Once you choose hope, anything is possible.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Quick homestyle sewing projects

I've completed a couple of quick homestyle projects.

Bottom of small pouf
I used the original base I cut for the Closet Case Floor Pouf, cut a plain top the same size and used some large upholstery scraps to make 4 side panels. It's about 15.5" high. (It was originally taller but I cut it down to a better size).

Top of small pouf
I've skipped the piping and you can see it does not look as smart. This time I've filled it with an old beanbag (still in its cover) which makes it much lighter and easier to move.

** A couple of thoughts on the original pouf after using it for a few days. It is really heavy. I used stretch denim for 3/4 of the panels. They stretch out in use and the pouf distorts a bit. The covered button looks good but is really hard underneath my legs.

The second project is so easy its hardly worth mentioning, but I find it so useful, so others might too.
It is a long thin bag for holding rolls of Christmas wrapping paper (holiday gift wrap).

It has a squared off base and a ribbon loop for hanging. I hang it on a hook in my understairs cupboard. It is a simpler version of the cream one I originally made in 2014, which was not large enough for all my rolls of paper.

I've now got Christmas gift wrap in the tartan bag and birthday/plain in the cream bag which avoids them getting squashed and makes it quicker to find the right paper for the task.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Teal Simplicity 8175 Midi Skirt

I used Simplicity 8175 as the starting point for my skirt, but its not an accurate review of the pattern.

I had some fabric left from cutting out the Burda Teal trousers which looked very skirt shaped to me. Of course there was not enough to fully cut this pattern with its curved waistband and so on so this is what I did.
Used the main front and back pieces, but cut the front on the fold and added at the upper edge where the deep shaped waistband would be (removing seam allowance of course). Marked darts to go back to the original shape.
Used the pockets from New Look 6216 (which are one piece) which I cut from lining and then added a strip of teal fabric just for the pocket opening (stitched on top).
Added a full lining, moved the split to the back as I had cut the front on the fold.
Cut a narrow straight waistband, which I did need to piece at the end for the underlap.
Invisible zip inserted at the back between the skirt and lining, and a button and buttonhole on the new waistband. Omitted the tie belt.
It is now a very classic lined skirt, though in a midi length.

I started this a couple of weeks ago and it was interrupted by the PR Sewing Bee, so good to have got back to it and got it finished.

With the Ink coloured knit top
 Side showing pocket
 Back showing zip and button
 back on hanger
 Front on hanger
 Lining back
 Lining front

I also went back and altered the teal knit trousers by removing the waistband, cutting off excess length and reattaching waistband. These fit better now but are still very casual.

Here's all the teal pieces so far.

I did wonder about even more so dug through the fabrics
top left - knit fabric in 2 shades of teal could be a casual tee
top centre - stripe woven could be a blouse
top right - light background with teal print for a knit top
bottom left - ink satin (so not really teal!)
bottom right - dark teal knit already used for a tee (could be a dress)

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Prima Magazine April 2010 Blazer/Jacket

For a long time I subscribed to the UK women's magazine Prima as it had a free sewing pattern included. These are often simple to sew and many have a Kibbe Natural vibe to them.
Although I ceased my subscription last year I still have a back catalogue to access.
(They are often available on ebay in the UK)

I couldn't find this anywhere on line so have scanned my own copy. I'm planning to sew it up in an INK stretch woven fabric

The patterns are printed on both sides of a single sheet of newspaper but don't overlap so are easier to trace than Burda. They are normally sized for 10-20. A short set of instructions (with pictures) and a layout diagram are also printed on the pattern paper (sometimes inside a pattern piece).
This would be a step up from my simple cardigan jackets without being too complex, so I am going to give it a try. I'm impressed that it has a two piece sleeve and seprate pattern piece for the undercollar.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

INK Knit Top

Ink knit top, made from New Look 6735 . Very much a supporting act, but the shape and neckline work well on me and with one of my self made necklaces.

The necklace was made in August 2016
Here's this little collection so far

Monday, 4 February 2019

SWAP 2019 and Spring 6PAC - INK colourway

My next project is underway and it is in the INK colourway. This could be imagined I suppose as navy blue but its got a slightly teal edge to it and is very dark. It reminds me of the colour of the Blue-Black Parker Quink Ink in bottles we used for our fountain pens at secondary school in the early 1980s.

