Relaxing, and getting things done, is soooo good!

Yes, it’s official – I’m retired  so don’t ask me to do a darned thing!

Actually not quite true yet as I still have a very small amount of client work outstanding – but it’s all work that has no deadline so I can actually do it when I feel like that sort of work rather than feeling obligated. How happy am I! I promise this is the last time I gloat ‘coz  I’m retired . Honest.

Anyway, my last post was a frantic dash to get the Jungle January garments posted before Ann slammed the gate closed so I didn’t tell what else I had been doing so I will start here..

In with my lovely knitting ‘Stitching Santa’ parcel from Jo  was a skein of sock yarn in lovely greens. Clearly since it was my gift I had to knit this for myself. Since I had no other knitting on the needles I decided to start January with this. The yarn was a lovely Superwash wool/nylon sock yarn by Knitglobal which knitted up beautifully into very comfy socks. Thankfully they are also very warm because it has been positively bleak here in the UK. Grey and wet. Yuck! There are another couple of balls of Drops sock yarn so I can start another pair whenever I want. Bliss!

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..and back

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Butterick 6388 front…

I started sewing with the Butterick 6388 pattern and a cheerful red polka dot jersey because …well, it’s miserable in January! Red always cheers me up. However, I really have to say I prefer this as a top (as it was for JJ in the last post). It’s a great pattern – and I certainly see more of these in the (possibly near) future – but I like the top better. The pockets in the diagonal seams are great but inclined to open up a bit when you are wearing the dress. I may go back and sew these closed. The fabric is far from high quality – probably plain polyester jersey from the Rag Market but I have no recollection as it had been in stash for ages. It does have as much stretch as the pattern claims to need but I would much prefer it to be stretchier as it clings a bit. It may behave better once it has been washed but at the moment it is giving electric shocks as there is so much static!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy next choice was another Rag Market fabric – this was an astonishingly good buy at a mere 50p per yard (or whatever length they were selling in that day) and is a very heavy jersey. I should probably have thought more carefully about that weight when I decided to repeat the wonderful Savage Coco Presto top in it. The front (and as it’s cold I did the back too) is doubled so there is a lot of cloth here. I  really should have put a petticoat under that dress before taking photographs – I don’t usually have a sway back problem so I assume the cloth is just stuck to my tights. I really loved this made up as a top and have worn the ones I made last year Yikes!!! it was 2015 a massive amount. They have every right to be looking a bit shabby now. I’m not sure if I will keep this as a dress or shorten it to a t-shirt length. I’m really not good at wearing dresses but I’m trying so hard. Perhaps you could tell me what you think?

In addition to sewing these for me I have been destroying a whole load of good cotton. I really can’t believe how long it is taking to cut the pieces for The Managements quilt! Sheesh! All that time and I’m going to be spending even more sewing it all back together. Remind me whats great about quilting can you?! I can assure you that progress on this project is going to be outstandingly slow. No, even slower than that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaving finished the socks I was knitting I have broken out of my sock addiction to start knitting a pattern by Purl Soho I saw a while back and just loved. At the time there didn’t seem to be many made up (and when I worked out the cost of the yarn recommended I could see why!). The Botanical Yoke pullover is shown made up in Cashmere/Merino which would quite clearly be heavenly to wear. As I hadn’t used a Purl Soho pattern (and as I said there was no information on Ravelry about the pattern at the time) I decided to make it up in a more summer appropriate, and purse friendly, Drops Cotton Light. Again I chose a bright red (what can I say, red just feels good in January) and have been enjoying knitting this whilst watching the telly box. I have the body knitted up to the armholes, and one sleeve started, so it shouldn’t be too long before I hit the exciting part. By knitting in this yarn first it will give me the opportunity to test the pattern, check the size (my guage is pretty much perfect), and decide if I love it enough to invest in the cashmere/merino to make a sweater to treasure. So far it’s looking good.

Already we are almost half way through February so there won’t be massive amounts sewn for me now (although there are patterns lined up ready to use). I do have a shirt cut out for The Management, and I really do want to start my coat before summer so I really should crack on. But, and it’s a big but, I am only sewing when I feel like it at the moment – and that feels really good. I have been reading, cooking, exercising, and clearing some of those jobs you always intend to go but tend to get left.

I’m enjoying life. Hope you are too.


