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Tag Archives: fabric
One of the things that’s been missing in my life for many years is the time to regularly sew for myself. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just that life has been full of too many other things to allow me the time and brain space to as creative with fabric as I’d like.
But as the kids get older, and I shed obligations that no longer work with our life, I’m hoping to change the sewing situation.
I’ll have to admit that there’s one other thing that’s kept me from sewing quite as much as I’d like, and that is fit.
I’m have not yet mastered fitting myself. This isn’t just down to time, I think it’s also due to my ridiculously fluctuating weight over the past few years. I think I just have to acknowledge that this may continue for a while and embrace the need to carry out alterations or pass clothes on.
It became very clear to me recently in my adventures with Newlook 6217 that I still don’t have a clear plan of what I need to do to a pattern to get a half decent fit without multiple toiles.
This top is so, so simple to make. Two pieces. Four seams. Five hems. Nothing to it.
But as with all simple garments, fit is key as it has nowhere to hide.
My original unblogged version of this had been worn to rags, but had needed a little more room in the bust and a little less in the neck. It had also needed the shoulder and side seams shifting.
So I carried out the changes (thankfully I’d noted these down!) and now have the side seam exactly where I want it. The black line helps you see it, as it’s well hidden in the fabric pattern. I know it looks odd but that’s due to me carrying all my excess weight to my front.
It does look like I need a small sway back adjustment in the photo, but I’m sure that’s the way I’m holding my arm up to take an iPhone photo. I’m going to monitor that situation with future makes as in real life it doesn’t look as pronounced.
So I’m happy with that.
Having moved the shoulders, I’m still not happy.
The seam is still rolling to the front. I have appalling posture. Thank goodness I’ve got a yoga teacher coming next week!
Ok…on a top like this it’s easy to adjust the shoulder, so, I’ve done another seam adjustment for the next iteration.
I added another 1″ to the FBA. I didn’t want to add a dart to this top so I followed the instructions for the Y-shaped FBA in Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern. I removed the sleeve portion of the pattern before doing the alteration and it worked a treat.
As I’ve added a significant FBA to this top (a total of 6″), I’ve got some pooling above the bust.
I’ve pinched this out into wee darts to make this top wearable, and I’ve transferred this to the pattern.
I promise I’ve sewn them more evenly!
This second iteration is still very wearable.
Even with the fit flaws its still better than anything that I would buy off the shelf. And because of the FBA it fits around the bust but flatters across the tummy, rather than having too much fabric swimming about there.
The other joy is having a top that fits at hip level and actually covers the bits I want it to. At 5ft 7ins I have such trouble with RTW tops hitting too high and rising up in wear. This doesn’t do that!
I have another version cut out and ready to sew. It’s a knit fabric this time, which is really not the greatest idea when you’re perfecting fit, but was top of the fabric tub. I’ve also got another length of fabric washed and ready to go which will, hopefully, be the last wearable muslin to get me to my first Tried And Tested pattern.
Pattern: Newlook 6217
Fabric: Soft cotton lawn.
Purchased from: Preston market
Total cost: £4
Similar fabric can be found here: Croft Mill Fabrics*
*This is more spendy!
Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you! I only recommend goods or services that I am happy to use myself.
As the hoard of boxes were unpacked into the sewing room, it became more and more apparent that I had much more fabric in reality than in my head.
Much, much more.
There are 3 x 80 litre boxes and a Harrods hamper.
That’s too much fabric for my comfort. Quite a bit of it has been very kindly gifted to me, and there are some beautiful vintage wools that will force me soon to overcome my trepidation about coat making.
There are some bits and bobs for making things for the kids, which they’ve mostly grown out of as this stash has mouldered unloved, so will be used for cute pyjama bottoms for the winter.
But, lets be brutally honest here, most of it is stuff that I’ve bought on a whim over the past few years and has been scattered around the old loft and forgotten.
I was astonished at what I uncovered, so I took some time to catalogue and sort it all out.
I know there are several electronic options for curating your fabric collection, but I decided to go old skool.
A notebook and swatches.
I measured each piece of fabric and took a tiny snippet for the book. I’ve recorded what width the fabric is and how much of it I have
The beauty of this “system” though, is that as I leaf through the notebook, there is the tactile swatch that I can feel to remind me of the thickness and hand. Without the colour distortion that can occur with a screen.
At the back of the book is a total of the fabric I have at today’s date. It doesn’t include the 3 metres that are in the post to me. There’s currently 179.5m. I am mortified.
I’m going to track what goes in and what goes out. There needs to be more going out than in, for sure. I need to get the curtains and blinds sewn and then really dive into this stash and make some pretty things.