I am currently working on the INK knit top which is New Look 6735, the only pattern I have loved so much I have bought it twice at full price.

INK is about as bad as sewing black on dark winter evenings and presumably will photograph like black as well, but I'll still share it.

P.S. I did not pass through into Round 3 of the PR Sewing Bee but that's cool (if slightly disappointing) as it lets me go back to sewing up my plans.

Closet Case Ultimate Scrap Busting DIY Fabric Floor Pouf - finished

I covered a button blank with a scrap of thin denim and sewed it to the middle of the pouf.
Plus I fed it lots and lots of scraps, a test garment, and old dressing gown and a threadbare towel.
It now looks like this.
It is really heavy but great to sit on, put a tray on but mostly to put your feet up on. Its large enough that both DBF and I can get our feet on it at the same time.

Note: it is really heavy once stuffed with scraps so does need carrying with both handles when trying to move it!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Closet Case Ultimate Scrap Busting DIY Fabric Floor Pouf

Before I started on the PR Zipper challenge I was working on the Closet Case Ultimate Scrap Busting DIY Fabric Floor Pouf.

The directions say to sew using a 3/8" seam allowance but the pattern piece has 5/8" marked. I went with 3/8"  but my top section came out larger than the bottom. So I would suggest making the top first and then cutting the bottom to fit (then if the seam allowances are a bit off it'll still fit).
Also do make sure you sew pieces together to make 2 halves, I ended up with 3 thirds and it was tricky to do that last seam!

Mine is almost finished. Its 4 inches taller then the original (and somewhat wider due to the seam allowance thing). I added two handles, which are great for moving it about.

I plan to add a covered button to the centre to hide the mess where they don't meet neatly. And I will be adding lots more scraps (don't worry I have them!) to fill it out and make it nice and firm.

However this is what it looks like so far.
The plain dark blue denim was taken from actual jeans. These were thicker and had no stretch. all the other denim turned out to have some stretch which made the sewing quite interesting.
The floral denim was some jeans I sewed for myself but did not wear much because the floral was a bit much.
The light denim and grey looking denim are the right and worng sides of some 'reverse' denim that is pale on the right side with dark on the wrong side. The threads are indigo and off white but read as shades of grey here. The handles are in the floral denim. The base is in the dark side of the light denim. The zip on the base came from an old coat and is very chunky.
The inner lining is made from an old sheet and some cord from an old blind. Lots of recycling going on in this project.
I will share again once I've done the central covered button and fattened it up by feeding it even more scraps!

Thursday, 31 January 2019

PR Sewing Bee Round 2 ; Zippers

2019 Sewing Bee - Round 2: Sew a Garment with Zipper(s) being the primary focus.
I was initially overloaded with ideas of what I could do with zippers. I then checked my stash of zips and fabrics and couldn’t work out how to get any of them to be my vision. I went to my local fabric store which had some fabrics which appealed and a strip of zipper tape with no slider or stopper. I put these with my stash zips and used them for the garment.

I decided I wanted to use different types of zips on my garment, and use them both in functional and decorative ways.
The main body of the jacket is a black and red textured woven fabric. The sleeves are a jacquard knit which reminded me of zipper teeth, the cuffs and back yoke are from another jacquard knit which resembles the stopper at the end of a zipper. I’ve used a long zip for the main closure as well as a strip of zipper tape as piping to emphasize the seam lines on the jacket front. I’ve replaced the pockets on the pattern with zipped pockets of my own design.

Inside the jacket lining, I have included a hidden pocket with a zip which I’ve made large enough for a passport, cards, small wallet or keys etc. I thought this feature would be handy for travelling or being out and about without a handbag/purse.

The jacket is fully lined with a bagged lining.
I also made a detachable zipper flower with a pin on the back. It was really hard to stitch through all the layer of zipper tape with a hand needle and I ended up using pliers. It is probably too much when worn with this jacket, but it would be a fun piece on a plainer garment.

Functional Zippers - used opening zipper, 2 zipped pockets and a hidden pocket.
Decorative zippers - zipper tape used as piping in front seam and also for a flower brooch/pin
Fabric - some inspired by the teeth and stopper of zippers

Pattern Description:
McCall’s 7694: Misses’ jacket and vest: Loose-fitting, lined jacket and vest have front zipper, back yokes, back pleats, and length, sleeve, and pocket variations.
I decided to do the longer body with sleeves (a hybrid of the two views) as longer jackets tend to look more proportional on me. I also decided to use 3 different outer fabrics and 2 different lining fabrics so needed a little checklist of which pieces were to be cut from which fabrics.

