Black Lives Matter

Monday 31 August 2009

Wearing the WiaW clothes

Here I am wearing the various WiaW items, and I have mixed feelings about them, I think the cowl neck top is still too large in the upper body/shoulders, and I'm not sure either top works with the waistcoat.
Anyway I do like all the items individually, though I am not sure whether the waistcoat is better with the tops tucked into the trousers or left untucked. Also I wonder if the waistcoat should be slightly longer next time I make it - my waist is about 1.5 " below where the 'waist' is on the waistcoat, so I could do with lengthening it slightly I think.

Sunday 30 August 2009

NewLook 6958 waistcoat

I just finished my last item for the wardrobe in a week (WiaW).
It's a little fitted waistcoat from an old pattern in my stash - NewLook 6958 - undated but as it also includes pleat front pants and a loose long shawl collar jacket I am thinking early 90s.
Anyway the little waistcoat seems quite a current shape again. I made the front and back from the leftovers from the stripe trousers and the lining from a diamond pattern lining. Added purple buttons. I am missing a little belt buckle from the back, I have some my MIL gave me which I can't locate tonight but will hopefully add on later.
Sorry its just another hanger shot, but it does fit nicely, just have to see if it does work with the cowl tops or not in reality.
Also just for Kiltsnquilts, a picture of the PURPLE bag which I bought myself as my prize to go with this capsule.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Simplicity 4638 Pants

Simplicity 4638 Pants in stripe suiting remnant. Finished. Just a quick hanger shot, (slightly lopsided - the legs ARE the same length really) and a peek at the purple bag I bought to go with this capsule.

Thursday 27 August 2009

Cowl top 2

The team managed to overcome a major block on our work project today so we only had one small piece of evening work which worked straight away (yay!) and afterwards I had some time to sew a little bit.

I finished off this top which I had cut out and started to sew earlier in the week which although not the shirt I had originally planned, and which I will finish after my holiday, is going to be a great addition to the wardrobe.

This top is from a semi sheer black poly, very drapey (almost micro mesh) which has on the fabric tiny sparkly silver bits - not sure how its done but they don't come off when cutting or sewing so are integral to the fabric.
This is one of those tops that if you had the lifestyle for it, could go into your bag during the day at the office, and then for the evening you could nip into the ladies and make the switch to sparkly eveningness.

As the fabric was semi sheer, the body is made of two layers, but the sleeves only one. The front and back are self faced with just a fold for the neckline. I will check for underwear show through in strong light though :-)

no progress

Update for those wondering why I am not sewing.

I have been working parts of every evening from home on top of long days in the office and have not managed to do anything more than put my laptop in the sewing room whilst I work.

We are doing a large computer system build at work for a client on tight deadlines and sewing does not feature in the plan. I am fortunate in that I don't have to work all through the night like some others.

Anyway it means that I have got nowhere with my WiaW sewing. The work stuff is going on right through the weekend as well so unlikely to be able to catch up then either.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Embroidery 2

Tonight I wanted to try something a bit more grown up so did these teal flowers on the cuffs and one upper front of a stripe shirt I am going to make up for myself. I think I might add a few beads to the shirt body one.

I kept all the ambroidery in shades of teal in the hope that it would keep it from looking to cutesy, but still be enough to soften the slightly harsh lines of the stripe shirting.
I dare say we will see if this is the case when I make it up.

The teal flowers took ages, and compared to the small embroideries I did yesterday were fiddly to remove the excess stabiliser, and the thread kept unthreading and so on. So these took about an hour and three quarters I think.

Embroidery 1

I embroidered these which are a present for our niece. Must get them posted.
I bought plain items and added a little touch to make them a bit more fun.

I hope she likes the teapot, slice of cake and simple flower embroidery.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Cowl neck top completed

Here's the completed top. I took a seam/dart in the back neck to pull it in there ad it hangs more nicely now. I can see this being a very useful top for wearing with work suits, the drape will show when the jacket is done up but will give interest to the top when I take the jacket off.