Minor progress

I would love to tell you all that I had made seven shirts, multiple pairs of trousers, and three coats since I last reported but it would be a lie. I’m slowing down into autumn and enjoying every minute (apart from those spent sweeping up the leaves in my garden. Grrr) but that isn’t helping with progress. I have been working – but not too much for me – so read on McDuff.

Nell Leftovers

Nell Leftovers

My last post was almost three weeks ago, and I finished by saying I hoped to make quick progress with Nell. Erm…… no. I have cut the main fabric out and overlocked the edges to ensure that when I do eventually get round to any sewing I should still have seam allowances available to work with. As I said previously there was really not enough fabric in this piece to make Nell but I was determined to get it from this fabric. The pieces leftover are really small – no space for any mistakes here. I think that may have made me back off for a little while, but truthfully I can’t explain why I’m not further on. I have

decided that I would like this cape lined rather than just binding all the seams and have even managed to find a fabric from my seemingly bottomless stash that will do the job. I’m still pithering about a binding for the outsides. I have a fabric that wont fray so I may go with strips from that if I can’t find anything I like better.

Style Arc Toni

Style Arc Toni

I did cut out the Toni at the same time and decided to sew that together quickly (there really isn’t much to this project). I’m not entirely certain that I like my dress, although that may be down to my not wearing dresses very often rather than the style itself. I love Toni on other people so I suspect that my uncertainty is down to just not wearing dresses often enough. Perhaps I need to change that. Photographs at a later date with me wearing it but at the minute I am post insomia night and look like death so no chance.

Fabric I didn't need

Fabric I didn’t need

In the gap between posts I had a wonderful day shopping in Birmingham with Naomi from a Facebook ‘Stashbusting’ group. Yes, I can see the problem there too – and as we both left Birmingham with a significant amount of fabric the stash was definitely blown not busted that day. Oh but look at what I bought!

Brilliant brooch

Brilliant brooch

The greeny yellow is a beautiful felted wool which I intend to make into a coat. As it was the end of the roll I got a very good deal on it. I was hesitating about buying such a distinctive colour, and more than a little concerned that it might not ‘go’ with my wardrobe. Can you believe that the colour works with just about everything I have put next to it? Far from not going with some things this colour works with everything! Naomi was searching for fabric to make an outfit for a costume party – that included sparkly stuff and I couldn’t help myself when I saw this brooch. Just look at how nice it looks on the grey fabric – and that ‘goes with everything’ green!

The brown fabric is a lovely single knit jersey which is a great weight for autumn/winter t-shirts and was a mere 50p a metre. Well, you couldn’t turn it down at that price could you? The stripe was the same but is a finer fabric. I haven’t got round to pre-washing these yet – and the stripe may well be simply tucked away for later use – but that brown needs to be used. Now. Well, after I make Nell and that coat….

 


Two things for me!

After the disappointment that was the orange vest/waistcoat non happening I decided to go back to a pattern I had tried and liked recently – the Karen Drape dress. No. Yes. No. I’ll make the Nettie bodysuit. No. Yes. Oh, you get the picture.

I had altered the pattern for the dress I used last time to make it a little closer fitting which helps to keep the ‘drapes’ in place. I still tend to think I am bigger than I am – not small, but not as big as I think. I think it is an improvement. See what you think.

Maria Denmark Karen Drape dress

Karen Drape dress front – original fit

Karen dress altered

Karen Drape dress front- altered fit

 

I bought two metres of polyester lycra from the discounted table at Barry’s at the same time as I bought the cloque for the last dress with the intention of making the Nettie bodysuit but I had decided that I wanted to try the altered dress pattern. Anyhoo, after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to match stripes I realised I would have needed to buy another half metre for it to work BUT if I disregarded stripe matching I had just enough to cut the dress AND the bodysuit. Score!

Karen Drape dress

Karen Drape dress front 

Karen Drape dress

Karen Drape dress back

 

I think that the pattern suggested not using an obvious stripe but I was happy to have the stripe going off at an angle on the top of the front. I suspect if it had been a very regular stripe it may not have looked quite so good. As you see the back is just all horizontal stripes and I’m happy with that too. I actually much prefer this version to the original I made – I think the fabric suits me better.

I used a strip of lycra to bind the neckline this time and I am happier with the fit and shape – I definitely pulled the elastic a bit too tight on the last version. I can now confirm that this pattern is a keeper ladies.

 

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Closet Case Files Nettie Bodysuit

 

On to the bodysuit. This is by Closet Case files and I have seen lots of these on various blogs and really wanted to try the pattern. I was perhaps a little hesitant as I can remember wearing these when they were popular in the eighties. Did I really want to go there again?