Pattern Sizing:
6-22. I measured my bust/waist/hips and was closest to the size 22. However I then measured my high bust which was between 16 and 18, and looked at the finished measurements where the 18 seemed to give adequate ease in View B. As this pattern is described as loose fitting it seems to have quite a lot of ease included. I decided to cut a Size 18 with a few alterations.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes with the merging/adaptations I made.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Mostly yes, there are 8 pages of them including alterations. Because I used parts of two different views and some of my own additions I had to change things around a little.
I would have liked better markings for the bottom of the opening zipper (no marking on tissue but a measurement given in the instructions).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved that the alterations are included in the instructions and on the tissue as this makes it easier to get a better fit. I also liked the two piece collar and modern vibe.

Fabric Used:
Black and red woven suiting fabric, and two red and black jacquard knits, red polyester lining for the body and red knit lining for the sleeves and yoke.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
High round back alteration
Full arm alteration
Merged two views to get the style I wanted.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This was a challenging garment for me to sew but I would sew it again in a different fabric to change up the look.

I sew a lot of simple projects and this was a stretch for me.
I made lots of pocket samples and had a previous front jacket I had to scrap due to pocket problems, thankfully the shop had more fabric and zips to try again.
I bought extra fabric on my second trip so am planning a whole capule around this jacket using these fabrics and plain black, plain red.

I'm really glad that I embraced this challenge. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to try new things with zips.

The results of this round are announced on 3rd Feb with the details for the next round being published on 4th Feb.

Kibbe - In terms of Kibbe Natural clothing, I have to admit I chose this pattern for the strong use of the asymetrical zipper not necessarily the silhouette, however as its loose fitting with an open neckline and fairly long I think its not too bad for a Natural.

Colouring - There are some reds and blacks in my Sophisticated palette which blend quite well with this jacket.
One of the nearly blacks is actually a Signature colour for me as my hair is mostly fairly dark still. To wear the reds I need to wear a red lipstick.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Fabric and pattern for PR Bee Round 2

These are the three fabrics I have chosen for the PR Bee Round 2.

I'm using a mixture of the two views (which is really confusing from an instructions angle).
I've cut everything out and done the first few steps. I stopped though when it came to doing the welt pockets quite late in the evening as I was aware I was not very sharp and was unlikely to get a good result.

As far as I know I've not done welt pockets before (despite sewing for many years), and a contest is perhaps not the ideal time for a new pattern and new techniques.

The black and red doesn't work with my SWAP colours/inspiration at all. Being me I had planned (on paper) a whole 6PAC around the jacket, and was going to return to the fabric shop for more yardage to execute it, but I think instead I might mix the project scraps with plain red and plain black already in the stash. Or it may be that once I've finished the jacket I can't bear that colourway anymore and switch to the navy part of my SWAP.

Black and red is a bit strong for my colouring, so will need red lipstick when worn.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Sewing project decisions

I have 3 projects I want to do, but they all use different coloured thread, so I will need to do them in a sensible order to achieve my targets.

Started first but going last is a dark teal skirt made from the scraps of the dark teal trousers.
It is loosely based on Simplicty 8175
Due to fabric shortage I've done the pockets and waistband differently but it will have a similar look once complete. This is cut out (including a lining) and I've made the pockets on the skirt front.

The second project I've started is using denim scraps/old jeans to make a pouf as per the Closet Case Patterns - https://closetcasepatterns.com/fabric-floor-pouf-free-sewing-pattern/
On this one I have cut out all the pieces for the top, bottom and side panels and overlocked the straight edges on all the pieces. I've also learned how to make bias strips and use them to make piping and constructed enough piping using a denim scrap and some cotton washing line to go round the pouf. As far as I know this is my first time making piping despite all the time I've been sewing! I've also made an inner bag from an old blue sheet and sorted all the scraps ready for them to go in as filling.
This project will be second to be sewn up.

My third project is for the PR Sewing Bee round 2, and for this one I bought new fabrics and a new pattern, which is not normally a great thing to do but I had a vision in my head and needed a new pattern to bring it to reality. This is in black and red fabric and will include some new to me techniques so hoping that does go OK!
I'm going to work on that one first in order to achieve the bee deadline.

