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Wednesday 30 November 2016

Vertical Lines

Imogen Lamport has another great post, this time about using Vertical lines


When we are sewing it is really important to take into account these sort of things as otherwise a lot of time and effort is put into something which is not very flattering. For some people that comes naturally but for others (like me) it is something I have tried to learn, sometimes the hard way.

For sewists its great that we can sew almost anything (what great opportunities), but by the same token we need to be careful because we can sew almost anything (possibilities to make things which don't flatter). I try to remember this when I think of the Turquoise Trousers...
These fit beautifully but were a polyester fabric that was too hot in summer but too bright in winter. Coloured trousers are outside of my comfort zone and I never wore them out of the house and donated them very quickly. What a waste of sewing time!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - The 'Strictly Come Dancing' Sparkle Version

I have continued on with the new Raglan Sleeve Tee pattern (adapted from the Santa Monica Tee) and I am loving it, so much sew that I did a bit of a sparkly number inspired by 'Strictly Come Dancing' and planned for use at Christmas events.
The sparkles seem somehow woven into the fabric and did not fall off when I washed the yardage (though I used a mesh laundry bag just in case). The jersey is lovely and soft so unlike some metallic fabrics which can be very itchy I think this will be nice to wear.
It just shows how different fabrics make the same pattern look really different.

Still in the 'to cut' pile - black with white stripes (sporty) and classic black (elegant). I have to admit that since I mostly sew in the evenings after work I am not really looking forward to sewing the plain black as it will be hard work on the eyes.

I have a dilemma. I could cut out the black jersey for my raglan sleeve top. The machines are threaded, I have the pattern sorted it would be straightforward to do....
BUT it seems so boring to sew a plain black knit top

I can't decide if indeed that's the right way to go, and I just sew it up and go and have a very supporting act.
OR if I somehow add some stretch lace detailing or other embellishment. But then I am concerned I am reducing its flexibility in my wardrobe.

Any suggestions?

Monday 28 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - Black and white print

This is my favourite one so far. It is a modified version of the Santa Monica Tee as described before in a black and white print viscose (rayon) jersey.
I love the way the print makes slimming lines which run up and down the body and sleeves.
The angular red necklace seems to echo the shapes and will let me wear this with red pieces as well as black, the simplest one will be this black ponte skirt from June 2015.

I think I am ready for the official plain black version for SWAP now.
Not the most exciting start to the SWAP sewing a plain black tee, but I am keeping in mind the advice Imogen Lamport gives about having 'supporting act' pieces in the wardrobe as well as hero pieces.


Sunday 27 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - Lime and grey floral print

For my next attempt at a Raglan Sleeve Tee (since I wasn't bowled over but the New Look version) I returned to the Santa Monica Tee.
This is out of print but still available at several US online vendors if you really love it.

I've used this pattern as the starting point but made quite a few modifications.This was cut out at a size L. I compared this to a loose fitting RTW raglan sleeve top I own and decided I needed something larger, so comparing to the purchased one I added 1/2" on each side of the sleeve, and 1/2" at the centre front and back. I raised the back neckline by about 3/4" and scooped the front neckline by about 2". I also lengthened the body and sleeves by about 1/2" each. I then added a neckband a similar width to the New Look 6230 band but about 4" shorter.
This is a lovely viscose jersey I bought online several years ago, but don't particularly love the print and colours for me, however as it was from stash it was basically free so I was happy to experiment a bit. That said it is completely properly finished with stitched and serged seams and coverhemmed hem and sleeves. Not a raw edge inside!

Compared to the first raglan sleeve tee, the fit is much better, though the sleeves are slightly too long, so (note to self!) I don't need to add that extra next time. I tend to wear sleeves pushed up a lot of the time so it is not hugely obvious but it is still good to get things right, don't you think?

However this is a viscose rayon jersey which I don't think I have prewashed so I shall allow it to go through the laundry and see if it shrinks up a bit before I cut the sleeves off and rehem them.

With the alterations I think this could be the raglan sleeve TNT I was looking for!

