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Wednesday 28 February 2018

Print Sweater Knit Cardigan

This is a cardigan made from some print sweater knit I bought on holiday a few years ago.
Its a bit of a mash up between two patterns, but mostlythe cardigan from New Look 6735.
With the lower section (but not hem band) and cuffs from New Look 6786.
It came out like this.
I'm fairly happy with it except for the white blobs, which might get patched with scraps as they are visually rather distracting.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Pattern traced from RTW top

I've mentioned before a RTW top I traced and made into a tissue paper pattern.
I then have made a lot of simple knit tops from that pattern.
I really liked the relaxed fit of this purchased sweater. It has dropped shoulders, a curved hem and a scoop front neckline. Its made from a lightweight sweater knit, but sewn up like a T shirt not knitted as a sweater.
So I folded it in half, traced the outline, added a seam allowance, created a neckline and the pattern was born. Sometimes I reduce the scoop of the front neckline and I shorten the neckband depending on the stretch of the fabric and how much I scooped the neck.

I made the first version of this on 17th October, and have so far made a total of 15 tops with this pattern. Sometimes the neck is scooped less, and often I have extended the sleeves to full length (the original was only 3/4 length sleeves). Here are the 15 tops!

Did I mention its a super easy pattern.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dylon Leather Dye in brown used to recolour old tan brogue shoes

Just sharing a shoe dye which worked quite well. Unfortunately the before and after pics are taken in completely different lighting conditions so they don't show properly how deep the brown is after, I might take another new photo tomorrow.
I used Dylon Leather Dye which I bought online. It took several hours over 2 days to do all the coats but the shoes are a much better colour for me now, so I'm pleased. I also changed the laces to ones which match better with the new colour

My tips: Wear thin plastic gloves as it will stain your fingers, cover the work surface and use an artists brush not the one they supply. Doesn't work on patent or gloss leather (special finishes) but worked great on my slightly tired medium tan shoes.

Sunday 18 February 2018

The tale of two overlockers (sergers)

My first overlocker was bought in the mid 1990s. It is a New Home MyLock 134D which is a Janome brand.  It sews well, it is a bit fiddly to thread so I try to always pull the threads through and sew several things in the same colour.
Unfortuantely it is extremely noisy (even on the noise absorbing pad) which isn't great if anyone else is in the house at the time. It was once compared to a pnuematic drill.
However I am used to it and still sew on it now.

About 8 or 9 years ago (I think) I went on a sewing course in Preston and we used some absolutely beautiful Bernina overlockers. They purred. I was wowed. I saved up my birthday gifts and bought one for myself. Perhaps not the same model as on the course I don't recall exactly.
Anyway I bought a Bernina Overlock Sewing machine 800DL.
It was quiet but I had a lot of trouble with the threading. I went back to using the old overlocker, yes it was noisy but it worked ALL THE TIME.
I relocated to a different part of the country and was not near the dealer I bought it from. Some time later I was back near the old neighbourhood on the way back from a vacation and took the machine back to the dealer explaining about the problems.

The man at the dealer was really helpful and showed me how to thread it (different to the Janome) and I wrote detailed notes which I found recently.

Sadly the 800DL is still sitting in the packing box from when I moved 3 1/2  years ago so I need to get brave and give it another go. In particular it would be nice to have it set up for a rolled hem and make a bunch of scarves with pretty fabrics

I share the threading instructions here for anyone else having trouble, and also for myself when I lose the scrap of paper. Such things are of course now on youtube so here's a link I've found.

Youtube Bernina 800DL Serger 4 Threading link.

This is one of a large number of videos on this machine
link here

How to Thread Bernina 800DL Overlocker
-          Presser foot raised (opens tension disks)
-          Use both hands with threading

With one hand either side, thread taut, into tension channel.
Pull up gently, if threaded correctly doesn’t come out

1    Wrap around, don’t need thread to come through, temp disengage blade, get thread 1 under foot.

2    Button to bring looper. Thread. Hold thread whilst gently lifting looper back into place. Make sure neither are twisted

3    Round back of guide, and thread

4    Same for 4

With blade still out the way, move thread round under foot.
With foot raised take hold of all 4 threads and draw several inches to check all running smoothly.
If there is any resistance, then something isn’t right.
With needle in top position put blade back. Put the foot down.
Before pressing foot pedal, hold threads in one hand, turn hand wheel towards you two or three times, this links the threads together before the power.

