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Tuesday 29 December 2015

Duck Egg Blue 3/4 sleeve tee

New Look 6735 tee, from a lovely white and duck egg blue print knit bought from the Monday Market Man a few months ago.
This is the first item for my SWAP.

I am keeping the SWAP to pieces I am sure I will wear and are relatively straightforward to sew as this year during SWAP I have a very busy workload with multiple go-lives plus I am away for three weeks on holiday near the end of the SWAP timeframe.
So in order to actually complete the SWAP and all the items sewn be things I really want it is going to be quite heavy on knit tops, trousers and cardigans. There will hopefully be a skirt and jacket as well but that is by no means certain.

I found this top which I made last March but has not yet been part of a collection. I think I might include it as a previously sewn item instead of the one on the top right.
When worn it ruches up on the longer side and gives an interesting effect.

I think it would be a bit boring if I made all my knit tops from the same pattern so I think the mint/pink/taupe print can be the Kirsten Kimono tee, the other duck egg print top will be the top from Simplicity 2977 with sleeves added.
The pink top is still to be decided, but probably won't be another plain scoop neck, perhaps I'll try a new pattern.

Starting on the SWAP plan

Now that I've finished with my fleece scraps and then  switched over to white thread to hem the sewing room curtains so they finish above the radiator I can move on to anything in the SWAP plan which could be sewn up in white.

Here was my original SWAP plan, I am hoping to stick to it as closely as I can for once, let's see how that works out over the next few months.
Four4 of the knit top fabrics have a white background so I think I will start with them whilst I have white thread on the machines. I will probably also throw in some non SWAP sewing using white thread, probably PJs, laundry bags and other simple projects.

Monthly Magazine Make - Fleece Hats

I had an idea to make something based on instructions/pattern from a sewing magazine every month during 2016, I'm starting a few days early to use up some fleece scraps.

Based on this fleece hat pattern from Sew Today magazine December 1995/January 1996

I have sewn 4 hats from fleece scraps left from the cardigans cut from blankets, though I didn't have enough for the turn up at the bottom, they are just little fleece beanie hats of various sizes based on the scrap size.
A great way to use up fleece scraps, mine will be for sale for a few pounds on my charity craft stall in May.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Faux fur cardigan

Using the basic shawl collared cardigan pattern again and a large plush blanket I made 2 of these cardigans.

The other one is slightly longer and has hemmed sleeves instead of cuffs and was a Christmas gift for my friend in the choir, it was sewn, wrapped and given away before it got photographed.
There was enough blanket left over for me to make a second one for me which is above.
This is such warm fabric that you could wear it instead of a thick fleece or wool sweater so not sure how useful it will be for either of us given how mild it is at the moment.

Monday 21 December 2015

Monthly Magazine Make 2016

I am planning a Monthly Magazine Make from my new and stashed sewing magazines in 2016.
The idea of this is to make something for my charity craft stall, a gift or to wear myself which is made from a magazine.

This will of course include Burda magazine but I wanted to also allow myself to explore MyImage, Ottobre, SewingWorld and various others I already have. Other than buying the monthly Burdas I probably won't buy many new ones but hope to mine the things I already have.

I'm thinking mittens, hedgehog pincushions and suspect I will be generally erring towards the simpler items. I will share pictures of the patterns or links as and where I can in case others are inspired.

You can download the pattern from Burda.de here. Link to Pattern Download.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Red sparkle top

For Christmas sweater day tomorrow (if I'm brave enough).
This knit top from the usual pattern has a turtleneck, cuffs and is sewn from a red knit with lurex sparkle on the right side.
It was a remnant from the local cheap roll end shop, pulled from the stash as I don't go there anymore having had too many run/shrink problems.

Wednesday 16 December 2015


Dear Sewing Friends, thought you might like a bit of an update.

It is not that I have not been posting my sewing projects, I just haven't been doing any new ones.
Work got busy, I joined a local church choir and I've started working my way through a large series of novels (Matthew Bartholomew books by Susanna Gregory.)

I still try to read sewing blogs and occasionally comment briefly and I pop in and out of SG.
I have not been in the sewing room for a while and am not doing anything with my SWAP at the moment.
I dare say at some point that will change, but hey at least you know I am not ill nor have left the country!

Cheers Ruthie

Friday 4 December 2015

Thursday 3 December 2015

Sewing With a Plan (SWAP) inspired by an old article in Australian Stitches

There's a long running contest on Stitchers Guild for SWAP (Sewing with a Plan) which is a way to sew a co-ordinated wardrobe of clothing.