Friday 21 August 2009

Friday's progress

Work intervened in the WiaW. I didn't leave the office until 6:45pm and then needed to connect back in twice during the evening to check on progress (or not). And that didn't help with the sewing at all.
Two more work meetings on Saturday. These people obviously don't realise the importance of WiaW!!

Let's see how the weekend and the work week pan out, but I fear my sewing time is going to be severely impacted :-(

The black and white slinky drapes beautifully but is a PITA to sew. I think it will make a nice top though if I get some more time to work on it.

WiaW progress

The prep week for the wardrobe in a week has finished.

I am not quite done but have cut out,
McCall's 5522 blouse in white shirting with teal and purple stripes
Simplicity 4638 Slim leg pants in black with teal and purple stripes
Modified hotpatterns cowl neck top in black/white print slinky knit

I still need to cut out a little waistcoat (vest) from the leftovers of the black with teal and purple stripes and think I will use an old NewLook pattern 6958 as the front is in 4 pieces and the back has a centre seam so I should be able to fit it for myself.

Hoping to sew the cowl neck top tonight to have some instant gratification, but first got to go and get people to build massive computer systems for another day (I do like my job but it takes away from sewing time !)

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Cowl Neck Version 2

I posted for comments on PR and SG, and got loads of replies, so thank you everyone for your feedback.

I had a night off, and a think plus a chat through the options with Jenni, and what I have here is a morph between a TNT top for the back and lower front, the Hotpatterns cowl neck and back neck + facing - have left the sleeves off this time, but you get the idea.

This got a much better response from DH who said I could extend the shoulders slightly and make it sleeveless for the evening on holiday.

I feel more like me in this version too, so a success I think.

On the basis of this I am willing to cut it out of nice fabric, maybe even more than once!

Tuesday 18 August 2009

clear out time

I moved some bags of old clothes (mostly from my fatter days, but also some sewing mistakes) out of the guest room as DH's friend is coming to stay in a few weeks.
I have trouble getting rid of stuff, so it was very helpful of Jenni to talk me through it.
We managed to halve the stuff - the keep stuff being things i want to alter, recut or steal the zips from, the other half is bagged up for the charity shop and consists of

6 jackets/coats
20 tops
5 skirts
5 pairs trousers
5 bags

and fills two large dustbin bags.
I shall put them in the garage ready for the next charity collection and enjoy the space!

Monday 17 August 2009

Test garment - Cowl neck top

Here's my initial test garment for the cowl neck top.

I measured and cut a size 14 which I think is maybe a bit big. Something is not quite working, I have gone all square :-( and have no bust at all.

Sunday 16 August 2009

3 graces t-shirts form Hotpatterns

This evening I traced the cowl neck top from the 3 graces t shirt from Hotpatterns and then cut out a muslin/test garment from a nasty cheap poly knit.

The redeeming features of the knit are its wonderful red colour and its cheapness. The red colour is nice and must have been why I bought it, but it is a nasty cheap poly (which I hope I did not pay too much for) from the part of the stash which I now use for muslins.

Anyway it has good stretch and reasonable drape, so I think it will work well to test if I have the right size, and if I need to make any large adjustments.

I am surprised that the front is narrower at the hip than it is at the waist, so will have to see if this binds at the hip and bags at the waist since I am shaped the opposite.

Its too late tonight to start sewing this up, so I will just have a read of the instructions ready for tomorrow evening.

I will apply the interfacing as the instructions, and sew up the seams with matching thread, but I am not going to neaten any edges on this first test version, so it should be a quick way to see how the size and fit are in a size 14.

I will try and post a photo tomorrow of me wearing the garment so watch this space :-)

WiaW Shirt

I have cut out the WiaW shirt from McCall's 5522 in the white/teal/purple striped shirting and have the stripes on the diagonal on the lower section for interest and to move away a little from the menswear look.

It looks like it will be quite an interesting variation. I shall need to keep thinking up new variations on this pattern so I can use it multiple times.

