Six Point TeePosted: September 17, 2016 Filed under: Knitting, Patrones, Ravelry, Tops/Blouses, Uncategorized | Tags: Knitting, Ravelry, Tops 14 Comments
It has been a little while since I knitted this but I found it whilst sorting my wardrobe and remembered that not only had I not blogged it but I had extra yarn which I meant to sell.
This pattern was bought from Ravelry, and whilst most of the versions shown were made in the recommended Rowan All Seasons Chunky there were others that looked very good in other yarns. I knitted this in the 3rd size, to give a bust size of 41.5″ to give a very little positive ease. The yarn was easy to knit with, but being very chunky was a bit challenging to join where needed.
My top took about 5.5 balls (so 6 needed was correct) and I’m not entirely certain what I had intended to make with this yarn originally but I have 4.5 balls left. This quantity is sufficient to make this top in the smallest size (Bust 33 1/4) which needs 4 balls, or possibly the next size (Bust 37 1/4″) which claims to need 5.
I will knit this top again as it is really comfortable, and as you can see from the photographs works well with and without a t-shirt underneath. I think it would look good in a slubby cotton to give a softer, less firm, garment. I could certainly reduce the hip increases for me when I make this again – I really have pathetic hips!
This yarn is selling on this site at £7.20 a ball on this site ( I think I paid about that when I bought it but can’t find the receipt). If anyone would be interested in buying this from me I would be happy to accept £15 (about 50% cost) + whatever it costs to post.
Let me know if you are interested.
T-shirt/tunic CopyPosted: September 12, 2016 Filed under: Pattern Cutting, Tops/Blouses | Tags: Pattern Drafting, Tops 12 Comments
While I was in London in June I visited Uniqlo on Oxford Street. I had long admired the clothes in magazines and thought that although they are probably targeted at a younger market they were very much my style – or a style I would like to have.
Anyway, I did come home with two dresses and a t-shirt tunic which I have worn loads and is frequently admired. I knew I wanted more of the tunics and I had a self drafted pattern which was not too far from what I wanted. It took longer to find the blessed pattern than it did to make the changes I wanted to turn it into a ‘Not quite Uniqlo top’! Once tracked down I think the pattern took about 1/2 an hour max.
The fabric I used was the gorgeous soft jersey I bought in Birmingham on my visit with Naomi. I
had bought 2 metres (at a massive £1 a metre – ridiculous price for a lovely jersey but I’m not complaining) and only needed a metre. The stripes (for there are stripes) were very thin and fairly subtle so I didn’t make too much effort to pattern match. Despite that they don’t look too bad – no-one but another sewer would even be looking!
I will make this again in another fabric – all I need to do to make it really good (IMHO) is to narrow the shoulders a bit to look more like the original and move the bust darts up a fraction.
Am I happy?
One for me, one for himPosted: August 16, 2016 Filed under: Dressmaking | Tags: Dressmaking, Shirts, Tops 18 Comments
I have been having quite a nice time around clients doing stuff for me – and him. I am doing my absolute utmost to sew from stash – including all the odds and sods needed to complete – so when I manage that I’m very happy.
The Management is very tolerant of my fabric habit so he does deserve some reward occasionally. I decided that I would get stuck in on the fabric I bought to make shirts for him. It’s actually very easy as he prefers to wear short sleeved shirts so no problems with plackets and cuffs – even the collar is pretty easy since these are ‘soft’ dressmaker shirts rather than having a really stiff collar.
I got the lovely penguin fabric out as I really wanted to start with that – and *damn it* there wasn’t enough! I hadn’t checked the width when I bought it and it isn’t the 150cm wide I assumed it was. Pants. I will try to buy another 1/2 meter next time I’m inn Birmingham which will solve the problem (or make something for me….). After that I was a bit huffed but decided to plough on with the stripe. It had been pre washed and was ready to go and there was loads of this as I had thought it would be good as pj’s but he preferred the idea of it as a shirt. The pattern is self drafted (but is similar to McCalls 6044) and has been made so many times I know I can just cut and go so it is a really nice easy garment to make. He seemed pretty happy with it – and the penguins will be next.
The next item from stash has been a bit out of season – but I really wanted to try the pattern and make up this fabric. It is the leopard knit from the last trip to Birmingham – the one where I wasn’t going to buy anything, remember? I would blame Fairy but I really didn’t need any encouragement. My original intention for this fabric was the twisted jumper from Pattern Magic but I really wanted to make Fadanistas sneaky shrug. I loved the shape, and that it could be worn either way up (honest, make it and give it a try!), even inside out if you take the time to neaten the sleeve hem. This shrug is pattern gold – and Sue has given not only the pattern dimensions but also a tutorial on her blog. It looks a bit complicated at first but the trick is not to over think it. It took about an hour to cut out and sew. Sadly it is too warm again to model it (what is it with British weather?) so I have asked the lovely Bessie to show it off. I know I am going to wear this loads – and the bonus is that there is almost certainly enough fabric left to still make up the twisted jumper. Score!