I’m off to sew curtains!
The majority of things I’ve made this year (and my productivity isn’t high at the moment) have been woolly socks for my lovely husband. However I’ve also been sewing for Miss Button, but getting her to pose for pictures has been a whole other ballgame. 8 is the new 14! Small girls are so stroppy!
However, en route to a friend’s party at the weekend, she was in a good enough mood for a quick 5 minutes of photos, despite the overcast and gloomy weather.
She’s mad for flamingos at the moment so I couldn’t resist this cute and colourful retro Hawaiian flamingo print. This is yet another geranium top (my fourth time with this fabulous pattern, I think).
Oh she looks so very, very tired. Summer holidays can’t come quickly enough!
I’ll be honest that I made no attempt at pattern matching. And because of this I managed to squeeze this top out of a metre of fabric. I had to skimp a bit on the gathering of the skirt. We’ve reached a tipping point where I need to start buying a bit extra fabric for her. She’s growing so quickly these days.
Ah….that’s my girl!
As always the Geranium was a quick and simple make that gives great results. The simple lines really show off the fabric at it’s best. This is a sweet pattern for little girls and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Pattern: Geranium from Made By Rae
Pattern Cost: $10
Fabric: Hawaiian-style flamingo print cotton
Fabric Source: Fabrix, Lancaster
Fabric Cost: £5.95/mtr
….and the living is busy!
So much going on here. The kids are on holiday from school now for 7 weeks. Already we have a playdate with friends and sleepovers at grandparents planned. A week at playscheme will be a good break for all of us, as will spending the last week with friends in Bedford. It’s hard to believe but when they go back in September Button will be in juniors.
Needless to say everyone is tired. Boy threw the mother of all tantrums this morning and after 3 hours (I kid ye not) of yelling and stamping and tears and throwing toys around the place he’s finally asleep. Button is enjoying the respite as much as I. Things will settle soon after a few days of chillin’.
Husband and I are shattered as, despite not completing the reno on this house, we’re thinking the best option might actually be to move!
I know….it was totally outta the blue for us too. But our current home is teeny tiny with a garden the size of a postage stamp. After a recent visit to our friends in Bedford and their half acre garden, Button would stand at our bedroom window wistfully wishing that we could knock the fence down between us and our neighbours. Add in that we have need of a home office and a dedicated sewing room and only one small room that could eventually be argued over and we decided it’s time. Trying to sew, eat and run a business from the kitchen table is getting old! We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at everything on the market that remotely fitted the bill. We think we may have found the ideal candidate. There’s another interested buyer so we may lose out…time will tell. I’ll let you know as things develop.
So, as you’d expect, there’s not much creativity happening here.
A little knitting…..
This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Longfellow by Michele Wang which I’m knitting in Drops Alpaca in Navy (colour 5575) for Hubby.
There’s also a quilt to be layered ready for hand quilting:
And a new bag kit that I received as a birthday gift from my in-laws:
Mine will be red leather.
That should keep me occupied over the holidays. I’m hoping to get a little time at the machine too. I’ve two lots of fabric for shirts for Boy and the yellow blouse is going to be remade for Button.
I’m planning a version of her Liberty blouse, this time with a pleated front as per her request.
I think it will suit her more than me!
I also have a couple of makes that need photographing. Perhaps we’ll have a day of nice weather soon and we can get out and about with the camera.
Priority for the next 7 weeks, though, is picnics and playing in the park. Reading and drawing. Visits to the zoo and museums. Playdates and pyjama days. Pretty much taking the days as they come. Hopefully without too many meltdowns! Either theirs or mine!
So posting will sporadic…I’m sure you’ll understand. In the meantime I’m off to do some colouring with a small girl. I’ll see you soon.
POSTED IN: craft projects, dressmaking, fabric, knitting, life in a Northern town, my family and other animals, patterns, yarn
POSTED IN: craft projects, dressmaking, fabric, knitting, life in a Northern town, my family and other animals, patterns, yarn
Despite the unusual 30+ degree heat here last week I managed to get the silk prom dress sewn in plenty of time and delivered on Saturday morning to a very happy neighbour. She popped round last night on the way to her prom to let me snap a couple of quick photos.
As I mentioned in my last post the pattern is BurdaStyle 12/2011 #130 and I made it in silk crepe backed satin in Royal Blue from Beckford Silk. I sewed the dress with the matte crepe side of the silk as the right side of the fabric. We both agreed it gave the dress a more elegant look.