I have not applied any of the interfacing or done any of the marking. I do remember this being quite time consuming to sew (its made up of 22 pieces of fabric) , so hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew when it comes to sewing it up along with 3 other items in one week.

Saturday 15 August 2009


I can't quite work out what to do next. It's prep week for the WiaW (Wardrobe In a Week) and so I could be already cutting out the clothes I plan to sew, but I have a few quandaries as yet unsolved.

Trousers (pants)
I want to make Burda trousers as the crotch curve works well for me, but I want a change from the wide leg trousers I made so many times, however I don't want to go too narrow and start to get binding issues - in which case I should make a test pair before WiaW starts.
That means some tracing off from another Burda WOF and cutting and sewing a whole pair of trousers this week.

Waistcoat (vest)
I could either use an old waistcoat pattern from the early 90s or or the free HotPattern download for the 'Shining Star Waistcoat'. In either case I need to make a muslin, but will do a quick and dirty one for fit only, not a wearable garment.

I want to make the McCall's 5522 shirt again only this time in a classic stripe fabric. Not sure if I want to play about with the direction of any of the pattern pieces, add the ruffle etc or just make as is. I am concerned that it will look very menswear if I don't do any twist, though I guess the men's shirts don't have any gathering for the bust!!!

4th piece
This is I think going to be a turquoise knit top though I am still thinking what style to use. If I do go with the new HotPatterns 3 Graces T-shirts I need to make a muslin in some less nice knit first.

So that's two muslins a test pair of trousers and some decisions on what to do with stripes/extras on the shirt plus the cutting out and marking, interfacing etc all this week, and I am in the office every day (probably long days) and away with work one day too. Better get a move on then hadn't I!

Abakhan Preston and Hotpatterns

Today I went up to Preston to the Abakhan fabrics shop there. I met up with Jenni (YorkshireLass) and her mum, and having fellow sewers there really enhanced the experience as well.

For those who have never been to Abakhan's as well as having fabric on the roll they also have fabric remnants sold by weight, split up into categories e.g. suiting, shirting, knits, fleece, etc.
Jenni is particularly good at finding things in these wire shelves where the pieces are 20+ deep and all sizes and shapes.

I have come back with 3 suiting weight pieces for trousers, 5 knits for tops (or maybe one as a dress), cotton fabric to make PJs for hubby and a few notions.

Wovens (top picture) L to R
Navy wool and cashmere for trousers
Interesting trouser fabric which has navy threads one way and brown the other making it a RICH grey.
Brown stretch trouser fabric - from the 70% off section :-)

Knits (lower picture) L to R
Soft cotton knit in coral
Greens and black knit
Black and white poly knit (large pattern)
Also bought a remnant piece which had a scrap of olive viscose knit sewn to another of teal blue (not pictured)

When I got home I also found that HP1089, the Classix Nouveaux 3 Graces T-Shirts pattern from HotPatterns has arrived today as well which is very exciting.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest Sep/Oct/Nov

September 1, 2009 through November 30, 2009

Total pieces required: 10
These need to consist of:

  • 4 bottoms
  • 5 tops
  • 1 topper (see definition below)
A topper is anything that has the basic function of covering your top. So a tailored jacket (not necessarily recommended unless you sew REALLY fast) counts. A loose jacket counts. A cardigan counts. A poncho counts. Ask the contest manager if you aren’t certain.

Additional rules:

  • All tops must go with all bottoms, and the topper must to with all outfits.
  • Minimum of one print fabric must be incorporated.
  • A dress may be substituted for either one top or one bottom, but it must still follow the rule that it needs to go with either all the tops or all the bottoms.
  • You must do a 'wardrobe review' for the contest. You should also review all of the individual patterns used for your review. Include in the main wardrobe review links to those individual reviews.
  • Pictures of all items are required for voting. A composite picture is highly recommended, since it helps showcase the wardrobe and helps others see what was accomplished.
  • All cutting and sewing must be done between the contest dates to qualify.
I had a rummage in my stash cupboard (a very happy task, I love that cupboard) and came up with a cream/teal/brown/navy combo.
  • Teal wool knit cardigan
  • Navy jeans
  • Navy cord pants
  • Tan/teal glen plaid check tailored pants
  • dark brown tailored pants
  • teal velvet stretch top
  • Turquoise jersey knit top
  • Cream fitted shirt
  • Teal/brown/tan floral print tie neck blouse
  • Teal/brown print top
All looks beautiful together, even the two prints with the plaid.
I am really looking forward to sewing and wearing all these pieces.