For SWAP I am planning one in plain black before Christmas. Plus as I have the machines threaded up and the pattern sorted I might do a black print/stripe combo (or one of each) plus a black sparkly number which won't be part of SWAP. The fabric has been prewashed and is drying.

Saturday 26 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee - Grey Print and Charcoal

I've made my first version of the New Look 6230 Raglan Sleeve Tee.
I used a scrap of purpley grey print for the front and neckband, and contrasted it with a charcoal grey sleeves and back. (I bought the Charcoal Grey last weekend at Economy Fabrics, but the print was in a bag of small pieces someone gave me)
I raised the back neckline by an inch and scooped the front out by a couple of inches. The resulting neckline was very large so I added darts in the top of each sleeve, and tapered the top of the back seam slightly also. Then I used the original neckband for this view which fitted fine.

It is OK, but I don't think this is my new TNT yet, and I would like to try #8 Raglan-sleeve T-shirt from Ottobre 2008 Issue 5. The neckline on this looks much neater and closer to my desire finish.

I would also have another try at the Santa Monica Tee from Textile Studio Patterns as I have now managed to find it. However I think I will need to scoop the front neck down quite a bit for it to work for me. 
 I think reglan tees are not all that simple!!

Friday 25 November 2016

Raglan Sleeve Tee Ideas

Once I have perfected my Raglan Sleeve Tee pattern (and I am sure some tweaking will be required), then I would like to use up smaller scraps of pretty fabrics by branching out into different combinations. Here are some ideas I found to inspire me.
Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to show you my first attempt and see where I will take it going forwards.

Thursday 24 November 2016

SWAP Items - prep for early bird items

Two SWAP items can be sewn between 5th November and 26th December.
I am planning to sew the black tee and the black trousers. However both patterns are new to me, though from pattern companies where I have success with similar garments before, so hopefully the fitting curve will not be too hard.

Let's start with the tee.
There are a few things to think through here.
1. The pattern only goes up to a size 16 so it may be a bit snug on me depending on how much ease (if any) they have allowed.
2. A while back I read some reviews of this pattern on PR and a few said it was very short and they had to add a band at the bottom like a sweatshirt. Its a bit hard to tell from the model/drawings as the sleeves appear full length is the drawing but both the sleeve and the body hem are pushed up in the picture. I may need to lengthen the sleeves and body to be how I like it.
3. I have a forward head and high round back so may need to alter the back, front and neckline. The centre back seam will help this.
4. I have full upper arms so may need to alter the sleeves to add room at the bicep area.
However once I've done all that work I should then have another TNT and can play with colour blocking using different fabrics for the sleeves, front/back and neckband to get different looks as well as do the three plain versions I have planned for SWAP.

I shall be sure to share my progress, but don't be surprised if the first version is not one of the colours above!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Purchases from Economy Fabrics

On Saturday I went along to the local roll end shop - Economy Fabrics - which I don't get to very often due to location and opening hours.
If you are driving up the M1 past Junction 29 (Chesterfield - its the next one to Tibshelf Services) then it is definitely worth a little detour to go along, as they are only a very short distance away from the motorway junction.
Hello! Welcome to the home of Economy Fabrics.
We are a Fabric Shop based in Holmewood, just off junction 29 of the M1 Chesterfield.
Established in1993 we have years of experience in sourcing and supplying excellent quality fabrics & ribbon & haberdashery at a price you can afford.
Please visit our retail shop just off junction 29 of the M1 (post code: S42 5RA)
We are open:
Monday Tuesday Thursday & Friday 9.00am  -  4.30pm
Saturday 10am - 4.00pm
We are closed Wednesday & Sunday
You can find us at:
44 Heath Road, Holmewood, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 5RA
Telephone us on: 01246 855155
or join us on facebook - Economy Fabrics Chesterfield

The people who run this are absolutely lovely and a great many bargains can be had, so the lines can be long. Most of the general rolls of fabric are £2.00 a metre, though specialist ones like Christmas can be a little more. Because they source their fabric to be as inexpensive as possible they have whatever they have been able to get so it can be a little bit pot luck.

