My style – or style rut?

Every so often something happens that makes us question our choices. The prompt this time was a blog post I read by Sew Tessuti who was showing a selection of patterns bought over a number of years – and so many very similar patterns.

This weekend I bought a couple of Style Arc patterns using the discount. Great time to try out a new to me pattern company who seem to have a very good following. Then I looked at what I had bought in the light of what I had read.

The first was a pattern bundle which included the Stacie jean jacket, Sally jean skirt, and Diana top. I really only wanted the jacket but it was such a good buy… well, you know the feeling. The other option was the Ziggi biker jacket.Stacie Jean Jacket + Diana Top + Sally Jean Skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were both styles I really thought I would use – but wait a minute – do these look familiar?

Start with Stacie. I love jeans jackets. I have made a few in the past, check out this post, this one, and finally this one. Also, in a recent Patrones post I showed a jacket that isn’t a million miles from this. See a theme developing? All OK, but none exactly what I wanted.

The first (McCalls 5860) was a great basic shape but I followed the instructions pretty much as is and hated the way the lining was installed from the word go. The second was self drafted and just OK. I still wear it on occasion but it has never really thrilled me. The third was from a Craftsy course. I learned a bunch of stuff from the course, have worn this jacket quite a lot, but it seems a bit of a compromise jeans jacket. A ‘home sew’ option. I have read a number of blog posts about ‘Stacie’ and most are positive – but the pockets are just decorative rather than functional, and the cuffs seem to come in for some criticism. It would seem that the pattern companies are on a hiding to nothing as we have very specific ideas of what we want, but we don’t all want the same thing. Clearly I am going to have to do a bit of adaption to make Stacie exactly what I had in mind.

 

Fabulous fully lined biker jacket with zip features

 

Now then Ziggi. I have seen some blisteringly good versions of Ziggi online. Check out Ruths version at Core Couture, or Shams at Communing with Fabric, or ….  any one of loads. Brilliant jacket. Perfectly biker – just what I want. But I have already got the Janet Pray MotorCity Express pattern as part of another Craftsy course (not yet started). I have put off starting the course because I had slight reservations about the pattern. I knew the lack of a collar was something I was going to have to change, and no matter how much I know I have gained from the other Janet Pray courses I have watched this one languished. Is Ziggi closer to what I want? I think so, but I really must watch the course because I’m sure it will help construction when I decide what I am to do.

Both of these jacket styles can be dressed up or down according to need but are arguably both fairly casual, every day jackets. That’s OK. Sadly my lifestyle doesn’t really have great need for spectacularly ‘dressed up’ clothing. However, my concern is have I just fallen into a style rut where I simply choose what is comfortable and familiar, or have I actually found that rare beast – My Style?

 

 


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.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

 

 


It just isn’t working…

I have tried to make the orange project appealing – honest I have. Oh my, how I have tried. But I just don’t like it.

I made the pattern, I even did a muslin. I fiddled with the pattern, re-jigged a couple of things I thought would make it work, even got as far as putting the pattern onto the fabric. It was going to be a tight fit but as long as I went without sleeves it did fit.

I went and had a cup of tea and considered my position – and eventually decided if I made this I would be wasting time and fabric as I really don’t think I would wear it (maybe because it wont have sleeves). So despite having the pattern all sorted I am calling time on this project. Moving on. Putting it behind me. Carry on with this theme as long as you like  – I wont mind.

At the moment I have no idea what I will make next but I am going to tidy the mess in my cutting room (a small trees worth of paper scraps and bits of fabric). Maybe the tidy environment will make me clearer of brain. I am going to have a relaxing night with a very large glass of red and forget all about sewing for now.

Not all bad news though! During my fiddling time I decided to make a neck pillow which I saw on Sues ‘Fadanista‘ blog, which she had found on a site called Sew4Home. It looked excellent. Just the thing for reading in bed thought I. Didn’t take long, or take very much fabric (leftovers from my curtains – sshh! don’t tell anyone I made curtains!). The Management was a little baffled when I showed him and took it off me to try. I haven’t had that one back – he took it off to bed eventually looking a little like Linus from the Peanuts cartoon. Needless to say I made my own PDQ.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marvelous neck pillows

If you have an hour (probably less) to make one of these your head and neck will thank you for it. I love mine to bits and will probably be making more as gifts for people whom I know would benefit from one.

 

 

 


Running shorts

Running Shorts

OriginalRunning Shorts

Running Shorts

Gusset

Some time ago Jess asked if I could copy a pair of running shorts in one of the FunkiFabrics patterned lycras. She wears shorts most of the year regardless of weather and these were apparently the most comfortable pair she had found.