So, the shirt used up 1.5m, and the shrug 1.8m so 3.3m used – only a couple of hundred meters to use up!
Keep sewing 🙂
Two things for me!Posted: March 9, 2016 Filed under: Closet Case Files, Dresses, Dressmaking, Independent Patterns, Maria Denmark | Tags: Closet Case Files, Dresses, Dressmaking, Independent Patterns, Maria Denmark, Tops 34 Comments
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.
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!
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.
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!
Another Jasper…and other stuffPosted: October 27, 2015 Filed under: Aspire Channel Swim, Dressmaking, Fabric Stash, Independent Patterns, Janome Coverstitcher, Paprika Patterns, Swimming | Tags: Coverstitcher, Dressmaking, Exercise, Fabric, Independent Patterns, Paprika Jasper sweater, Swimming, Tops 14 Comments
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.
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.
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.
My daughter was home this weekend and admired the hoodie while I was wearing it so that is a
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.
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.
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 SmockPosted: October 21, 2015 Filed under: Dressmaking, How I..., Make an artists smock | Tags: Dressmaking, Smock, Tops 19 Comments
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).
Stitch the pockets into place on the front piece, like below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While it isn’t essential I like to stitch around the top edge as I think it gives a neater finish.
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.
This is what it looks like from the right side at this point….
…. 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.
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.
Once sewn you can see how the gusset makes a triangle shape in the underarm which allows free movement.
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!
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 SweaterPosted: October 6, 2015 Filed under: Dressmaking, Independent Patterns, Paprika Patterns | Tags: Dressmaking, Tops 18 Comments
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.
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…..
Hey presto!Posted: August 19, 2015 Filed under: Dressmaking, Independent Patterns, Savage Coco | Tags: Dressmaking, Presto Popover top, Savage Coco, Tops 19 Comments
Can I just tell you how happy I am? I mean really, really happy.
I saw the pattern for Savage Cocos Presto popover top a while back on Fadanistas blog and thought it looked great, then again on Shams blog and knew I had to buy it. I loved the simple shape, but it was different to most t-shirt style tops you see offered. Shams is a similar shape to me (but with less tummy lumps) so I knew when she made it and was happy with a fit almost straight off the basic pattern I could be in luck. This pattern turned out to be my unicorn pattern. I made the large size directly from the pattern. No changes. Not a one. What do you think?!
The fabric is a very fine viscose single knit jersey that I bought several weeks ago with the intention of turning it into my basic t. It is magnificently soft and was not expensive so I bought it in this cream, pale pink, and a soft peach. I knew I had previously bought t-shirts from GAP in a very similar fabric – and then remembered that they were relegated to bed wear as they felt too fine for general use. Doh!
I downloaded the PDF over the weekend and taped and traced on Monday night. I cut the fabric out yesterday after I finished client work with the intention of making it today. It took about an hour. Yes, an hour – and that included threading all three machines in the correct thread. Zippy make.
The fact that this t-shirt has a double front as part of the design meant that I had found a use for this lovely, but currently unloved fabric. I cut the back double too (though the pattern can be made up with a single back) but left the sleeves as a single layer. The collar/neckline can be left to ‘flop’ or if the fabric plays ball can be made to look like a shawl collar.
The weather here in Bewdley has turned cold and wet today so the double layer t-shirt is fabulous as it just adds a little bit of extra warmth without actually conceding that autumn may be sneaking up on us (I did see that the trees are starting to change colour on Monday). I know I have some brown merino wool jersey that I bought and decided was too fine for the project I had intended it for in the stash. I think I have just found its purpose.
I will do my best not to bore the pants off you all with this pattern but I honestly think I have struck gold. A pattern that needed no alterations. Whatever will they think of next!
T-Shirt take 2Posted: August 15, 2015 Filed under: Dressmaking | Tags: BWOF, Dressmaking, Tops 21 Comments
After making the grey version of the Kristina Shin t-shirt I was pretty happy with the fit but knew there were a few minor changes I wanted to make. This week I made the alterations to the pattern and made this version in a snake print viscose jersey from stash. You may recognise it from this dress (heavens, my hair has changed).
For this version I changed the neckline shape and I am much happier. I don’t feel I look very good in a close fit ‘jewel’ neckline. I also made a very small FBA , I did not stitch what could have been a dart but eased it between markers I made on the pattern. That gives a much nicer finish when you wear it – after all, with few exceptions you don’t tend to see darts in t-shirts. I did add a little width to the front but not enough to make the front stand away from my body which was one of my main complaints about RTW. This version is also about an inch longer. Not much I admit but I think it looks better, and I am less likely to expose my waist (what waist!) if I reach up.