Learning new things is hard but it helps keep the brain young, so that's what I'm trying to do.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Pattern Review Sewing Bee Rounds 1 and 2

So the winner was announced


her entry was beautiful containing a lot of beautifully executed hand embroidery and a detailed story of her inspiration.


I was also happy to see my name in the list of those who scored well enough to move on to the next round.

The next challenge is Round 2: ZIPPERS! Show us how you incorporate them not only for function but also as a creative element in any garment you create for this challenge.

I have a great many ideas in my head about this but I haven't yet distilled it in any form!
A selection here:-

If I could adapt something already in my plan that would be nice and tidy.
Trousers could have zipped pockets and zips at the ankles
Hoody could have a diagonal zip (I have a suitable Ottobre pattern) but is a bit too cardigan-y after the last round.
Anything could have loads of extra pockets
I buy and wear Craghoppers clothing for travelling. Their clothes don't always fit that well but they do have loads of pockets, I really like my culottes with hidden pockets for warm locations.
I have a Saf-T-Pockets pattern that I could use for the pocket ideas.
A jacket or coat would probably make the most statement, but the colour and zips need to show up well in photos which means probably not my dark navy suiting fabric!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Teal print and plain knit top

I managed to cut the front and neckband for this top out of the remnant left from the cardigan.
I placed the strong turquoise motif at the front neck. The neckband came from what was left. The sleeves and back are from a dark teal viscose knit, hopefully the mixed fibres won't be an issue for laundering later. I'm really pleased with how I was able to use up all but the smallest scraps of this pretty print fabric.

However I may not wear the top, cardigan and scarf all together!

This is the scoop neck top from New Look 6735 with the sleeves lengthened slightly. Size 18 with full bicep and forward head alterations.
This is my favourite top pattern of all time, so much that I rebought the pattern as the original was just falling apart.
So I now have 7 teal pieces sewn which has caught me slightly by suprise, though in a good way.
I have a teal lined skirt cut out but no sewing has begun yet! So that's my next project I think.

Teal Knit Trousers

In the pile of teal fabrics I had one of my overdye experiments*. A medium weight cotton knit with a clear right/wrong side seemed too small for anything and a rather odd shape. However once I had space to lay the fabric out neatly I could see one end was cut at an angle but the other end wasn't as bad. I allowed the selvedges (which were just where a tube had been cut open) to fall where they wished and there was enough to just cut out some knit trousers though the pockets have been omitted.
I've used New look 6216 for these.

I omitted the pockets by laying the pocket piece over the front when cutting out.
I changed the construction order to allow me to coverhem the hem flat.
Sew front leg to back leg on the outer leg seams, turn up and coverhem a 1 inch hem.
Sew front to back leg on the inner leg seams. Insert one leg into the other (right sides together) and sew the crotch seam in one line of stitching. sew seams in waistband, stitch one side waistband to top of trousers. Fold and stitch the other edge of the casing, leaving a small opening for elastic. Insert elastic and sew up the gap. Overlock the waistband.

These are very casual trousers ideal for lounging or winter PJs as the fabric is medium weight knit and quite warm. It doesn't have great recovery however so I expect baggy knees and seat may be an issue, however that's fine for lounging!
Here's all the recent teal pieces. I have a top to share next.

*overdye experiments. I enjoy using Dylon machine dyes and will sometimes throw a remnant of fabric in with another dye load, fabrics sometimes go in a few times until they've reached a colour I like. Its been a fun way to take some too bright/too warm/strange colour fabrics and make them work for me. Plain fabrics with high cotton, viscose or linen content can eventually end up as dark teal, dark burgundy or dark chocolate brown, print fabrics are often a lot less successful I have found.

I think this fabric was originally white, and given the depth of colour has probably been through 2 dye loads and is 100% cotton.

Friday, 18 January 2019

PR Sewing Bee Round 1: Sew a Knit Cardigan inspired by the Pantone color of the year - Living Coral

 The inspiration and the implementation.
 Worn open
 Worn Belted
 Back view
 On the dressmaker's dummy
 3/4 shot
Kinder Cardigan pattern used for this project.

I'll find out on 23rd Jan if I am through to the next round.