It's based on a series of articles written by Lynn Cook in Australian Stitches magazine, Vol. 5.

There are 3 stages, and SWAP is based on Stage One.
Here is the formula:  make 11 garments. These are:
1 simple cardigan jacket in a solid colour.
2 pairs of pants.
2 skirts, one in a solid colour, one in a print or check.
2 simple tops, one solid, one in the above print.
4 tops, in colours which coordinate with the solids.

Throughout she keeps emphasising the need to make very simple garments so you'll finish.

Stage Two : make the following 10 garments.
One cardigan - in one of your basic colours.
3 long-sleeve tops in tones that coordinate.
1 blouse or top in a print.
1 long skirt in the same print.
1 knee-length skirt in a solid colour.
2 more pairs of pants in tones that blend.

Stage Three : add 7 more garments:
One tailored jacket - camel.
One loose jacket - butter.
One pair of pants - butter.
One cowl-neck top - butter/white polka dot.
One pleated skirt - butter/white polka dot.
One short-sleeve top - geometric print.
One straight skirt - geometric print.

28 garments of which only 4 are jackets/layers which is probably the warm climate influence.
4 two-piece print dresses are another feature that isn't now to everyone's taste. This is more back in style again but with shorter skirts and everything more fitted. 

The rules on SG have changed and morphed over the years to be more challenging or accommodate many people.

Friday 20 November 2015

Trouser curve for pattern fitting

I am in an information gathering phase I think and it might be a little while until I actually get to do anything with tissue or fabric.
I have been using my bendy ruler to see what sort of crotch curve I have - its sort of like measuring an armhole to see what a sleeve cap should look like though so definitely interesting. I don't do too badly imaging things in 3D so I'm hoping all this thinking will make progress simpler later.

My crotch curve is longer than the ruler. 27" front to back of which 16" is at the back and 11 at the front.
The back is shaped like 2/3rds of a U, very rounded but the front is a smooth shallow curve. It a very strange looking thing with the two together. I think it is worth tackling this part first and then looking at the legs after that.
Comparing it to a Burda draft, the back is sort of in the right shape but the crotch needs to be another 2" deeper!
The front crotch curve needs to be shorter in the rise and deeper by an inch and a quarter, that's another 3.5" I need in depth - wow. Mind who cares what the pattern pieces look like if it fits.

I shall have to process that a bit as I am stunned. May add pictures tomorrow.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Basic trouser pattern

I had a search about in my pattern stash and came up with this OOP Butterick pattern which includes what is described as 'loose fitting tapered pants' in a good large size range which matches my actual waist and hip measurements, though depending how much ease they have included in that 'loose fit' may make them enormous. Anyway its a pattern dated 2000 from my stash, so in essence free, and entirely uncut so lots of chance to have extra large seam allowances and try out the 6 alterations I think I need.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Trouser fitting

The side seam is at a strange angle, the wide trouser leg masks this slightly.
I think this is a forward tilted hip.

I spent some time reading Pants for Real people - Pati Palmer and Marta Alto last night. No-one exactly like me, but plenty of variation which was encouraging and I was middling in the size range they fit.

It looks like I need to get a basic slim leg trouser pattern from my stash add one inch seam allowances and start playing with it.

It looked to me that I need to add a little extra for a full tummy (and wear my tops out).
then some extra for full front thighs, particularly at the front inseam.
extra only on the back pattern piece for full calves
I need a sway back, full buttock and under butt bagginess fix as well
So make those 6 alterations and I should have some wearable pants!

If I am doing all that I might as well start with a Simplicity pattern and do the Burda butt alterations first and then take it from there.
I am out tonight and busy at the weekend but see what I can manage on Friday evening.

Simplicity 4375 might be a possible starting place for some basic trousers.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

SWAP Summary

May not use these exact patterns, but here is an idea of how the SWAP might look.
Taupe – jacket   3 Pack A Taupe/Pink
Taupe – trousers   3 Pack A Taupe/Pink
Knit top – coral pink   3 Pack A Taupe/Pink
Stone – trousers 2   3 Pack B Stone
Stone – cardigan   3 Pack B Stone
Knit top – Ivory and stone stripe   3 Pack B Stone
Taupe – skirt   Combo Pack
Knit top – pink/mint print   Combo Pack
Dirty denim – jeans   Wild card
Knit top – small duck egg print   Wild card
Knit top – large duck egg print   Wild card

The sleeveless top will get sleeves added but it is from Simplicity 2977.

