Thelma…. Pet

No, they really can’t explain

If you are familiar with the old tv series The Likely Lads you will know that Thelma is always followed with ‘pet ‘ so I had to include it in the title.

This Thelma is a boilersuit. I really wanted a boilersuit after seeing the wonderful Zoe Laughlin in hers in her tv series. She always seemed to be so ridiculously happy and comfortable I knew I had to join her, and when I saw the Merchant and Mills pattern I was hooked.

I bought the PDF and I have to say that there were lots of pages to print and stick together. Lots. If that’s not your thing then shell out that little bit extra for the printed version. I imagine it will be fairly impressive as the attention to detail in the PDF was good. I have no complaints – all the bits joined up correctly, and the written instructions for construction were excellent – if I could consistently recognise right and left I would have had no trouble making this up at all.

I was determined to make this up from stash. No problem with fabric as I found a lovely chocolate brown baby cord that despite being very soft I thought would be good to use, but I needed 16 buttons! I had little hope of finding that many of anything matching despite having a ridiculous amount of buttons. But you have to check….

Check the backs!

I did find a set of 16 but they were too light and a bit pink so I was about to chuck them back in the tin and dropped them. That was when I saw that the back of the button was a perfect fit for the job! So, if you can’t find the buttons you want check the backs. This has happened in the past but I wasn’t thinking about that when I was searching.

I found the necessary interfacing in stash, and sufficient cotton odds and sods for the yoke facings and pocket bags so I was good to go.

As I said earlier the pattern was beautifully drawn, no problem matching notches or anything like that. I cut a size 14 top and graded down to a size 12 trouser section without huge difficulties. I did actually pay attention to the instructions so I could report truthfully. Had I not trimmed off the wrong side of the fly at one point I could honestly say I had no difficulties at all but the truth is that any difficulty was of my own making. The size was pretty much exactly as expected having checked the pattern information.

I was thrilled when I finished this, and decided to take it with me when I visited my sister last week so she could try it. She looked great and absolutely loved it (although her other half wasn’t so sure). It stayed there.

My favourite sister looking very happy
And the back

The plan is to make another very soon. And hopefully I will do so without trimming anything I shouldn’t.

I did pretty well from her – I came away with a poncho/action blanket(Google it – it’s hilarious) that she had crocheted. Good deal all round!

Everyone’s happy!

I’m struggling to get to grips with the new WordPress editor so I apologise for the bits after this. I’ve tried in vain to delete. Feel free to ignore 🙄


Decode Zero Waste Shirt

Well I finished this shirt well over a week ago (closer to two) and have been waiting for The Management to put it on for photographs. I’ve finally given in and you’re getting flat pictures. Sorry.

The kit arrived from Danielle Elsenor at Decode complete with fabric and buttons, booklet to explain the process, and an A3 poster of the design.I couldn’t wait to start but knew I would need to concentrate with this.

This was just a trial in stash fabric to check I had it right before I cut the very special hand screen printed fabric from Danielle. The pattern PDF looks different to most as you get the lines only – not the gaps. Much less paper wasted in printing but it’s a little confusing until you move your brain into the right place. Simple once you’re there but rather than taking the option of drawing the pattern right into the fabric I drew into the pattern paper cut to the correct size. Just as well. I made a really silly error and needed to do a bit of paper rearranging and sticking.

Scrubs, not shirt but you get the idea

It’s great when you settle the piece(s) onto the fabric and they are just like a jigsaw – but with huge pieces. Even better is the fact that there are no odd shaped pieces of scrap left over. The way the pieces are organised to fit is genius. There were elements I wouldn’t have come up with myself (like cutting the sleeves down the middle and fitting them together to save space round the sleeve head) but will be looking at when I next use my own patterns as I’m sure some of the ideas here can transfer.

The shirt was easy to sew together, and everything fitted together with ease (great pattern cutting Danielle). It really didn’t take long to sew at all. I tried it on before the buttons/holes were done but sadly this is just a bit too oversized for me despite thinking it would be right. It fits him perfectly. Sorry you can’t confirm that 🙄.

The pocket is almost invisible in this print, and the fact that the sleeves are split doesn’t really show at all . In my opinion this is a winner.

I will definitely be looking more closely at my patterns to see where I can reduce waste even if I can’t go zero waste with all of them.