Well as ever that is my plan and who knows if I will manage it. I have gone for all pants this time as I think that is much more wearable for me. (I have a lot of skirts and rarely wear them).

Tuesday 11 August 2009

That sewing room stuff

DH has invited his friend to stay at the end of the month. He's a nice guy and ages ago I told DH to invite him. Plus if they are wargaming, DH won't even notice I am in the sewing room madly finishing off my WiaW garments as long as I bring food and beer at regular intervals.

That's great except the unsorted stuff from the sewing room is still in the guest room, all over the bed and the floor rendering it unusable at the moment.

I don't want to trash the sewing room again though so I have two options
- sort through it all
- box it up and put it in the garage

I expect I'll do a bit of both as well as utilising the space under the bed to store as much as I can.

Monday 10 August 2009

Happy accident

I wasn't really in a sewing mood this evening after having had my hair trimmed so I decided to sort some of the small 'Misc' boxes I had about the place, mostly from the sewing room.

Among various projects I found the front of the wrap dress, which also helpfully included the instructions. So at least I know what they planned to have you do even if I don't choose to do it!

It answers two questions
1. How is the front V neck finished?
A. Using purchased woven bias binding on wrong side (YUK!)
2. Where are the ties attached and is there that annoying hole in a side seam?
A. This is a true wrap dress with the ties being on the corners of each wrap section and a hole in the right side for the tie to pass through. (Not sure if I dislike this approach or not, though since I have sewn up the side seams already....)

Anyway perhaps more progress on this tomorrow, energy levels permitting.

Sunday 9 August 2009

A few sewing jobs

Today the sewing I decided to do was two minor hand sewing repairs to things which had been hanging on the wardrobe door annoying me - One trouser hem, the other a loose care label - they are done and put away in the wardrobe.

I also took a short sleeved blouse which had a very tight cuff, removed the little cuff band, zig-zagged, rehemmed it plain and stitched the button back on to cover.
Now I can wear the blouse without it cutting off the circulation in my upper arm which is nice.

This afternoon I stood two cork noticeboards on my dressing table, and hung another to one side and then hung my necklaces from them on push pins.
I think it is safe to say that I do not really need to buy any more necklaces but at least I can access what I have a little better!
One board is reds and oranges, another is teals and greens and the third is neutrals (browns, ivory etc). I am going to try and wear more of the necklaces and really have fun with them.

Although I didn't make any progress on the knit dress, I did see that looking more closely at the dress line drawing it has back darts, and lo and behold they are marked on the pattern - silly me! I will add those tomorrow and hopefully they will help some with the back shaping . I am also going to cut the front down slightly and add a knit band to pull it up, instead of having it just turned over and stitched.
If I made this again I'd take a tuck in the front neckline of the pattern before cutting out, but its too late for this version, so the fixes have to come where you can make them.

I had thought about a narrow band, but I think I will make them the same as waist ties which should make it look more deliberate rather than a 'save'. So I will have to think carefully about where I want it to wrap over, how I am going to treat the skirt wrap, and what happens at the point where the front band, waist tie and front waist pleats/ruching all meet.

Friday the Wardrobe In A Week prep week starts so I need to finalise my patterns for that, so I can start on Friday night after our evening meal, but I want to get the dress done first and am trying to keep focused.