Then it sews fine!

Saturday 17 February 2018

Extras for the Overlocker (serger)

I recently bought some inexpensive items for the overlocker (serger) and was pleased that I did.
I thought I would share them with you. (Just pictures, not links, please buy from your preferred supplier!)
Double Cone thread holder. I now have three of these and use two on the Coverhem machine instead of the original spool holder which got very badly damaged after I dropped things on it. I use the other one with the overlocker where the cones are too large to all be on the machine. (Cost £5-6)

Cheap thread nets, only work with large cones of overlocker thread, good at keeping the tension and stopping the thread tangling everywhere (Cost £2-3). Solved a problem I had using a very fine slippery thread in cones.

Great for when the overlocker comes unthreaded and its difficult to rethread the lower loopers.
Simpler than the old tweezer approach. (£3-4). Wish I'd bought these years ago.

Brush for cleaning all the fluff out of the overlocker (not quite sure what the bottle brush end is for. (£1). Could use a little painbrush instead but I like having a dedicated tool. Much better than blowing the fluff which puts moisture inside the machine (bad) and makes you sneeze (also bad).

The last one I've had for about 7 years and think is fabulous, this is a serger pad with trim catcher. (£20). It is a mat with some padding underneath which stops the overlocker being quite so noisy, and a bag which catches the bits that get cut off by the blades. A very clever thing which keeps the floor a bit cleaner!
People do make their own with quilting fabric etc, but I'm quite happy with my purchased one.

Friday 16 February 2018

Developing a You-niform

I was thinking how I could work out my own recipe for getting dressed. Some days I want something easy and having a bit of a formula would be good.
I have learned that I am medium high value contrast (the higher side of medium rather than the lower side of high), with overall dark(ish) from my hair, I have 2 colours (pink in my skin and lips, teal eyes), and one neutral (brown/silver hair.)
My brown hair is wavy and greying, and has silver and copper/bronze tones in the light. I need to have depth, colour and texture always in my outfit. Because of the hair, fabrics with subtle variation, marl, soft pinstripes, slubbed fabrics, ribs, crinkled texture etc are better than smooth.
Whilst I know I can wear all the colours in my Sophisticated swatch, the browns, teals/green and pinks/ burgundies are easier for me to wear. (The lighter blues, purples and greys which are so great for others with the Sophisticated palette are less in harmony with the colours in my personal colouring).

I decided this year to concentrate on 4 main signature colours to build out my wardrobe more (particularly with my sewing) and not get too distracted with some of the others at the moment. I chose my dark brown (Burnt Cinnamon) and my navy (Sargeant) to be my base neutrals which I'll have as 60% of each outfit, usually as an inner or outer column. I will then have either a teal (Mallard) and a pink/red (Hawthorn) as 30% of the outfit (usually either the top or layer) and then use the 10% in soft white (often pearls in jewellery) or metallics or another colour.
 My easy formula is trousers + top + layer + scarf/necklace. I also add shoes, earrings (smallish), bag (and coat/gloves/hat when required).
I realise that I am choosing medium value colours and dark neutrals which is only giving a medium value contrast, however as I am on the higher side of medium value contrast I reckon wearing colour plus having small doses of lighter/metallic/other colour with the dark neutral is giving me that sense of contrast adequately.

Note: I am following Imogen Lamport's 7 Steps to Style Programme and have had colour analysis and bought the swatches through that. This is a chargeable programme, however some of Imogen's advice is available for free on her blog

Thursday 15 February 2018

Chocolate lace cardigan

I am absolutely on a roll with the brown items.

The latest one is a lace remnant that has been in the stash for a long time. It was a slightly odd shape and the selvedge was missing from one side. However the cotton lace weave is nicely stable and symmetrical, and the remaining selvedge was in good condition. So once again I used my adapted version of the cardigan jacket from Prima magazine November 2010.
I folded the fabric first of all to cut the neckband seam on the fold and the centre front on the selvedge, this meant I did not need to have a seam at the back, and as the lace is symmetrical the two fronts (which are all one piece) look the same. I cut the sleeves out next to the fronts and coverhemmed them. I refolded the remaining (strangely shaped) piece and cut out the back on the fold, with the pattern going the same direction as the front which I was super pleased about.