Strange times

These truly are strange times. I’m fairly happy being restricted to house rules but I’ve had one or two dodgy days so have enormous sympathy for those who are finding this difficult.

I’m still keeping pretty busy, lots of projects that have been planned for ‘ever’  are rising to the surface – but like many people who can sew I’m making scrubs for the NHS.

I know there have been queries as to why they are so short of scrubs and saw an excellent explanation by a doctor on Facebook today. As she pointed out (and I confess hadn’t occurred to me) anyone in the hospitals who would have previously worn their own clothes is now wearing them as their own clothing is unlikely to cope with the 60degree washes deemed  necessary. Makes sense. There was more to it than that but that was the heart.

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Anyway, I have been using a zero waste pattern which has been shared by Danielle Elsener of Decode. It might take a little longer to sew than some scrubs but is elegantly fitted into the fabric to create the garments without the tons of scrap you get from some patterns. The pattern is available here. I’m not able to spend all day sewing like I did in my past, nor so I want to, but if I can contribute to help the medics I’m happy to do so.

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I’m also started on a new jumper – the second incarnation of the Purl Soho Ribbed Raglan Pullover. The yarn is from a jumper I made way back in 2014 and blogged here. I always loved the design but this yarn knitted up a bit lacking in substance, it always felt a bit feeble. As a result it hasn’t been worn much so I’m unravelling it quietly in my work room out of the way of The Management – he gets unreasonably upset by me pulling out something he knows has taken a fair time to knit. I already know from the little I have got done so far that I’m much happier with the way this is knitting up.

Between sewing, knitting, gardening, and general domestic dark arts my time seems to  be very well filled. Add to that yoga and art classes using Zoom  and I’m sorted. It will be good to get out and see friends again – I think The Management will be happy for me to have another victim to hug.

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is sharing crosswords long distance with Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. She has been starting them in Sydney and then sending me photos of the grid and clues to see how much I can do. Between us we’ve been doing pretty well, and it has made me feel much less isolated. Who knew that I would gain this from blogging!

 


Overlooked pattern #1 finished

Well things have got very strange since my last post. I wish I could say that I’ve been exceedingly productive in lockdown but sadly I haven’t. I’m not unhappy being confined to barracks – far from it, I’m actually quite comfortable with it. But not sewing.

I started well with this project. Fabric dug from deep stash, pattern traced, cutting out done. And then everything stalled. Even when I tried to make real efforts to go into the work room and get stuck in I found other things to do.

Well, eventually I ran out of pencils to sharpen and other mindless things to do and DID get stuck in. What was my problem? This was not a difficult task.

I know many people are off by the sparce instructions in Style Arc patterns. That doesn’t bother me at all – pattern cutting training did have it’s benefits – even if cutting patterns isn’t one of them just now😂. The picture given by Style Arc is more instructive to me than the written instructions.

Anyway, all was going well, and I got them to a trying on point before putting in the pockets. I’m so glad I left the pockets until later as these were too big. I cut the 14 which matched my measurements most closely but after my alterations I know I want to cut the size 12 before I try again. What do you think? (Photos taken on my kindle so they aren’t magnificent).

The fabric isn’t brilliant, and I really should have interfaces both pieces of the shaped waistband (inside and outside) as I can see it’s buckling a bit. Despite this I’m pretty happy with these and will certainly try again in a better fabric. I have some rather lovely linen in mind…..

I’m being led by the nose here but I really do like the blouse/top shown on the pattern illustration (see last post). I was sorely tempted to buy it during the Style Arc Easter sale but reminded myself of the whole reason I’m doing these ‘overlooked pattern’  posts. It doesn’t look a million miles away from the Style Arc Toni dress pattern which I have so I might get round to adapting that rather than buying another.

So, one overlooked pattern down and off to choose the next one. There just might be something holding that up but more on that another time.

Stay home, stay safe.

Kim


Overlooked pattern #1

In common with everyone else life here has been a bit frustrating of late. I’m finding it very difficult to settle to anything at the moment and as a result there’s really not a lot getting done. It’s taken a while to decide what pattern I’m going to start with – there were just so many patterns to choose from!