P.S. for those of you thinking 'My goodness she has a serious problem' I will say that necklaces are my signature, and during the period when I was losing most of the weight, instead of buying chocolate, cakes or other foodie treats I would go and buy myself a necklace or sometimes earrings, usually in the sale so only a few pounds per item.
There are rather more of them than I thought I had though, and yes I will try and wear a different one every day, and any I don't love I will be brave and pass them on.

What to do with knit pieces

When I put my fabric into the cupboard I found a few pieces of knits. Some of them I had quite a large piece and had cut out a garment, leaving a middling sized piece, you know too small to throw but not enough for a whole garment.

I've seen people on Pattern review making their knit pieces into panties but this is not really my style to be honest so I am not going there.

However I've seen a few tops about and have one RTW already where the design combines 2 or 3 different knits together in the garment and I must admit it caught my interest.

The RTW top I have, has the back and neckband in one colour, the sleeves and part of the front in another, with another used for the other part of the front (a faux wrap that is actually pieced).
The main front piece is also printed in a design which brings in the other colours - this would be harder to do at home but could use a print fabric, stencilling or embroidery.

Mixing fabrics like this does tend to make a top feel more casual, but those are fine for the weekend with jeans, or even with plain PJ pants for lounging or bedtime so I may have a go with mine at some point in the future :-)

Sew Hip Mystery Quilt - final part

I picked up the Sew Hip magazine yesterday which has the final part of the Mystery quilt in it, so I now have all the issues which cover the project.
Its not quite what I thought it would be, but I am OK with it.

As I have only made one block so far its going to be a long time before I actually get the whole thing done, the instructions on the actual batting and quilting process are minimal though I guess they assume you know what to do.

I have a couple of quilt books though, so maybe one of those has the missing information, and I'll need to find out what quilt batting is and where I can buy it.

I did find a good use for my quilting ruler and rotary cutter, the dress on yesterday's post has the ties specified only by measurement, and it was great using the board, ruler and rotary cutter to cut them out. I can see that being useful for BWOF as well as they also do that.

I only have the layout diagram for the dress and no construction information so not entirely sure how they plan for you to tackle some bits.
Anyway I shall alter the dress back today I think - at least it already has a centre back seam so I can just use that - and then see how the front hangs once that is done.

Friday 7 August 2009

Tackling a UFO

I have several boxes of unfinished projects which I have NOT moved back into the lovely repainted sewing room.
I promised myself that I would take a look at some of the projects in there and see what I could finish off, recut as something else or just put into the council fabric recycling collection.

So this evening I am going to see if there is anything which piques my interest.


Found a cut out and barely constructed knit dress with no instructions, so have worked on that for a little while. Its going to need quite a bit of work I think. I had lengthened the pattern, but seem to have rather overdone things as it is floor length. It fits round the butt (my fattest bit) but nowhere else - its too wide in the shoulders, gapes at the back neck and upper front.
Since I have a few knit tops I've made recently which fit quite well I should be able to use some of those to tweak the fit of this dress.

Its a wild print so we'll see whether it is actually wearable out into the real world when its done :D

Thursday 6 August 2009

August WiaW

Here are my fabrics for the Wardrobe in A Week.

I plan to make trousers (pants) and a waistcoat (vest) out of the black with teal and purple stripes.
The same fitted shirt pattern which I used for the lime blouse will be used again for the white shirting with teal and purple stripes.
And I shall also sew some sort of knit top from the heavy drapey teal knit.

August WiaW

Wardrobe in a Week is a sew along on Stitchers Guild.
Clambaby came up with the rules for this which are as follows:-
Prep week: Friday August 14th from 7:00 am wherever you are to Thursday August 20th 11:00 p.m.- Cut, mark and interface any of your garment fabric - any activity that in fact does not involve actual needle piercing fabric sewing.

Sewing week: Friday 7:00 a.m. August 21st wherever you are and ending 11:00 p.m. (really we shouldn't be sewing till midnight) August 30, which is a Sunday.

I think your original rules Ruthie are good ones, amended to four pieces that match of any combination, for example three tops and one bottom are fine, as are three bottoms and a purse - all that matters is four things that if you wore the two of them on the same day together would not be upsetting.