The lace doesn't fray, so for now I have left the main hem raw as coverhemming would show where the collar folds back. I also don't really want to loose much length due to fabric limitations.
I do have a piece of lace fabric left over which might be enough for a front on a mixed fabric tee in future.
We are now up to ten pieces in the February Chocolate collection.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Chocolate obsession continues - cardigan jacket from Ikea GURLI throw

I bought this throw from Ikea a while back, they still sell the throws though not in this brown multi colourway anymore. I saw they have dark blue and would quite like that for when I go back to sewing navy again.

My throw was very crumpled from the tight packaging, so I washed it and allowed it to air dry, then spread it out and cut out a jacket from that Prima pattern, using the finished edges for the hem, front edge and sleeve hems.
I've made this before from a Gurli throw in red and blue.
(The colour is more like the images of the throws at the top)

As a reminder to myself for next time, I cut a slightly narrowed front (reduced the width of the neckband slightly) and one sleeve on the fold using one hem for the hems, then refolded to cut the back on the fold and the other sleeve flat, using the opposite hem. I was left with a strangely shaped piece in the centre.

If you want to try sewing something froma Gurli throw be aware they have no stretch, are loosely woven and fray like mad. However they do come in fabulously beautiful colours and are wonderfully textured. Plus they are £6 each which is enough for a jacket like this!
You need to stitch and immediately overlock and try to handle as little as possible. I leave long overlocker thread tails and thread back into the seam with a big needle.
The 9 pieces finished so far in February (quite good going for 2 weeks!!)

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Chocolate brown obsession

I am still sewing chocolate brown. Apparently I have sewn 14 items using 26.5 metres of various brown based fabrics (according to my stash spreadsheet) and I have another 6 garments planned. Then I shall change the thread colour, probably to cream to sew some cream and brown print tees.

As you know I do like to sew several things with the same thread colour but that is even more extreme than normal for me (the most I could find before was 9 different tees all sewn with white thread, not counting bulk projects like cot sheets when my twin nieces were born, table cloths for an entire community centre and anything involving curtains).

I should have that colourway out of my system in a few weeks (I hope). After which I probably won't want to sew anything brown for a long long time. It is a bizarre obsession right now but I'm sure it will pass.

So chocolate brown is definitely one of my SWAP neutrals (as well as one of my key wardrobe neutrals generally), and I will have plenty to pick from both for that bit of SWAP and also just for getting dressed!

I carried on sewing chocloate brown and here's an open front cardigan (piece 15) in the tie dye semi sheer floral mystery fabric.

This has used another 2 metres, and is adapted from my old favourite pattern from Prima magazine November 2010
I've got my subscriptions worth just from that pattern!

Here's the most recent 8 pieces (I guess its not a 6PAC anymore)

And the previous 7 pieces
At some point I will photograph them all in the same light as they come out too warm in the indoor light with flash.

Next up, yet more brown, probably another cardigan from that pattern but this time from an Ikea Gurli throw (no longer sold by Ikea in this colourway, but previously purchased and stashed by me).

Spring 6PAC extended chocolate collection - chocolate semi sheer floral tee

The fabric for this top has been in the stash (aka resources) for a long time. A really long time, and as such I have no memory of where I bought it.
It has been out for audition many times, but the semi sheer nature of the darker stripes coupled with the tie dye effect made it a bit tricky. However I decided that given I'm sewing anything I can with brown thread this was an ideal candidate.
After the lace tee came out really thick when I lined it, I decided that I'll just wear a cami under this one and not line it.
I added a neckband cut from the brown tie dye fabric as the colour seemed similar enough, as the semi sheer fabric was not going to work as a neckband. It seems slightly heavy in comparison but works OK I think.
The sleeves and hem are just serged, though I did have to turn the differential feed on the serger down to 0.7 to get a reasonable finish, I couldn't leave the edges unfinished as the sheer section does ladder slightly. I can always coverhem or zigzag later if I feel that would give a better finish.