I bought some grey and blue jersey. These are for a cardiwrap, some PJs and hopefully the Burda Whale.
I also bought some cream upholstery fabric. This is for recovering the dining chairs.
And some cotton fabric with a cute Panda print, because I love pandas and want some more PJs.
This fabric is thin and narrow width, so I may well piece with some other black and white print fabrics for an interesting effect. Summer weight only though so I shall wait until next year to sew them up.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Simplicity 4231 Green Tropical Wool Safari Jacket

I have made some progress on the Simplicity 4231 Green Tropical Wool Safari Jacket though it is slow going.
I found some co-ordinating lining which I used to cut the back of the pocket flaps. This worked around the fact that I had only cut 2 of them not 4.
So far I have done, front and back darts, back seam, pockets and pocket flaps with buttonholes, side and shoulder seams. Still to do collar and facings and sleeves, and maybe draft up a lining.

I have to say compared to my usual quick knits this is slow going and I am having to force myself to work on it. Once I get going I do another half an hour, press that step and leave it for a bit and progress is slowly being made.
Items sewn in 2008 which seem to have gone
Since the trousers and skirt I also made from this fabric seem to be long gone (I may yet find them in a box...) then I will need to sew some other things to go with it.

I have lots of co-ordinating fabrics which could work with this jacket but will need sewing up.

The most likely first candidate would be a skirt from a tiny remnant of dark green stretch bengaline. Sadly not enough for trousers.

Let's see if I can keep on track with the green pieces or if SWAP or Christmas sewing distract me!

Monday 21 November 2016

Sewing red faux leather into trousers

I want to make this dark red faux leather into trousers.
It has no stretch. The red is a plastic feeling layer bonded onto some black woven fabric.

I had read that you should
- use a longer stitch length but not a leather needle
- use clips rather than pins
-  draw the design onto the reverse before cutting out
- sew using a teflon or walking foot (I have a teflon foot)
- choose a simple design to minimise seams etc.

Any other tips you could suggest from experience?

Sunday 20 November 2016

Chairs Project

I have some ikea dining chairs which are good as extra chairs. They don't fit too well with my colour scheme so I plan to paint the silver grey metal more of an ivory cream colour and recover the fabric parts. Probably with an ivory or cream fabric.
 The frames are fairly straightforward, I shall sand them and paint them. I have some leftover radiator enamel from a previous house in a colour called Vanilla which I hope will be OK.
 The backs may be slightly tricky as they are covered on both sides. However I think I could make a shaped cover which fits and staple in place on the bottom. I'll need to allow holes to reattach to the frames.
The seats have a simple arrangement where the fabric is just stretched around and stapled on, leaving access for the screws.

I plan to make some simple templates for the back and seat covers so I can make good use of the fabric I have. The resources have yielded a couple of options, so I'll see which one looks best (and has enough fabric!)

Saturday 19 November 2016

Burda 12/2016 #134 "Whale" Stuffed Animal

I picked up Burda Style Magazine today for December.
My favourite item of all is the toy whale which I would love to have a go at making. Imagine the stunned look on DBF's face if he got this from Santa?

And if it wanted to live at my place I could cope with that....

Friday 18 November 2016

SWAP items - what to sew first?

So from the SWAP rules it says
You may make 2 “Early Bird” garments, begun on or after November 5th, when the Rules were posted and completed prior to December 26th, the official start of sewing.
So having had a good think about what fabrics and patterns I would like to use I now have an opportunity to sew two of them before Christmas.

I'm in a choir which wears black (of your choice) with a red scarf. So I could sew the black trousers and the black top for choir and leave the other pieces for after Christmas. I do have a black dress I wear at the moment (the Vogue one) but it is getting a little tired and it would be nice to ring the changes.

I still haven't finished up the various green pieces I had planned. I am part way through the green jacket and it is slow going. I've made a bit of progress but not much. Work has been busy (I work in IT Projects) but we have the new config going in this coming weekend and then things will be less frenetic and I might get a bit of sewing done.