As usual the instructions from the Burda pattern were ‘interesting’ and so I made some of the construction up as I went along!
As the silk is very lightweight I wanted to put as little weight as possible in the seams so I finished them with a ‘stitch and pink’ edging. French seams would have been beautiful but ran the risk of being simply too bulky and heavy. As this is an occasion dress that won’t get a great deal of wear, I’m not concerned about the seam finish not holding up to wear and tear.
The above photo shows the inside of the armhole which is gently held in place with herringbone stitch which catches just a couple of threads of the main fabric to hold it in place and is virtually invisible when you look at the finished dress.
The neckline facing and hem were hand-stitched in place, this time with teeny tiny slip stitches. I wanted them to look almost invisible from the outside…I think I succeeded.
When Katie collected the dress on Saturday morning it looked less than stellar on the hanger.
But…we’d had three fittings and I was confident that all would be well once the dress had been to the dry cleaners for a professional press.
I was right!
Being ultra critical there’s still a little wrinkling on the seams, but only us in the know will notice that and, let’s be honest, all eyes were on Katie, not the seams!
And, of course, the demure front of the dress hides a daring secret at the back…
I lengthened the neck tie, which threads through a casing at the neckline of the front bodice, to nearly 3 metres long to get this dramatic effect.
Hello m’dears. I’ve been absent for what seems like ages and thankfully this time it’s been down to having fun rather than coughing like a badger!
Last week was my birthday and Hubby took the week off work and we had a lovely time. Monday evening we celebrated with the family and the rest of the week we pootled and had outings and rounded the week off with a lovely Italian dinner and rather too much champagne.
This week I’ve got my nose to the grindstone. My neighbour has her prom a week from today and I’m making her a gown. I thought I had a lot of time….but, in typical fashion, I’d got the dates wrong and need this finished by the weekend!
I’m making her this BurdaStyle gown sans the rosette.
Her fabric is this beautiful silk crepe backed satin in royal blue from Beckford Silk:
This is the first time I’ve purchased from this company and I’ve been really pleased with the levels of customer service and the quality of this fabric.
The colour is saturated and whilst the fabric is, of course, a bear to cut, it’s a joy to stitch and feeds through the machine with no shenanigans. For which, in my current time constrained manner, I’m eternally grateful.
I’m sewing the medium weight silk for this dress and my preference would have been the heavier, but 16 year olds have definite ideas so who am I to argue?
Thankfully I’m on schedule (yep…I have a schedule for this one…no room for slippage on time) and I’ve just inserted a beautiful invisible zip…hence the time for a quick coffee break and a quick pop in here to say hello.
I’m off now to start on those pleats. Wish me luck…I’ll see you on the other side!
Over the last year I’ve been gradually whittling down my fabric stash. Some of my lovely readers have bought patterns and fabric from me…thank you. Some of it has been donated to the local charity shop.
Needless to say my stash is considerably smaller than this time last year.
As we’ve been packing up the sewing loft ahead of its conversion to a bedroom, I’ve also taken the time to sort the remaining fabrics into “summer fabrics I’ll sew now” and “winter fabrics that can go to the storage locker”. The majority of the winter fabrics are also fabrics that I want to wait to sew until I’ve got the new sewing room set up and all my tools and books out of storage and available to me for more complex garments.
This change of sewing venue has definitely had something to do with this new found love of a stashless state. My new sewing room will be about a third of the size of my old one. Necessity is the mother of invention, or, in this case, the mother of all stash clear outs!
Another impetus for permanently reducing my stash is the work I did with Wardrobe Architect and the realisation that a lot of the fabrics I had were unsuitable because of the changing needs of my wardrobe. I had been buying fabrics with my head still firmly in the corporate wear camp, whereas what I actually wear on a day to day basis is jeans and a top. I need more of these in my wardrobe and all my planned upcoming sews for myself will be items I’ll actually wear.
But the main reason I’m determined not to build a large stash again is the two blouses I showcased in my last post.
The blue is a fairly recent purchase, definitely this year.
The yellow was a gift from my lovely husband in 2012.
In 2012 I was a dark brunette. Now I’m very light blonde working my way back to my natural colour of badger grey. Had I made this blouse in 2012 the strong colour-way would have looked stunning against my dark hair. Now, its still a very pretty top, and I’ve had several unsolicited compliments from folk who aren’t family members and therefore obligated to be nice, but the blue is by far the better colour on me.
I’ve very little summer fabric left in the stash…one piece of which is another bold yellow piece that I bought whilst still dark haired. The jury is out on that piece at the moment. I’m not sure if it will stay or go.