Monday 12 February 2018

Spring 6PAC extended chocolate collection - chocolate tie dye tee

It is another version of my drop shoulder tee with curved hem (traced from RTW), this time in the same chocolate tie dye fabric I used for the cardigan.
I actually used the other piece of tie dye fabric, but they work really well together and you can't tell I bought them from different sources, its definitely the same fabric.

I also made a belt for the cardigan which I cut out of this second piece of fabric, I need to revisit the cardigan and see what alterations I want to make to it to be really happy with it.

Sunday 11 February 2018

One Dozen Tips on How to Sew Productively

I have apparently got a reputation for sewing quickly. I’m not sure that’s really true, but if you want to sew more productively these are my top tips.

1 Have a dedicated sewing space.

Currently I have my own house and I have a whole (small) bedroom as a dedicated sewing room which is great, this hasn’t always been possible, but whether it is a desk in the corner of the dining room or bedroom, a table in the hallway or more than that it makes a huge difference if you are able to leave your sewing machine set up. I’ve seen people use their conservatory, a guest bedroom, basement, area under the stairwell etc. If you have to use the dining table (and it needs to be used for meals as well), then have a cupboard/shelf nearby where you can move the sewing machine, still threaded for the duration of the meal and then move it back. A portable caddy with a handle containing scissors, pins, tape measure etc is also handy. Depending on what you are sewing it is good to have the ironing board and iron set up nearby also (less critical for knits).

2 Sew TnTs

Develop some TnTs (tried and tested patterns) which you sew over and over in different fabrics and with minor variations. You have done your fitting exercise once, and then just cut out and sew. This may seem boring, but with different fabrics, necklines, sleeve lengths, colour blocking, embellishments etc garments can look quite different.

3 Sew multiple garments in the same colour thread

Thread up the sewing machine (and if you have them overlocker/serger and anything extra like a coverhem machine) in a single colour e.g. brown, ivory, navy etc and then construct several garments using the same thread. For example if you are short of summer tops, you could cut out 3 tees all from the same pattern, but different prints but that all had an off white background. Then sew them all up with off white before you have to change thread again.

4 Keep all your sewing stuff together

Where possible keep all your fabric, notions, scissors, thread, patterns etc in the same place in the house. If this isn’t possible try to get similar things together, and is as few places as possible. So for example when I sewed on a student desk in the corner of the bedroom I had a bookcase behind me.  I kept thread and other notions in the drawers of the desk, patterns in boxes on the bookcase with my sewing books and had a folder of swatches for the fabric stash which was stored in boxes in the loft. Try not to have some fabric under the bed, some on top of the wardrobe, some in the loft, some in the dining room etc. Pick a single location for fabric and put it all there. This will save you time when you want to sew fabric you have already bought. Similarly keep all your sewing related things in a hobby box or drawer and return them there after use, that way you can always find your buttonhole chisel or fray check.
I previously lived somewhere which didn’t have great fabric buying options and tended to stash. I know have fairly easy access to new fabrics and am trying to sew down the stash a bit more.

5 Have basic supplies on hand

I don’t recommend an enormous stash of supplies (though mine has built up over many years), but it does make sense to have some basic supplies on hand of things you regularly use. For me this is things like invisible zippers, iron on interfacing in charcoal and white, elastic in several widths. Where you have got quantities of something like ribbon, lace, buttons, zips, cording etc keep like with like and clearly labelled.  Zip lock bags work well to keep things together and can be tucked neatly into a drawer or box.

6 Sew little and often

Try to sew every day, even if only for a few minutes and use time away from the machine to read the instructions for a new pattern (fine in a waiting room), measure and pin a hemline (I like to do this watching TV) or small items of hand sewing. Please don’t wait until you have a whole sewing day just do a few minutes whenever you get a chance. After a few sessions you’ll see fantastic progress and be encouraged to do a little more. Often the day has more of those little snippets of time, so its good to make use of them rather than being online again!