I've made it before in ivory jersey and liked it a lot before it wore out and went in the rag bag.

Monday 16 November 2015

Giant (but comfy) corduroy trousers for gentle critique

So I had this piece of rusty cotton cord, I dyed it with a bright pink dye I think it was and it came out a lovely deep burgundy. It mirinaded in the stash and then I fancied some winter trousers.
I took a Burda pattern which was a bit tight and added a bit extra, cut out the slightly wrinkled cord (from being washed) pressed as I constructed and made some giant wide leg trousers. They were falling down so I did a temporary fix of some elastic in the back waist.

Just rather baggy all over. Hmm.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Purple Bunting

For a special birthday, the recipient asked for purple, hope she likes it.
We are attending the party at the end of this month but I was asked to send the bunting in advance for decorating the room.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

SWAP 2016 rules are up

The rules for SWAP 2016 have been announced on Stitchers Guild
SWAP 2016 Rules

I've tried to come up with a plan which meets the rules using the fabrics and garments I had planned earlier.

Taupe – jacket
3 Pack A Taupe/Pink
Taupe – trousers
3 Pack A Taupe/Pink
Knit top – coral pink
3 Pack A Taupe/Pink
Stone – trousers 2
3 Pack B Stone
Stone – cardigan
3 Pack B Stone
Knit top – Ivory and stone stripe
3 Pack B Stone
Taupe – skirt
Combo Pack
Knit top – pink/mint print
Combo Pack
Dirty denim – jeans
Wild card
Knit top – small duck egg print
Wild card
Knit top – large duck egg print
Wild card

SWAP 2016
Colour palette – coral pink, duck egg blue, taupe
Styles – suit with trousers and skirt, jeans, lots of tops, other trousers, cardigan

Taupe – jacket
Taupe - trousers
Taupe - skirt
Stone – trousers 2
Stone – cardigan
Dirty denim – jeans
Knit top – coral pink
Knit top – pink/mint/stone print
Knit top – small duck egg print
Knit top – large duck egg print
Knit top – Ivory and stone stripe

5 tops, 4 bottoms, 2 layers and would get me through a whole week at work I should think
L- R
Coral pink jersey, mint/pink/stone print jersey, large duck egg print jersey, small duck egg print jersey, stone jersey
Beige jersey again, ivory and stone stripe, stone woven, medium taupe woven, dark taupe woven.
I have bought the dirty denim but it is not pictured.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Blackcurrant and Burgundy PJ pants

I've had the fabric for the main part of these PJ pants for a large number of years. It was too small for all the things I tried to use it for. Today I decided to make some PJ pants with a contrast lower leg. I love them.
The main body is a dark brownish blackcurrant colour with a directional white print, a lovely cotton fabric remnant but neither wide nor long.
I added some linen look cotton fabric to make the legs full length - burgundy printed with blackcurrant to give the linen effect (its plain on the back). I also added 3/4" elastic and white ribbon ties.
Beautiful quality cotton, should wear well and get ever softer with every wash.

Friday 30 October 2015

Blackcurrent Cardigan Jacket

Here's the last piece of the Autumn Berries Collection (at least the last piece currently cut out).
The fabric is a wool mix stretch woven, with a wooly blackcurrant coloured front and a matte dark brown back. I've sewn it up with the cardigan jacket from my favourite pattern - New Look 6735.
I've cut it slightly shorter and omitted the belt. I have interfaced the lower sections of the front band with very lightweight interfacing and am planning on adding buttons and button holes to the front.
The fit is good (though tweaked somewhat from the original).
I might switch to green now I've made 11 pieces, or perhaps I will make some Berry Trousers!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Wearing the Cranberry cowl neck and Burgundy skirt

Indoor shots now since it is dark outside. Something odd has happened to the colours.
 As they seem closer to these colours than the shot of me wearing it.

Friday 23 October 2015

Berry Collection: Cranberry cowl neck top

Dark red or maybe slightly pinkish burgundy, I'm not quite sure what the best description would be, so I'm going for Cranberry which seems to describe it well.
It picks out the Cranberry parts of the animal print sweater knit skirt I made at the start of the month.
So should make a great outfit with brown tall boots.
My Autumn Berries collection now has 10 pieces in it. I have a dark burgundy cardigan jacket still to come. Maybe I can get that 11th piece in before the end of October?