No rules on pictures or posting, but if you can put up pictures on this site that would be good because we are nosy.

The prize is that if you complete four compatible pieces by the deadline you get to go out and buy for yourself a yard (or meter) of fabric you really want - one for each garment completed, so that means that every finisher wins four meters (or yards) of fabric that they really love. If anyone in the family asks why you are buying more fabric you can quite truthfully say that it is because you have won a contest. Personally I think this clause is bullet proof.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Alternative Twist top

Any ideas how I could make a top like this?
It has a seam above the bust line. The upper chest piece then is sewn down for the first 1/3rd, then has a twist and then is sewn for the next third.

I thought it gave a nice interesting look without being a low cut as many of the tops which twist at the bust are.

I might experiment on knit scraps. I wonder if it is just a round neck top with a seam and then a twist added.

I would love to hear about any patterns which use this or indeed pictures of online RTW versions

(I saw it on a person on TV so can't examine the garment close up).

Monday 3 August 2009

Sleeves redone - not a single pucker!

This evening I decided to fix the sleeves on the lime JCC blouse. This sleeve just had too much ease and the first time I put it in there were lots of puckers. (Due to the alterations the sleeves were 3 inches bigger than the armholes).

I decided to tackle the sleeves by doing a lot of small changes so none would be too obvious.

First up I took the sleeves out and pressed the body and sleeves. Then I trimmed down the sleeve cap very slightly. A little more at the top and tapering to nothing nearer the under arm.
I took the top of the sleeve seam in by 1/4"(under the arm) , let the top of the body out by 1/4 inch (also under the arm).

Next I clipped the armhole - existing clips slightly deeper and some extra ones as well.
On the sleeve I used a long stitch to machine tack on a piece of narrow bias binding - I stretched it as I sewed and then pulled the tacking up a bit as well.

Next I pinned the sleeve into the armhole, then sewed in short sections stopping whenever there was about to be a pucker. Once I'd put the sleeve in I checked for any bits which were not quite right, unpicked and resewed those until it was all smooth. Then I removed the bias binding and the tacking stitch and finally serged all the raw edges as the clipped part was fraying all over the place.

The end result however is a lovely sleeve with NO puckers, which I am very pleased about.

I know its a hanger shot and its better to see the blouse being worn, maybe tomorrow.
This shirt does actually fit me, and that is thanks to Jenni (aka YorshireLass) who fitted a muslin for me and has meant I have my first EVER blouse which actually fits me. Very exciting.

Stash cupboard

One of my most favourite things, my fabric stash cupboard in the sewing room.

The bottom shelf has linings and some medium weight fabrics, the next shelf is all knit and above that bottom weight fabrics. On top of the wooden unit more bottom/jacket weight plus some blouse fabrics, also the box contains fabric which was particularly expensive like boiled wool, linen, heavy lace etc.

Above the box are two more shelves though the upper one is not deep and mostly covered in fabric. The lower one has blouse and shirt weight fabrics and the upper one a mixture of various other fabrics including fleece.

I love this cupboard and like to come and just open the doors and look at the bits of fabric, pull the odd one out and see what it says to me.

(Looking at the picture I can see there are a few gaps - so I could go fabric shopping if I wanted to!)

Different knit tops from Burda magazine

I like to sew and wear knit tops, but I have made a few in the same 3 styles over and over so am looking for some new shapes. I went through my recent Burda magazines and found these which I like.

Sunday 2 August 2009

Cami top complete

The matching camisole top from Burda 12/2007 number 128B is now complete as well.
It makes a cute set with the PJ pants.

I might see if I can model it later :D

PJ pants complete

The PJ pants are complete. These are the test ones but they seem pretty good. I will make the cami top next in matching fabric and then do a photo of me wearing both :-)

Then I'll move on to the 'good' fabric, and see if there is any fabric left for anything else e.g. PJ shorts for those super hot nights.