7 Use scraps wisely

I like to keep the scraps leftover after cutting out the garment handy during construction. I use them to test all the machines are sewing correctly, and to experiment with finishes. So if I want to see how the automatic buttonhole will look I mock up a bit of waistband/front band, with all the layers the real one would have and try a few buttonholes, see if the extra thick edges get stuck, if the buttons go through and so on. For a hem, I’ll mock up the multiple layers and see whether the cover hem, blind hem, zig zag or top stitched hem looks better on that fabric. 10 minutes experimenting with hem finishes on a scrap can save a lot longer unpicking later.

8 Measure and sew carefully

I find it is actually quicker and easier to spend slightly longer measuring, marking and pinning as this results in less unpicking later. I also like to sew knits on the sewing machine first, then check I don’t have any gaps, puckers etc, before putting through the overlocker.  I realise this is not necessarily what everyone else would do, however I don’t want pins anywhere near my overlocker blades, and early on I had a few times when I chopped off bits I didn’t want to with the overlocker, using the sewing machine first reduces this a great deal. (if you are happy sewing directly on the overlocker and don’t have mishaps, then keep doing it, maybe one day I’ll get brave and do that too, but for now careful works for me).

9 Hold the ends of the thread when starting sewing

On fine fabric the sewing machine can ‘eat’ the fabric at the start of the stitching. An easy way to avoid this is to position the fabric under the presser foot and put the foot down, then using one hand hold the thread ends with light tension and coming out the back of the machine. Put the needle down into the fabric and sew a few stitches whilst still holding the thread, after an inch or so you should be able to let go and sew as normal. This takes 1 second longer, but avoids having to unpick the mess created from a thread snarl.

10 Apply elastic with a zig zag stitch rather than the overlocker

When doing an elastic waist treatment where the elastic is sewn to the top of the garment, folded over and top stitched at the seams, the directions often advise overlocking/serging the elastic to the garment. This is really difficult to unpick if it is the wrong length later. To avoid this I try the garment on with the elastic sewn into a loop and adjust the length if needed. I overlock just the top of the garment to finish it (usually done earlier) then quarter and stitch the elastic on with a zig zag stitch. This doesn’t show at all once folded over but is a lot easier to unpick if the elastic needs to be changed for some reason.

11 Sew knits and stretch wovens

There is a learning curve to sewing knits, but once you are comfortable with them, they make for fast and easy projects. There are lots of books and videos available which help you learn the techniques and they are often more forgiving of figure variations because the stretch accommodates to different shapes. I am a huge fan of knits and although I’ve had my share of wadders am now fairly confident with simple styles in a wide variety of knits. Stretch wovens, such as bengaline and other stretch fabrics which can be used for trousers can also be great, a bit smarter than a knit and sewn with a combination of knit and woven construction methods depending on the style and the fabric. I find the resulting trousers very comfortable.

12 Sew simple styles

If you want to produce more completed garments, then fewer details will make for a faster sew. Be careful that easy doesn’t mean shapeless, a little waist shaping in a knit top or dress will really help, as do shoulders and waists that sit well on the body. An invisible zip is easy with the right sewing machine foot and is smoother under other garments than the bulk (and complexity) of a front fly zip. A simpler style can also be better when showcasing an amazing fabric, as it allows the fabric to shine.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Chocolate tie dye cardigan - New Look 6786

I made the cardigan from New Look 6786 as per the pattern, with several minor exceptions.
Firstly I cut the entire cardigan from one fabric, rather than using a contrast fabric for the bands.
Secondly I cut the sleeve bands with the stretch going round the arm rather than the other direction as per the pattern piece and layout diagram. I also left off the belt and buttons and buttonholes

The picture on the hanger is more accurate for the colour, but the picture laid out on the floor shows the garment shape better.
Slightly unhelpfully my living room carpet is also brown!

I wanted to test this before I cut into the sweater knits I really want made into cardigans, and I also did not want to rethread the machines, so I went through the brown fabrics and decided to go with this brown viscose tie dye fabric. I loved this fabric so much I turned out to have bought the same fabric twice, in different places at different times and at different prices. So I was OK with using one of them to test the cardigan pattern, however its a bit thin really and a ponte or sweater knit would definitely be better.
I have a few things I would change for the next version, so here are my observations.

