Tag Archives: fabric

Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan

So my first finished garment of 2019 hits it right out of the park!

My perfect daytime ‘uniform’. Cute top, jeans, boots and a cardigan. I live in looks like this for everyday life!

Not only am I thrilled with the garment itself, but its made from stash fabric and a stash pattern, albeit the updated version.

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Noodlehead Petal Pouches

Hello there!  I do hope that the Christmas holidays, however you celebrate, or if you don’t, have been peaceful for you.

We’ve had the most wonderful time.  Christmas Eve was spent at The Lowry theatre watching the marvellous production of Doctor Dolittle.

Christmas Day we went out for Christmas lunch to a local restaurant with the in-laws, and it was stress free and just delightful.  The children even waited until late afternoon to open their gifts. (more…)


Stash stories – not stashing!

A couple of weeks ago I scored a complimentary ticket from the kindly folks at Linton Tweeds (swoon) to attend the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate.  I cannot tell you how much I was looking forward to a day off of mummy duties; petting yarn and getting elbow deep in the fabrics at Linton and Rosenbergs. (more…)


Newlook 6217 – my first TNT

This post is so overdue it’s ridiculous.  And it’s all been hanging on photographs!  Yesterday Summer agreed to take a couple of quick snaps as I was wearing my favourite of these tops, so here we go, at last.

I’ve already covered the fitting changes I made to this pattern here and, I’ll be honest, I’m still wearing that top on a regular basis, despite it’s imperfections.  It fits better than pretty much anything I’ve bought from a shop and is great to throw on when I’m running around the house with a pair of jeans doing chores.

I have, however, since then made 4 other versions, with varying degrees of success.  The success or failure of the finished garment has been purely down to fabric choice.

First up my favourite. This is a lovely sheer, lightweight cotton that has almost a cheesecloth texture to it.  The print is delicious, and it’s cool and lovely to wear as we head into warmer weather, but also a great layering piece with a cardigan for us women-of-a-certain-age!

The fabric is from deep stash and was gifted to me by my friend Christian, who is a seamstress with impeccable taste!  I’m glad I’ve finally got this one in my wardrobe and its in heavy rotation.

Second favourite is another fabric from deep stash, which I purchased yonks ago from Abakhan.  it’s a printed cotton jersey, and it’s my favourite for when I just need something comfy for dog walking or housework.  Love this top and it proves that this pattern is great for knits as well as wovens.

The first of the unsuccessful tops is this one.

The fabric is from the wonderful Stone Fabrics in Devon.  I bought this on holiday a couple of years ago, so again it’s good to get it out of the stash.  I’ve checked their site and the don’t seem to have any of it left.  Which is a shame because the fabric is beautiful, and the print is lovely.

Unfortunately I look like an extra from the Walking Dead in it.  It’s a really bad colour on me.

And finally is this lovely blue print.

Which is all the colours that look amazing on me.  But the fabric (a bargain bin purchase from Abakhan for very little money) is awful.  And clingy.  And just plan old nasty.

So I can happily say I’ve now got my first TNT pattern.  It’s such a useful little top I’m sure to make more.  However, on the sewing table at the moment is a Harris Tweed waistcoat for Dave, and the Imogen top in its second iteration with an FBA.  As the kids are back at school next week, I’m hoping to get some sewing done on both of them.


Sew Me Something Imogen Top – wearable toile

The Sew Me Something Imogen Top has been on my sewing list for what seems like forever.  And as I’ve a few lengths of pretty prints in my stash that are perfect for this top, I decided to make a quick toile to see what it looks like and fits like.

Fit is still a massive challenge to me, but for this top I decided to compare the measurements to a RTW blouse that gets heavy rotation.  Although the fit on the RTW blouse isn’t perfect, it’s still good enough, and it’s one of my favourite wears.

Taking some measurements from the RTW blouse, I decided to cut a straight size 20 and added 4″ to the length.  I’ve made no other adjustments to the pattern.

As you can see, it’s come up a bit long.  I will go back at some point and chop probably a couple of inches off the length.  That’s an easy enough fix and due to me being overly cautious – you can always shorten but it’s tough to add length once you’ve cut.

The bust is the problem area.  You can see drag lines pointing clearly to the bust, indicating that although, theoretically, this top fits around the circumference, it does need a full bust adjustment (FBA) to make it hang nicely.

I like the gathered neckline and elasticated cuff.

All in all, I really like this top.  It’s an easy wear and, although it’s been very shoddily sewn, as it was intended only to be a toile, it’s had several outings and a compliment every time it’s worn.

Construction wise, it’s simple enough, apart from the placket.  I couldn’t get my head around the instructions, but that could just be user error.  I’ll let you know the next time I make it.

For the next iteration, I’ll go do an FBA and the shorter length, and see what I end up with.  If it’s half as wearable as this toile version, then I’ll be a happy sewist!

Project notes

Pattern: Sew Me Something Imogen
Pattern cost: £16.00 (£9.00)
Fabric:    Blue print poly
Purchased at: Birmingham Market
Fabric Cost: £3.00 ish.  Not very much at all.
Photographs by Miss S. Jones iPhone 8


Newlook 6217 – version 2

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.

Project notes

Pattern:                                                                    Newlook 6217

Fabric:                                                                     Soft cotton lawn.

Colourway:                                                             Navy/taupe

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.

 


Stash

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!


Flamingo geranium top

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.

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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).

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Oh she looks so very, very tired.  Summer holidays can’t come quickly enough!

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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.

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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.

Project Summary

Pattern:              Geranium from Made By Rae

Pattern Cost:      $10

Fabric:                 Hawaiian-style flamingo print cotton

Fabric Source:   Fabrix, Lancaster

Fabric Cost:        £5.95/mtr


Summertime

….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…..

PRODUCT_longfellow_medium2_medium

This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Longfellow by Michele Wang which I’m knitting in Drops Alpaca in Navy (colour 5575) for Hubby.

dr_alpaca_5575_0_1_medium

There’s also a quilt to be layered ready for hand quilting:

quilt_top_1_edited-1

And a new bag kit that I received as a birthday gift from my in-laws:

petitesatchel

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.

Simplicity_1660_5

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.

 


BurdaStyle 130 – blue silk prom gown

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.

Katie_Prom_1She looked stunning, and I received a lovely message from her this morning telling me how happy she was with the dress and that it was much admired by her friends.  Phew!

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.

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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.

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When Katie collected the dress on Saturday morning it looked less than stellar on the hanger.

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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!

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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…

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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.

Katie_Prom_8If you’d asked me a week ago I’d have had choice words to say about this gown, but today, seeing the result and that beautiful, happy smile, I can safely say it was worth every single stitch.