The eventual choice was the Style Arc Teddy Designer Pant. I’m very sorry but I’m afraid they really should be ‘pants’  and that will be how I refer to them. I think the first time I saw these made up was in Ann’s blog – The Compulsive Seamstress . This was back in March last year, so this is a fairly recently overlooked pattern by comparison with many I have. Back then I knew that I had some linen that would work beautifully for this pattern but I’ve dredged deeper into stash to find something I’m not feeling too precious about. I love the shape these trousers in principle ….. but I’m not certain how I will feel about wearing them.

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The pattern has been traced, and the chosen fabric ironed. The fabric is a polyester lightweight suiting which was sold to me many years ago as Trevira. Judging from the way it has creased in storage it should take the front pleat creases well! I found a suitable zip, which I will shorten to the desired length, in stash and I know I have plenty of light grey thread and the required interfacing so I can crack on when I’m ready.

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In addition to planning this (OK, it didn’t take too much planning once I’d chosen the pattern!) I have been learning a new skill. When the wonderful Fadanista came to visit Bewdley she was wearing the Stitch Diva Anais jacket. I had admired this previously from her blog posts so it was wonderful to see the actual garment.

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I had no idea how Tunisian crochet was done – but isn’t that what the internet is for? Armed with the pattern and the online instructions I made a start. The yarn is Hayfield chunky with wool (80/20) and was very nice to work with. As I be no idea how well I would get on with this new technique I thought it wise to us a yarn that could take a bit of punishment! As it turned out this wasn’t quite as difficult as I expected and whilst I know that there are one or two imperfections no one is going to see unless I point them out.

This was an absolutely engrossing project – every spare moment I had I was hooking away like a demon! As it was chunky yarn it grew satisfyingly quickly too. I thoroughly enjoyed learning this, and now have a fabulously warm layer to wear when I can shed my winter coat but still need some help. Will I be making another? Erm…

 

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Stay safe, and keep sewing!

Kim x

 


A bit of unselfish sewing

I don’t sew for other people any more. At all. No exceptions …..   apart from family.

When my naughty little sister came to stay a while back she managed to make off with some sports gear I had made but I prevented her from liberating my orange Stacie jeans jacket. But only by promising to make her one of her own. I knew I had some suitable denim which I bought years ago in the Birmingham rag market – a very lucky find –  in my stash so I could even clear a bit of space by doing it. She even approved of my choice of Apple green. Hurrah!

I spent a bit of time making it look all pretty on the inside (like the leopard jacket) using the leftover lining from my Patrones coat. Sadly I forgot to take a picture, and even the finished picture I took wasn’t a particularly good one but I’m afraid it will have to do. You’ll have to take my word that the innards looked very nice.

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The Management was up in Northumberland last weekend so he was able to deliver it, and she has since confirmed that it fits (we basically have interchangeable wardrobes these days so I was confident it would) and she likes it. Phew.

This is the fourth Stacie I have made now – there’s the orange, the black, the (fabulous) leopard, and now the green – which got me thinking about how often we use patterns. I don’t think I have many which are better used than this but I have many still waiting for action. It’s very easy to get carried away when you see a fabulous garment that someone else is blogging and buy the pattern with every intention of making it post haste ….. and then life gets in the way.

So ….. I am going to set an intention here to use one unused pattern a month for the rest of this year. Anyone want to join me?

 


Leopard Stacie scores!

In my last post I said I thought that a Style Arc Stacie in my leopard fabric, inspired by the wonderful Tan France, would be a winner. Judge for yourselves….

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I was reduced to a Kindle selfie so apologies for the photo quality. I might not look it but I’m outstandingly happy with this version. This is my third Style Arc Stacie – the others are here  – so there’s not a great deal to say about the pattern other than it really is an exceptionally good pattern. All the markers line up, the instructions are Style Arc sketchy but easy enough to follow, and the design is classic enough to wear forever. The pockets are mock pockets but I don’t mind that as it prevents me adding any unnecessary bulk over the bust.

I made the jacket up straight from the pattern – no adjustments needed. The fabric was from stash – booty from a Birmingham shopping trip that has waited patiently for the opportunity to shine. This time I decided to finish all the seams nicely as they are in show in this unlined jacket. I covered the yokes in the same lining fabric and used the burrito method to ensure everything looked tidy inside. I’m really glad I took the time on these finishes as it’s turned a good jacket into something a bit special.

The buttons were the standard hammer on jeans buttons which are barely visible on this fabric but I love them.

Check out Bessie wearing it.

