing on my machine as it doesn't show at all if you use the correct thread shade.and the hooks and fastenings are in the right place. These are really comfortable to wear and I shall now be making more.

Have you struggled to get the right fit for trousers?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Burda shirt second try

Today I want to show you my latest attempt at perfecting the Burda Shirt I first made in a deep pink some time ago. Whilst the pink shirt looked OK it didn't feel quite right. The shoulders didn't sit on my shoulder line properly and the back needed a bit of ease to allow me to stretch forward without it pulling tight so....
Here is the shirt with a re-worked shoulder seam, rolling it to the front more on the sleeve edge and adjusting the back seams to match. I've also added ease across the back yoke although I didn't take a picture of this during construction.
This picture shows the second sleeve, collar and upper collar ready for fitting and the sleeve cuff which has been interfaced and pressed.

I didn't have enough of either fabric to complete the garment in one type but by creating a jigsaw of the pieces I think it's come together quite well. I think it might have been better if I'd had enough of the sleeve fabric to also do the front yoke attachments instead of using the opposite grain line but hindsight is a wonderful thing!
 And so to the finished shirt - front view and ...
... back view. Overall I am very happy with how this shirt feels and the modification has worked well.

The saying that 'practice makes perfect' is so true in sewing as each time it gets a bit better and a bit easier. I really feel that I am making progress - here's hoping it continues.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Two tops with Simplicity 6367

I was given some old patterns recently and one in particular caught my eye.
Now being a mature lady I do not think it's wise to show too much of the top of my arms so view 4 in the bottom left corner with the neat short sleeves was my choice but I liked the mandarin collar in the main picture, View 1.

So I got out some pretty green fabric from my stash and laid out the pattern pieces for view 4 but added the collar from view 1. I then cut out the collar again in fusible interface and ironed it on to one side then completed the collar ready to put on the body of the garment.

However, when checking the fit on the neckline - it didn't fit!!!! The pattern it seems did not allow the mandarin collar on view 4.

Here is a picture of the instruction sheet which shows the views diagrammatically and the back views but would you be able to tell that the necklines were different from this?
So I had to make the neckline as View 4 instructed and to be honest I was very happy with the result.

But I really wanted the mandarin collar so I found some more fabric in my stash and set about making version two. This time I re-drafted the neckline from view one onto the body of view 4 so the collar would fit. I also decided to cut out a lining for the yoke and enclosed the front and back seams as the yoke fabric was very light and needed some extra body. I also decided to make a feature of the placket and made it out of the yoke fabric, interfaced it and sewed it so that it turned out to the front.

 This is to show the inside lining of the yoke.

The lighting wasn't brilliant to take these photos but you can see the top either tucked in or left out as a tunic top.

This was an easy pattern and simple to adapt to my exact requirements. Now you may be wondering why I'm making short sleeved tops when Autumn is here and winter on its way? Well I'm trying to build a wardrobe for my holiday next year in Spain from January to March but in Aguilas we should get some warm days - well I shall be ready for the sun....

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Carpenter's Trousers

Well they're not really Carpenter's Trousers but they were made from the same fabric as the Carpenter's Jacket as shown in my last blog.

I hadn't set out to make a suit as such it was just a way of using up the leftover fabric.
 I can see that the rear view shows some spare fabric in the small of my back that I need to sort out in the next pair I make.

 I used the pink to make the pocket facing and edged the pockets with a double thread through the needle and chose a fancy stitch from my Janome's built in options to make a top stitch feature using the pink. I also used this on the belt carriers.
 Overall I'm pleased with the shape and they're super comfy to wear. I don't think I'll be wearing them together as a suit much though!!

 Showing the jacket lining.
My next project is a shirt for 'he who thinks he should be obeyed!!!'

By the way the electric bike is great fun. We spent a couple of days in Gosport, Stokes Bay to be exact where there are lots of traffic free cycle paths. I needed to get a bit of confidence with the bike and this was just perfect. It was also my birthday so we went to a local hotel for a meal.