Thursday 17 November 2016

SWAP 2017 Patterns - Jacket

I have lots of jacket patterns so this one might stay a little more open than the other pattern choices.
I have some TNTs (tried n tested patterns) which I can always reuse if time gets tight, but also lots of other I could try.

The easiest of all, and one where I wear the finished garments a lot is the shawl collar cardigan from Prima Magazine November 2010.

I think this would work really well in the more boucle jacket fabric, which although not a knit has a similar hand to some of the throws I have used for this pattern, and reads as a sweater knit, so I think it would be really good in this style. This fabric has an attractive reverse which would work well for the fold back collar and being unlined.
 The plus for this is it would be super quick to sew up which is often an important feature late on in SWAP sewing!

If I wanted a bit more shape but still a simple style that I've already altered then I could go for New Look 6082.
Or I could go somewhere between the two with the cardigan from my old favourite New Look 6735. This is for a knit though so I'd need to watch the fit.
Not TNTs
Or I could go for a more extreme silhouette with the jacket from Vogue 2989.
I am concerned that I don't have enough waist to carry this one off, and the open fronts of the other styles are more slenderising for my figure. This one is NOT a TNT for the jacket although I have made the dress, top and skirt.

Now for the other fabric I do fancy something a bit more structured.
Although this has lots of colours in it, it does have a strong stripe running parallel to the selvedge (running across in the picture above) so will need a version of pattern matching. It does not have an attractive reverse, and is a looser weave so I think needs to be lined.
This could be an ideal candidate for Simplicity 1784, as the jacket and blouse should work well together as they are from the same wardrobe pattern.
I am not sure what I think about that curved collar, but I think it would be OK.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Column of Colour

There's a great post from Imogen Lamport on Inside Out Style about Horizontal lines.


Absolutely fascinating as Imogen's posts often are.

She also has several on wearing a Column of Colour which is an idea I really love.


Tuesday 15 November 2016

Ruthie Challenges

I tend towards my default wardrobe for work of  tailored trousers, brogues, knit top and cardigan or jacket. I use the same bag (normally a black leather one) for several weeks and start to get a bit bored.
Then I decide its time to have a 'Ruthie Challenge' and choose something I am going to do for the coming week. These are normally a completely personal challenge I keep to myself, or occasionally share with one friend, but I thought it might be fun for others too.

The challenges include things like
- wear something handmade by me (usually a knit top or jewellery) every day for a week (or longer, I really like this one).
- use a brightly coloured handbag (e.g. red) everyday that week - sometimes I do this one for several weeks having a different coloured bag each week (red bag week, gold bag week, teal green bag week etc)
- wear a different statement necklace every day for a week
- wear a different skirt or dress every day for a week
- catch up on my ironing and then wear a different proper shirt every day for a week
- wear lipstick every day for a week
- choose something I haven't worn for ages and make a new outfit from it, and then decide if I keep it or not.
- take time to alter or mend things which are too loose, too long, missing a button etc and then wear them!

I have been getting in a rut again, mostly because work has been really busy and I've been putting all my energy into that and less into choosing what I get dressed in each day.

Often my challenges are sparked by buying new (or new to me thrifted) items and wanting to incorporate them into my wardrobe, other times by a sense that I have slightly lost my lack of fun.

So I have decided this week to have a skirt/dress week, and have planned some outfits to make that easy for the week.
Today was the Vogue 2989 black dress, worn with black boots, a red wool jacket, a pearl brooch, pearl earrings and pearl and silver necklace. Frankly this was a bit warm in the overheated office (even with the jacket removed, as that was instead of a coat).
 I also added the pleated scarf and new silver bag.
It probably could've used some lipstick. But I felt fairly comfortable, other than being too hot.
Upcoming options are purple, teal and navy, for in the week and maybe brown on Friday. I may have to change bags again, and why not!

Do you like to give yourself challenges? What sort of things do you try?