Since trouser waistlines seem to be heading upwards again, and tops are being more regularly worn tucked into the waistband I thought it would be good to try – you can’t fault a bodysuit in keeping you neat (unless you are Patsy from Ab Fab!).

As I had just enough to cut this out provided I made the sleeves short I got on with it. I graded the pattern out one size over my (lack of a) waist and just went ahead on faith. It is a pretty good fit – the lycra isn’t straining anywhere and isn’t looking too clingy. I would be happy wearing this as it is but I shall be allowing a little extra space on the shoulders next time (yes, there will definitely be a next time) as the sleeves seem to want to climb upwards since there is very little width on the shoulders. Apart from that I am very happy, and since the pattern offers lots of variation (including making it into a dress) I can see this pattern getting quite a lot of use.

Not a bad result from 2m of fabric!

 

 


Karen Drape Dress in the Jungle!

Whilst I was feeling very sorry for myself a little while ago I was sent a lovely gift – the Karen Drape Dress pattern from Maria Denmark. It really did give me a lift, so thank you very much S! (Gotta love your sewing friends 😉 ). This looked like a very easy dress to wear – and suitable for so many occasions. As Maria herself says in the instructions ‘it is your new favourite dress’ and I think she may be right. Having said that some of you will probably be thinking that as I rarely wear dresses it isn’t up against very stiff competition. Oh ye of little faith! This really is a good dress and pattern.

On to the skinny. The PDF file had 40 pages, 10 are instructions and general information which I printed double sided and the remaining 30 are the pattern which didn’t take too long to trim and stick together. The front pattern piece is complete so it is rather large on its own, but there is only the back and sleeve after that. I didn’t trace the back as a complete pattern so I could have cut it in one piece but I will be converting that before I use the pattern again, I did cut two separate sleeve patterns (I even remembered to mirror them! Yay me!)

Animal? But which animal?

Animal –  but which animal?

The fabric I bought – I know, you might have expected me to have had something suitable in that almost bottomless stash – was bought in Barry’s in Birmingham. It is a polyester cloqué, 150cm wide and I bought 2 meters. I could have cut this easily with 180cm of fabric so I will bear that in mind when I want to make this in something more expensive – I hate wasting both fabric and money. I think the print looks a bit animally – leopard or cheetah or stegasaurus, I’m not sure which. However, I am claiming this for Jungle January! If you want to weigh in with an opinion as to what animal it actually is feel free.

Karen Drape dress front

Karen Drape dress front

Karen Drape dress back (Oops I wasn't ready for that picture!)

Karen Drape dress back (Oops I wasn’t ready for that picture!)

The pattern was very accurate to stick together – none of the ‘misses’ that you sometimes find on PDF patterns, and was a very easy pattern to sew. I would probably put the fabric on the floor to cut out as a single layer, despite the fact that my knees are protesting at the thought, as the front pattern piece is large and didn’t really fit on my cutting table easily.It would be much easier to copied this pattern so that it could be cut from a single layer of fabric (it would make any pattern matching much easier if necessary too). I had no problems matching notches, or mismatched seam lengths, or anything else. The sewing was also very quick – once you have organised those tucks on the side front (and Maria has made a blog post to help if you need it) you only have to sew the pieces together and then put clear elastic into the neck (again, a helpful post if you should need it).  Honestly this is a dress that a beginner would find hard to foul up. I didn’t have any of the really thin clear elastic available when I was making this and used some that was a bit thicker. I may have pulled the neckline a little tighter than the original as a result but that isn’t going to stop me wearing this dress.

When I tried the dress on I felt it was a bit large over the hips (I basically don’t have hips – or a waist) so I went back and overlocked a bit more off the side seams. It is a very soft fabric so I would be a bit careful about being too hasty about altering the pattern for this, and the alteration is a very easy one should it be needed. Having worn this a couple of times now it may be that it is still a little generous so I may be brave and cut a size smaller next time. I think that it needs to be a reasonably snug fit across the tummy and hip to prevent the slight asymmetric effect I am getting. I am inclined to over estimate how much ease I need – I think it comes of always being bought clothes ‘to grow into’ as a child. I was a little concerned that it may look stretched over the bust but it is fine, and those friendly tucks over the tummy hide a multitude of sins!

Yes Maria, I think I had just finished my ‘new favourite dress’!