But the fabric I’ve bought since the change of hair colour is all differing shades of blue, because blue is definitely the colour for me. And not only does it look better but I feel really confident in blue. Which can only be a good thing, no?
I love how even after all these years of sewing I’m still learning something new with every item I create.
And whilst a well stocked stash might be just the thing for some sewers, for me I’d much rather keep it to just the next couple of projects. Not only will this reduce erroneous purchases that I then need to sell on, but it will also, hopefully, help me build a coherent wardrobe of garments I’ll actually wear that work together to create cute, versatile outfits.
I rather like that sound of that!
Finally, finally, I’ve done some sewing for me. The sewjo has been on the missing list for far too long where I’m concerned, but last week it returned with a vengeance.
I’d been toying with buying the Sutton Blouse pattern from True Bias
Saving pennies wasn’t the only consideration; the sizing of the Simplicity pattern meant that I could get straight to sewing with minimal fuss. Aside from the time taken to tape the Sutton PDF together, I’d also have needed to do some grading as I fall outside their size range at the moment.
It was a complete no brainer!
I’ve made them both up using the hemline of version B and the sleeves of version A without the cuffs.
The first version is made up in a poly georgette from Abakhan that I bought ages ago from their oddments bin. I swear I didn’t pay more than £5 for this. In fact £2.50 is lurking in my head. I really must get better at recording this stuff. It was a beast to sew with…a very slippery customer…but is lovely to wear and the perfect fabric for this top.
S1660 is a really easy sew and, for once, I did things right and checked my measurements against the finished measurements and cut my size accordingly. The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to add 2″ to the length. The neckline is a bit closer on me than the diagram, so I shaved 1/2″ off the neckline on the second version. I think I need to shave at least another 1/2″ off future iterations as you’ll see.
The back has this cute overlapping v-neck and slight gathering into the yoke. The sleeves are cut as one with the body.
This is such a quick sew. Even with the fiddly fabric this was sewn in an afternoon.
Which was why I quickly cut out a second version from a fabric I’ve had in my stash for For. Ever! Christmas 2012 to be precise!
It’s a wonderful fabric to sew with, but be warned it creases almost as much as linen!
These pictures show how fabric choice influences how a pattern turns out. The poly georgette is one of the recommended fabrics on the pattern envelope. The voile is possibly just a wee bit structured for this blouse, but I still think it’s quite successful.
Summer tops are scarce in my wardrobe at the moment so both of these tops are in very heavy rotation until my next project is done. I’ve got Butterick 6024 cut out and ready to sew.
For quite a while now I’ve been longing for some enormous cushions for our sofas. The kind you can all snuggle into on movie night. Which can be thrown on the floor for small peeps to lie on. Which make a comfy place for you to rest your head for a quiet nap. Our 20″ cushions really weren’t cutting it, so when I saw the 26″ Inner cushion pad at Ikea, I snapped up 4 of them without hesitation.
I’d also been struggling to find some fabric which would co-ordinate with the existing curtains, was tough enough to stand up to family life, but which wasn’t so expensive that I’d have hissy fits every time a child went within 500 yards of it. Ikea came to the rescue with their Lenda fabric @ £4 a metre.
So far so good. At this point I’d only spent £28 on the cushion pads and 3 metres of fabric. I just needed thread and zips. But 26 ” zips retail at about £2.70 more or less. That’s £10.80 for the 4 zips…about 40% of the cost of the pads and fabric. I’m sorry…I’m not falling for that.
Enter the old soft-furnishers favourite secret….continuous zip.
You buy it off the roll in metres. It’s about a £1.00 a metre.
The little packs of sliders are about £1.30. They are really easy to attach…this video shows it very clearly.
So thanks to our good friend the continuous zip, I kept the cost down to about £8.50 per cushion and now we can squish on the sofas to our hearts content.
Result! Now I really must do something about the covers on those smaller cushions. 😉
When I bought the fabric for Button’s recent blouse I was hopeful that I’d have enough for a little gift for Alice (who-isn’t-a-cat, but that seems a bit redundant these days) who was expecting a little gift of her own.
Oh, she’s so lovely. My heart melts. What better way to welcome her than with a teeny tiny dress?
Of course the pattern is Rae’s Little Geranium Dress which is available for free in size 0 – 3 months. If you haven’t already fallen for this wonderful pattern (at which point I’m scratching my head and wondering if I should call a medic!) then this is a great way to test it out so you can realise the error of your ways!
This version is lined with white cotton lawn, to keep it soft against little skin.
Simple red buttons on the back.
A perfect gift for any little girl…especially one so adorable!