I did make the pattern and trial pair before Christmas which were tried and declared a success.

Running Shorts

Copy pair

Running Shorts

Thread detail

They were made in the most basic way possible (no back pocket and little detail) but I did have some variegated Gutterman thread that I wanted to try out in the looper of the coverstitch machine so they got a tiny bit of interest down the front leg. The main reason for these shorts being chosen as ‘favourites’ was, I think, the crotch gusset which allows for much more freedom of movement than the basic leggings pattern that I have used. The side seam has also been moved slightly forward so I presume this is a position that is less likely to cause friction over a long run.

As I wanted to clear this project before starting the orange waistcoat/jacket, and I thought I could clear it in a couple of hours, I got stuck in and cut into the monster fabric which Jess had requested (and approved when she saw it at Christmas!). The only difference this time was that I was to put in the pocket and anchor all the seams so that they wouldn’t rub.

I have put these pockets in several pairs of leggings now – but not this particular style which was cut in one piece across the back, with another full piece behind it to make the pocket back. I had been sent this tape by Linda from Nice Dress, Thanks I made it! and was looking forward to trying it as a stabiliser in this process. As you can see from the photographs I started by drawing a rectangle with my beloved Frixion pen the size of the ‘hole’ I wanted the zipper to fit into. I then surrounded it with tape before cutting the fabric. Once cut it was easy to fold back the fabric onto the sticky tape and create a perfect hole to fit my pocket. I put another line of tape top and bottom to hold the zipper in place whilst I sewed it permanently. This process was a huge success, no wiggling from the fabric so the pocket was sewn in double quick time. Thanks Linda!

Pocket drawn, tape around the edges.

Pocket drawn, tape around the edges.

Hole cut and fabric stuck to tape, more tape in place to hold zipper

Hole cut and fabric stuck to tape, more tape in place to hold zipper

Finished pocket.

Finished pocket. 

I used plain black lycra to back the pocket, and also on the elasticated waistband.

As you can see I used the triple step zig-zag to anchor the seams this time instead of the coverstitcher. I’m still a little uncertain that this was the right decision. Maybe it is just the black thread, which I decided was probably the best choice given the amount of colours inn this barmy pattern. Anyway, Jess will have to decide if these are OK – and I shouldn’t ever struggle to spot her coming in a group when she is racing in these!

Running shorts Front (check out the gusset!)

Running shorts Front (check out the gusset!)

Running shorts Back

Running shorts Back

I love the pattern – the little monsters just seem so friendly!

This pattern fitted into 50cm of lycra from Funkifabrics with a little left over which I can probably incorporate into another project.

If anyone wants the details of how I intend to alter my basic leggings pattern to make a pair for myself (I get horribly overheated when I ‘run’ so I want to be prepared for when it gets warmer) let me know, and whilst it wont be until after I do the orange garment I will be happy to email the information – or maybe do a blog post if there is a demand.

One less distraction for now!

 

 


Orange jacket/waistcoat

…or vest if you are American.

I have been thinking about what I wanted to  make with both the orange felted wool and brown merino jersey for long enough now. I have probably overthought the whole enterprise, which seems to be a common problem Chez Hood right now.

The main problem I have is that there is barely 140cm of the orange cloth (after washing) and I have spent ages convincing myself I can’t do what I want with that much. Rubbish. I’m planning to self draft this pattern so I can make sure it fits the fabric available. Within reason.

The other problem is that I can’t decide between two options. Think donkey between carrots. Yeah, that would be me at the moment and it isn’t going to get any better until I just get on with something!

Option 1.

Boiled wool waistcoat

Waistcoat by Poetry

All Ssaints jacket

All Saints Waistcoat – open

All saints Jacket 2

All Saints Waistcoat – closed

All of the pictures of waistcoats shown really appeal. The Poetry waistcoat has been in my ‘I like this’ pile of pictures for an age. I can’t even remember when I put the booklet on the heap. *sigh* . The All Saints version is a prettier version in my opinion – but I still can’t decide which I prefer. I know I want to have pockets, it would be useful to be able to close against the wind/weather, I don’t want it to look too voluminous, and I want to be able to layer garments with it. What would probably happen is a hybrid version with the sections I like best from both.

Option 2.

  I thought a neater, more ‘jackety’ option may be more useful – a bit like the Marcy Tilton Vogue 8430. Not necessarily a real ‘jacket’ but something edging that way.