Thursday 22 October 2015

Trousers plans

I've been looking at the Burda magazine and I think the plus version would be better, only I see it is for

Recommended Materials

Trouser fabrics. Fabrics with elastane are ideal.
Note: The finished trousers should stretch widthwise. Therefore, fabrics with lengthwise stretch should be cut widthwise, see marked grain line. Cut fabrics with crosswise stretch lengthwise, as usual.
 I have various non stretch trousers fabrics I want to use. If I go up a size do you think that would work? It seems a fairly classic trouser pattern (I do better without a front fly but do like pockets.)

UK PDF link
US PDF link
I have the original magazine so will be tracing that. On the measurement chart I seem to be closest to the size 46 for my bottom half. I am willing to have a go with some non stretch woven fabrics as muslins and see how I get on.

I am open to advice on this one please as would like lots of nice wearable trousers.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Upcoming plans

I have two more items planned in my berry set - a brighter burgundy cowl neck which matches the bright burgundy in the animal print skirt, and a darker brown/burgundy cardigan jacket.

Then I have leggings, tee and skirt in dark green to give options with a dark green drape cardigan I bought becuase it made my eyes looks really green (but doesn't seem to work with much in my wardrobe).

After that I think I am going to sew some new trousers and have been looking at various Burda patterns I have made in the past. It may be that I need to retrace an old favourite or add the Burda crotch curves to something from the Big 4

Burda 02-2010 #102 Pants

These were a particular favourite in the past though I'm only currently still wearing one pair of these. I think they need a stretch woven and I had used a non stretch for some of the pairs. Also I think the waistband is below the waist so if I measure my waist they are too tight. I like the overall style a lot though so I am going to have a bit of an experiement with these again I think.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Variegated cardigan

The same alterations as the purple cardigan, this one is cut from a variegated knit which is difficult to cut and pin due to the open nature of the knit.

Here's the fabric (a bit more of a closeup) you can see dark brown, medium brown, ivory, purple and burgundy.

Here's the collection to date (not everything can be worn with everything but there are lots of options).
I've worn a few of these already.

Friday 16 October 2015

Purple Tee

A little purple tee cut from the same fabric as the leggings and cardigan.
A good layering piece and still in the same rich berry shades I am enjoying so much this Autumn.
Here's the collection to date, I think its coming along well and also mixes in with the brown pieces I did in September.
I have more to come as I did a crazy load of cutting out the other weekend.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

SWAP 2016 thoughts

The thread discussing the possible rules is open on Stitchers Guild.
I was in full autumn cardigan/leggings mode and could not possibly imagine what I might want to have sewn ready for Spring 2016.
So I looked up the Pantone colours for Spring 2016.
Then went off to look at my fabric stash, and using a bit of license I have....
Coral pink (a bit like their Peach Echo), duck egg blue (a bit like their Limpet Shell) and various beige/taupe/dark taupe colours (a bit like their Iced Coffee) and I think that could work quite well.
Less print and strong colour than I usually go for, but why not be a little softer sometimes?

So I now have an outline plan

SWAP 2016
Colour palette – coral pink, duck egg blue, taupe
Styles – suit with trousers and skirt, jeans, lots of tops, other trousers, cardigan

Dark Taupe – jacket
Dark Taupe - trousers
Dark Taupe - skirt
Light Taupe – trousers 2
Beige – cardigan
Dirty denim – jeans
Knit top – coral pink
Knit top – pink/mint print
Knit top – small duck egg print
Knit top – large duck egg print
Knit top – Ivory and light taupe stripe

5 tops, 4 bottoms, 2 layers and would get me through a whole week at work I should think
L- R
Coral pink jersey, mint/pink print jersey, large duck egg print jersey, small duck egg print jersey, beige jersey

Beige jersey again, ivory and light taupe stripe, light taupe woven, medium taupe woven, dark taupe woven.
I don't have the dirty denim yet, maybe I'll just make 3 pairs of light, medium and dark taupe trousers!

Monday 12 October 2015

Purple cardigan

This simple drape cardigan is based on the pattern from Prima Magazine November 2010.
I lengthened it by 4.5" and reduced the flare a bit.
 This is the same purple fabric as I used for the leggings.
I have a little tee cut from the scraps so I can do an inner or outer purple column!
Here's the Autumn Berries collection so far.