I wore this out to lunch with friends today and was very, very happy with it. I think we do indeed have a winner 🏆

 


Hay you!

 

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Last weekend I had a lovely visit from my sister and a couple of her friends who wanted to visit Hay on Wye – a book town. We all love books and reading so it was the obvious place for them to visit but they hadn’t been before. It was many years since I was last there so was overdue a visit.

We had a fabulous day, and I wasn’t too nutty and only bought five books.  The trousers I’m wearing in the photo are from my ‘missing time’. They are a rough approximation of a Uniqlo pair I bought and loved. They’re made in an ancient viscose from very, very deep stash and have been worn lots this summer as they are cool and very comfortable (secret pyjamas).

Anyway, conversations recently with my fabulous little sister have turned to exercise. She’s back at the gym, and is also running, so I thought I would get her to try on the bits I had made in the fabric I showed in my last post with the intention of making some for her …. sometime. Well she looked so good I sent her home with them all. Don’t you agree? Please take note that she has my 12kg kettlebell rather than the 8kg. She wanted that to be known 😂.

The deets.

The leggings are my self drafted pattern. Thank goodness we aren’t too far apart in size and that the stretch can accommodate her extra height.

The shorts are the Greenstyle Moxi again. I put the pocket into the back this time – I needed to make it a bit wider to take a longer zipper and enable my phone to fit. I have an iPhone 5 so if you want to use this pattern pocket for similar phones check the fit before you seal it up.

The top is Melissa Fehrs VNA  top. I made it before (ages ago) and thought it worth repeating as I often wear it for yoga and thought another would be useful. Guess I’m making another nother.

I’ve had another day out this week – Birmingham again with the lovely Demented Fairy and Glenda. We were all astoundingly well behaved, well Glenda and I were, and only bought what was on our lists. HONEST!

I had checked in advance what I wanted for upcoming projects and stuck faithfully to what I needed. (In all honesty had there been anything I really loved I may not have been so good). One item was a Dylon Rosewood  dye to transform some dismally boring beige cotton twill to use as a wearable muslin for a project I really want to start.

The fabric is now dyed and cut out. I’m going to save more information for next time. It’s from the long list of things I wanted to make, made from stash fabric too. Sorry for teasing! (Not sorry 😂)

Back soon!

 


Next!

Well not too long this time!

I’m not entirely convinced I should be wearing these but that’s tough. I finally got round to making a pair of Greenstyle Moxi shorts and I love them. They might not be considered correct attire for a lady of my vintage but they will be great gardening attire – and if I’m feeling particularly brave I may even wear them to run.

I’ve had the pattern for ages so I’m happy to have finally made use of it. These were a trial pair made in scrap leftovers from a dress made in my gap (if I get a photo I’ll share it) and binding made from cotton scrap. All in all a completely scrappy project. I slightly regret not taking more time and putting the pocket into the back yoke as they have turned out so well.

Pictures taken on my Kindle with a timer I’ve just discovered. Tell me what you think.

 

I have already found more fabric to make another pair and a pair of leggings too. Too much orIMG_20190709_150515 a brilliant pattern? One thing is sure  ….. I will be easy to spot 😂


Taking coals to Newcastle….

… or rather Style Arcs to Australia.

Over some time I have been becoming aware of just how many Style Arc patterns I have admired through other sewists – in person or via blogs – and just how many I had bought. And left waiting for action.

Well, I did have a bit of a sewing flurry before I went to Australia and most were Style Arcs.

Self drafted T

One of the most frustrating things before I went was deciding to shop for that most basic of garments – a simple white t-shirt. I must have wasted hours looking at and rejecting, even getting as far as trying on before I rejected. Why so difficult? I don’t like a very close round/jewel neckline but nor do I want to have a neckline so low I have to be aware of how I am standing/sitting. I wanted room for ‘the girls’ without flapping fabric over my hips. I wanted sleeves but not anything unusual – and no decoration. I eventually gave up and ordered some fabric from Tia Knight that was sufficient to cut three t-shirts from for a massive £15. The pattern was my basic t cut from my Kristina Shin book. It took significantly less time than I had spent shopping and I had a result I was happy with. So much so that I have decided that I need to make more in black and probably in both black and white with long sleeves for whilst it’s still cold. The photograph was from our time in Melbourne where we were able to have lunch on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Great fun. If you get the opportunity have a meal on this – great food and you get to travel the city whilst you eat.