I also liked the yellow Vogue 8932.V8932, Misses' Jacket and VestV8932, Misses' Jacket and Vest

Check out that back detail – and it could be made sleeveless. Sadly I can’t currently think of a sensible pocket option. Not something to kill the option but I would have liked a pocket.

I’m going to start drawing the pattern for these garments and then just make a start. They aren’t so different so I may find that part way through I will make a final decision. I think I may be leaning towards the Yellow jacket, but after a cup of tea who knows. Any suggestions/preferences might be helpful – feel free to give opinions again.

 

I have (I think) decided to re-stash the brown merino for now. There are a number of things i would like to do and I am starting to feel a bit bogged down. I really need to clear a couple of projects to loosen a mental ‘log jam’. Does anyone else find this happens to them?

 


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’!


Another Jasper…and other stuff

In my last post a referred to something else I had made – another Paprika Jasper sweater. This one is without the hood as I had a very limited amount of fabric. I really love this pattern and can see lots more made this winter.

My new favourite sweater

My new favourite sweater

So, the details. The fabric is a piece of (probably) polyester ‘stuff” which has been in the stash long enough to have celebrated multiple birthdays. It’s more likely to have been there for decades. I seem to remember buying it from a market stall in Kidderminster which hasn’t traded in a Loooooong time. I had seen a number of cabled sweaters in the fashion magazines, Pinterest etc. and this fabric came to mind. I had just 1.5m of 150cm wide so I knew I was going to have to get creative with the cutting to fit it all in. Delightfully, it fitted with whispers to spare. I always like to have minimal amounts of scrap after cutting out.

Tiny pile of scrap

Tiny pile of scrap

Unexpected bonus!

Unexpected bonus!

 

I have already worn this lots, and I can confirm that it washes well! It was brilliant to discover I had a ready made ‘spectacle hanging loop’ as I frequently put my specs down and can’t find them again. Must be age.

 

 

Looking good at half way.

Looking good at half way.

My daughter was home this weekend and admired the hoodie while I was wearing it so that is a

Jess on the finish line

Jess on the finish line

big seal of approval. She had run the Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday and managed to beat her London Marathon time on a course with mountains!

 

Which leads me on to the next make. How many of you have used the wonderful Funki Fabrics printed lycra? Yeah, it’s great isn’t it. But how many of you have spotted the winter lycra? Can I send you to the site right now because it’s great – no wait until you  have seen Jess’s leggings.

The lycra has a kind of fleecy back which feels gorgeous. I think it might be just a fraction less stretchy in the width than the standard lycra but has plenty of stretch in the length. I made Jess the normal Shin leggings pattern without any changes and she declared them a success after wearing them on Sunday morning (actually all of Sunday which is probably a good sign). They haven’t been washed yet but I am sure that with the pedigree Funki Fabrics Have it will be fine.

 

Winter leggings

Winter leggings

I have bought more fabric in black for me so I hope to make some warm leggings for myself really soon. They will not only be worth having for running (stretching the definition the way I ‘run’) but also for marshaling at Parkrun, and to wear as an extra insulating layer under my diving dry suit. These are going to be so useful I should really get on ASAP.

I must make a comment about my coverstitching. As you may know I bought the Janome coverstitcher which I have been very happy with. However, on this garment I started to have problems with the thread getting stuck and breaking – lots of unpicking and bad language. I was confident the cops were Moon (which is a Coats thread and usually pretty reliable) and they had behave beautifully on the overlocker. However, I decided to change all the threads to Gutterman reels and try again. Perfection. I can only assume these reels were an inferior brand and the Janome didn’t like them. So, anyone having problems with a coverstitcher – before you start fiddling with all the dials try changing your thread. I will not be saving any pennies with ‘cheap’ thread in the future as it costs too much in time if I make a mistake.

 

Swimming update

You might have noticed from my ticker in the side bar but I have now swum half the distance needed to complete my swimming challenge. I was thrilled to be able to get this far in the official half way point as I had been on holiday for one week, then ill another. I am now pretty confident of finishing the English Channel distance (22 miles) by the required 7th December deadline.


Making an Artists/Fishermans Smock

Since I put my original post out in blogland with the pattern to make this smock I have probably had more blog hits with this search than any other. Several people have asked for more detail as to how to actually make the smock so with apologies to those who don’t need this I will go ahead. This post is of necessity picture heavy – if you aren’t interested in how to make a smock I will have something else to show soon (but it has been such a success that it needs to be laundered before I can get a photograph!).

So, assuming you have cut out your pieces (remembering to add seam allowances to my pattern) we will make a start. Don’t forget to press as you go.