I am now very happy with this pattern and it has been put in a packet and filed away under winner. I will no doubt use it to make more incarnations as I really wear t-shirts a lot.
In addition to this for me, and client work which is going pretty well at the moment, I decided I really needed to finish off some of the organisation that I had started. Years ago I started to copy the pages in Burda which showed the tech drawings of the patterns for that month so that I could search without having to get all the magazines out (though that can be fun!). Whilst I can rarely use a Burda pattern straight from the sheets I do occasionally use the instruction booklet to see what the shape of the pattern pieces is so that I have some help with pattern cutting from my own blocks. I don’t subscribe to Burda anymore so it was a finite task, and one that I knew wouldn’t take too long.
Result! All of the magazines are now collected into one box and the necessary pictures are in a folder . Picture me on the sofa with my Burda folder for inspiration, and the stash folder (which I really must get on with again, not finished yet) to check to see if I have something to make the desired garment in. Sounds pretty organised – I wonder if it will actually work.
I have another project planned now and will get back as soon as I have something to show you.
Vogue 2948 finishedPosted: May 5, 2015 Filed under: Craftsy, Trousers/Jeans, Uncategorized | Tags: Craftsy, Pattern Drafting, Tops, Trousers 16 Comments
Finished – but again I am not entirely happy with the result. I think part of the problem is that they have taken an unreasonably long time for ‘a pair of pants/trousers’. You might remember that I have been watching the Craftsy course ‘Pant fitting’ by Sandra Betzina. This Vogue pattern is in new sizing which relates better to todays figures (hence the name) but that didn’t mean that it would match everyone. That means me. Again.
The Craftsy course is pretty comprehensive, and I found it easy to follow the alterations that were demonstrated. I think that the Craftsy platform is pretty good, even if (or especially if) you are fairly new to sewing or pattern alteration as you can watch the video lessons as many times as you need to, and also ask questions which should be answered by the tutor. The whole course is worked around Vogue 2948 (included in the cost of the course) which is an ideal trouser for adjustment since it has princess seams and a yoke. The more seams available the easier a garment is to adjust.
I cut the size that appeared to fit my hips, having adjusted the pattern to be larger around my waist. All looked well, and I tried them on with the sides tacked to fit. CLOWN PANTS! I really couldn’t believe it – these were big. I checked the original pattern pieces and whilst I could find the finished waist size (3cm ease allowed) and the finished length I couldn’t find the finished hip size. Maybe I was just losing heart by then. One of the things that is stressed throughout the course is to avoid ‘over fitting’ – ie. taking out all the wearing ease to give a ‘skin fit’. We have all seen people wearing clothes like this and it is never a good look. Anyhow, I repinned and sewed the seams, fitting the zipper and just wanting to get this project to finish. (More haste…). See what you think.
The fabric wasn’t expensive – this was intended as a wearable muslin – it is a basket weave polyester that I found in the £2 a meter pile at Barrys in Birmingham. These are good enough to wear, but not anywhere ‘special’. I am not sure what I was doing here – the pattern by size and adjustment should have been OK but it looks as if I have made them to grow into and I would rather not if you don’t mind! I hadn’t used a side zipper in pants (rarely in skirts either) and find I don’t really like it. I could try these again with the back zipper option but I don’t think I like the pattern enough to do so.
Since I was a bit fed up after making these I decided to have a bash at a quick project. Step up ‘ By Hand London’ Polly top. This looked perfect for my shape as I could make a top that fitted well over my bust but easily take in at the waist/hip so that it didn’t poke out in front. Again the sizes didn’t match me at all. I chose a bust, then the waist was up one size, and the hips went down two sizes from the waist. The finished measures looked better – the bust was the largest size, going down one for waist, and down again for hip. I printed, taped, traced off my size (Pffft!) and then went ahead in the scrap I had found to try out. Can I just say I am currently feeling deformed. I love the pattern, and it is clearly a very popular choice around blogland, but it isn’t for me. If anyone out there would like the taped PDF (and the white/blue poly trial in a 16) let me know and I will send it out happily.
Rather than going through lots of full bust alterations in order to make commercial patterns fit properly I have decided to get back to pattern cutting. I use this to make the patterns for my clients so it is about time I sorted my own blocks out again and got on with making my own patterns to fit my own clearly unique shape!
For anyone who doesn’t have a pattern cutting background and wants a great site to find out how to alter patterns for a full bust head over to Communing with Fabric where Shams (who has a very similar body shape to me) has already done a sterling job in explaining what is needed.