Stacie at the Oval

Our first stop after that was in Adelaide where I wore the Stacie  jacket when we visited the Oval. This was made some time ago and is one of my favourite jackets. I see there is now also a ‘Stevie’ jacket which is described as oversized. Although it has more detail I think I prefer Stacie. Details from when I made this are here . I have this in orange too and though I considered taking that instead of the black I think I made the right choice, and as it was still Aussie spring it was cool enough often enough to make me glad I took this.

Breakfast in the outback

Bondi!

The first garment I made specifically with my trip in mind was Style Arc’s Blaire Shirt dress. I had the linen/cotton mix stripe in stash (there’s a surprise) and I knew it would be perfect. I chose the lilac for no other reason than I liked it. The pattern is perhaps a bit more ‘square’ in shape than I realised but I found it perfect for this occasion. It was probably in need of a cardi’ for the early breakfast in the outback (we were on the Ghan train and were woken early to watch the sun rise) but it was fine most other times – and it was worn lots. It survived getting soaked while I paddled at Bondi beach and still looked fairly respectable to the end of the holiday (unwashed I have to confess). Apart from maybe being able to cut a size smaller next time I don’t have any complaints about this pattern. Oh, apart from needing very long arms to get to the bottom of the pockets! I do intend to sew a seam across the pocket to stop everything going to the very bottom which should help in future.

Are they..?

Both wearing Barb!

I also made this up as the shirt, this time in a beige stripe. I wore this the day I went to meet Lesley (from SewNipTuck) and her husband Fergus in Manly who were both lovely, and it was great to be given a walking tour of Manly even though I had a sore foot/ankle which restricted it somewhat. The original pattern would have had this double layered beneath the seam midway down the body. I though this might be a bit much in this fabric so adapted the pattern so it’s just a single layer.I like it like that but would be prepared to try the original design in a finer fabric.

It was a funny moment when we realised we were both wearing Style Arc Barb trousers! I made mine in a brown linen stretch that had been in the stash for longer than was reasonable so I was very pleased that they were so well worn. Lesley had narrowed the legs on her pair, and turned up a cuff, which looked really good. I may steal that idea for another pair.

There’s another bloggers tale that goes with the Barb pattern. I got the pattern as a freebie (hurrah!) when I signed up for a newsletter from Style Arc. It languished in the computer until I decided I really needed to make some trousers – NOW!!!! Inevitably that is the moment you have problems. My file wouldn’t print properly so I sent an appeal to a couple of other people I thought had the pattern. Rhonda came through – but with a size 10. I was pretty confident I would need the 14 but she thought not. I cut a trial pair in some cheap stuff from the Rag Market with HUGE seam allowances so I could adjust. And adjust. They were massive. I made the linen up exactly as the pattern stated and they were great. If you haven’t tried Barb yet I strongly recommend you do!

I did meet Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (who was just gorgeous) and will detail more on another post because I have much to say about a book she recommended when we were together. There is even a photograph but I need to check that Celia is happy for me to post it before I do.

You might be forgiven for thinking that I haven’t done much since I got back – even taking Christmas into account – and you’d be right. I have been taking life very eaaasy. It’s lovely. There is stuff happening but at a much more relaxed pace than previously – and I am slowly starting to try to sort out my messy life and head. It’s going to take a while.

Bessie wearing Juliet

However, I have made a shirt. Another Style Arc – Juliet this time. I had admired this shirt when I saw the Demented Fairy’s version when we met to shop. I had exactly that fabric and it looked fabulous – but I wouldn’t be so mean as to do a direct copy. That’s just not nice. Anyway, Style Arc had another sale, I couldn’t resist buying more patterns (this has got to stop!) and this one was bought and printed. The fabric had been in the stash for so long it smelled a bit funny so I had to wash it before I was willing to work with it. Oh, the shame! It actually looks better on me than on Bessie at present – she is a little heavier than me at the moment (adjusting her dimensions is another of those jobs to be done) – but there has been no opportunity to take a picture of me wearing it so Bessie you get. I’m very happy with this (in a size 12 – what?how?why?) and I know it will be worn frequently despite needing to be ironed which isn’t my favourite pastime.

That’s more than enough for now, but I do have more posts in preparation so I might not be too long in coming back.

Keep warm out there!

Kim