I prepare the pockets first by neatening the sides (overlocker in my case), and turning 1cm then 3cm the opposite way so it is RS  together to get a clean finish on the top edge. The little piece of fabric shows this. Seam the top edge, press and turn through like the right hand pocket in the photograph. Stitch the turning to secure if you want (like the left pocket).

Pocket Detail

Pocket Detail

Stitch the pockets into place on the front piece, like below.

Pocket sewn onto front.

Pocket sewn onto front.

Next sew your shoulder seams BUT stop the seam width away from the neck edge. Sew the collar piece into a loop. Press seams open. Neaten the shoulder seams if you wish, and now would be a good time to neaten any other edges that need it.

Sewn shoulders and collar loop

Sewn shoulders and collar loop

I place the collar seam at the centre back point and pin the collar to secure whilst I see it in place. By keeping the body sides on top you can spread the shoulder like it is shown in the photograph below and sew the collar seam so that you miss the join by a hairs breadth. This ensures you won’t get a hole.

Collar/shoulder join

Collar/shoulder join

By working the collar seam in this way you will get a nice smooth finish at the join. If you had sewn the whole seam you always end up with tucks at this point.

Smooth join at shoulder

Smooth join at shoulder

Turn under 1cm to neaten the collar edge, then fold the collar in half and catch it in place just in the ditch from the right side. If you edge stitch this just inside the collar it should all be secured in place. Feel free to tack this in place if it will enable you to continue with confidence.

Turn and pin collar

Turn and pin collar

While it isn’t essential I like to stitch around the top edge as I think it gives a neater finish.

Finished collar detail

Finished collar detail

Grab the sleeves and pin them into place. Again you must start and finish your seam the seam width away from the sleeve edge. Now, the gusset. This seems to be the part that upsets many people but stay strong. Don’t think of this as something that needs to be sewn all at once, it can be broken down into four parts.

I suggest that you buy yourself a Frixion pen and use it to mark the seams into the corners of your gusset. Use a pin as a guide to pin close to the sleeve/body seam and pin the gusset to the sleeve. Again you need to stop your seam at the corner point marked. Once you are happy you have the gusset correctly attached to the sleeve turn the garment through 90* so that you are able to use the pin again to locate the matching point on the body. You might find it easier to sew from the garment side so you can see where the other stitching starts.

The dreaded gusset

The dreaded gusset

This is what it looks like from the right side at this point….

Sewn to sleeve and body

Sewn to sleeve and body

…. and from the wrong side. Now fold the sleeve right sides together and you will see where the third seam must be sewn. Use the techniques you learned on the first two sides to complete all four sides of the gusset.

Gusset - wrong side view

Gusset – wrong side view

Once you are satisfied that the four sides have been sewn accurately you can sew the sleeve and body seams. I tend to sew towards the gusset which enables you to see exactly where the seam needs to join the gusset, make sure you don’t catch the gusset edge in the seam.

Sewing sleeves and body

Sewing sleeves and body

Once sewn you can see how the gusset makes a triangle shape in the underarm which allows free movement.

Finished - wrong side view

Finished – wrong side view

Gusset - right side

Gusset – right side

All that needs to be done now is to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the body. I clean finished the sleeves (in the same way as the pocket top)  but just turned the overlocked bottom edge as the pockets would have made this very thick if turned twice. Press it all tidy, allow to cool and set up your easel!

Finished smock

Finished smock

I made this smock from cotton twill (the first couple of photos give the best representation of the royal blue colour) basically to show the techniques here. If anyone is interested in buying it from me for £40 + postage please let me know.

I would also be able to create a ‘kit’ containing the pattern and sufficient baby cord shown in my original post in either chocolate brown or a beige colour which would cost £15 + postage. When I work out how it is done I can offer PayPal details.

I hope this answers any questions that people have asked but if you have one I have missed please point it out to me!


Paprika Jasper Sweater

Well, I got back from holiday last weekend feeling very much like this sunshine –

But by Saturday I was feeling much closer to this

The Management caught the well known ‘aeroplane cold’ which he promptly passed on to me. I have been feeling pretty gruesome since Saturday and think I have a few days of being kind to myself left before I jump properly back into life. I’m sure a good nights sleep in the spare bed will sort me out (along with a ‘hot toddy’ – whisky, honey and hot water for the uninitiated). I’m starting to fret about not being able to swim but I think I have factored enough ‘snafu’ time into the calculations.

However, before I checked out with the world I did manage to complete the Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater dress I had planned. I like to make the first project after getting home from a holiday something relatively simple to ‘get back into the swing’ and this seemed perfect. The pattern was bought right at the start of September in the Indie pattern bundle and so far it is the only one I have done anything with despite some of the others being really appealing.

There were a lot of sheets printed for the pattern – I don’t remember having a larger number to tape together but that may just be my diminished mental state. Despite that it was easy to tape together BUT there is a void in the taping where there would have been an unprinted sheet in the mix. It may have been that my printer was being clever and not putting the sheet in there, or I may have just outsorted it without thinking. Anyway, if you are about to make this up you are fore warned. There is a copy shop option provided if you prefer to do that.

I bought the navy sweatshirting fabric from Minerva Crafts before I went on holiday and had already washed and tumble dried it to preshrink. This is listed as a clearance fabric but is still in stock today. It is a lovely soft fabric, but with enough body to make it just right for this style. It did shed what seemed like a scary amount of fluff in the drier but is still very cozy.

Front view

Front view

Back view

Back view

The pattern is listed as a two out of three circle(?) sewing level – mid range I suppose – it does have single welt pockets and that glorious hood. Don’t let them scare you. The instructions are backed up with online tutorials if you aren’t understanding the written instructions, and the results are worth the effort. I finished this on Friday (just after I knocked the iron off the board – it was switched off thankfully – and killed it) and took one lot of photographs which were all rubbish. I repeated the exercise with Bessie modeling this morning as blogland really doesn’t need to be aware of just how gruesome  I look at the moment.

The kangaroo pocket is wonderful for stuffing cold hands into, and even though it looks really stupid wearing it indoors the hood is lovely. I seem to remember someone describing the hood as being ‘monastic’ and I can kind of get that (sorry, I can’t remember who at the moment). The button detail is nice but I decided not to make too much of it on this version as I wanted something casual and understated. The princess seams give a bit more shape than might be expected of a sweatshirt which is great and gives extra options for adjustment.

Will I be making this again? You betcha. Maybe the dress length version next time…..


Instant sunshine

I know I have been missing again – but I have been sewing. For me!

I cut this pair of garments out weeks ago with the intention of getting them made up immediately so that they could be enjoyed in the summer sunshine. Hah! Who am I kidding. Firstly, customers always come first. Secondly, I live in the UK – sunshine is rare and must be appreciated when it is there. Where possible no sewing on sunny days!

Perfect for sunny weather

Perfect for sunny weather

As you can see these garments are made as fillers in a summer wardrobe. At least I sound organised. They were cut out weeks ago and left to mature gently while the weather got colder. They are both cut from a linen/viscose blend that I bought from Barrys Fabric Market in Birmingham. I think I may have even scored this from their £2 a metre table. It was pre washed and, though softer, still very nice to handle with a bit of crispness to it. And yes, it will crease like the devil but I don’t care.

Front pockets into the yoke seam

Patch pockets to back

The trousers were from my own block. After making the Vogue 2948 pattern included in the Sandra Betzina Craftsy course I decided I should really dust off the blocks and draft my own patterns again. I use the trouser block from Hilary Campbell rather than Winnie as I found the fit better. (But if you decide to try this check the waist measurement against yours – this block waist is for a neater waist than mine!).

The details on the original pattern were nice so I used that as a starting point. I liked the little front pockets into the yoke seam which were very easy to replicate, and used patch pockets to the back. I didn’t split the legs to give a centre seam as this was the first time in a while that this block had been used, and I moved the zipper to give a front fly. If I make these again I may split the leg to get the lovely Betzina design. I intend to make a separate trouser lining that can go under several pairs that would benefit from the extra layer. I could wear these as they are but….

Back vent, lined and mitered hem.

Back vent, lined and mitered hem corner.

Pockets, always useful for collecting stones and stuff.

The skirt is the same as this one which I based on Vogue 1247 which is a huge favourite across the interweb. Again, the pattern was from my block (Winnie Aldrich this time) and fitted almost without adjustment. Astonishingly I needed to take in the waist a little. Hmm. Because I had a bit of time I decided to make a bit of effort on the finish. My customers get this all the time, me – not so much. I did just overlock the seams but handpicked the lapped zipper and mitered the corners of the back vent. Not very time consuming but with a bit more effort all round on the finish I get a garment I am proud of rather than a rushed finish.

So all finished, and it is now too cold to wear these most days in the UK. I had been waiting (not long , I confess) for a warm day to photograph me wearing these but it just wasn’t working – though I can say I am happy with the fit of both garments and will post pictures eventually. The Management and I do have a bit of winter sunshine planned in the not too distant future so I hope to be able to make good use of them then.

On to warmer sewing now I suppose.