The bands are all different widths and don't feel particuarly substantial. I would probably like them all wider (maybe not the hem band). In comparison to the Blackwood cardigan (which I don't have but I've seen lots of pictures of them made up), the bands are all narrower and the front is a different shape (unsuprisingly).
The sleeves are not full length, and they are very wide at the end. (as you can sort of see in the model photo). In my view the sleeve would be better longer and more tapered towards the wrist. The sleeve bands should be replaced with cuffs which are broader but tighter.
If I am not going to make the buttons and buttonholes, then the curve of the front should be altered.
I made the largest size (an 18) and its quite loose, however this may be needed in a thicker fabric.

I will still wear my tie dye brown version, probably in the summer as a lightweight coverup as its very thin.  On this version, I am wondering about removing the hem bands, tapering the sleeves and adding deep cuffs to bring the length more to my preference.

It needs pressing or the bands somehow topstitching, though I think zigzag stitch would look wrong on this fabric (would be ok on something thicker), straight stitch would stretch out too much and the coverhem might struggle with all the layers at the seams. Unlike a sweater knit it should take the pressing without any problem so I'll try that first.

It was definitely a useful exercise and I can make something I like even better the next time I use this pattern.

I'm not sure whether I will now make a tee shirt out of the rest of the tie dye fabric (and make the belt for the cardigan having decided not to!) or go straight ahead to making the planned cardigans.

Either way I am busy over the next few evenings and the weekend so it will probably be sometime next week.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Cardigan New Look 6786

I've cut out the tissue for the cardigan pattern I'm planning on using for Spring 6PAC and SWAP, which is New Look 6786, though I think I shall leave off the buttons and belt. There are cardigans all over the internet with the young set, mostly using some indie pattern that $14 as a PDF (Blackwood cardigan), which reminded me of this NL pattern, so I found it in the pattern boxes and cut it out.
Similarly to the Blackwood is has hem and sleeve bands and a front band and they are 1:1 not stretched bands. However the sleeve is quite loose at the wrist so I might decide to narrow that down.

I am planning on making this in plain brown sweater knit and also in a print sweater knit with plain brown bands (I have a lot less of the print). Have to see how that works out. The only question is whether I want to make a test garment first before I cut out the sweater knits, and I think maybe it would be a good idea, but it would be easiest if it used brown thread..... off to hunt in the fabric shelves.

Monday 5 February 2018

Burda Style magazine 04/2009 #134 Copper Stripe Trousers

I used the same pattern again (Burda Style magazine 04/2009 #134) with the same alterations this time with a strange very stretchy metallic stripe fabric from deep in the fabric collection.
Here's the finished trousers. The fabric had an unbalanced stripe, so I cut the pieces single layer and rotated through 180 degrees to cut the left and right so they are mirror images of each other. I felt that gave a more balanced stripe effect to the finished trousers. I am pleased with how that worked although it was fiddly to cut out.

I also chose to use the side of the fabric which was mostly dark brown with a bit of copper as the right side and used the much shiner side as the wrong side (I suspect this is the opposite of the original manufacture as some copper chenille stripes are now on the inside also), however I felt this would be more wearable than the full metallic version.

I did some tests on scraps and the coverhem gave the best finish for the hem (stretching with the stretchy fabric whilst not distorting it at all).
As before the stripe ran across the fabric and the stretch down, so I've cut here on the cross grain.
There is some fabric left but so far I've not decided what it will be, though it is currently leaning towards a jacket of some sort. It very much did not want to be a skirt so I didn't push it.

These do work with the tops I already sewed for Spring 6PAC which is a relief as I thought I was sewing a load of mismatched items and was being a bit daft.

I had hoped to make this pattern a few more times in plain dark brown stretch woven but it needs 2.5 metres of fabric and the lengths I tried were 2.2 and 2.0 and were never going to work with this pattern, so they may appear as a different style.

Friday 2 February 2018

Burda Style magazine 04/2009 #134 Brown Stripe Trousers

These were supposedly part of the Spring 6PAC but they don't work with either of the tops so I'll call them an extra for the Chocolate collection, where two of the three tops work with them.
The fabric is a stretch woven with a variegated stripe in white, yellow and orange. Orange isn't in my palette now so these will need to be worn with ivory and brown garments and gold tone jewellery. The stripe is far enough from my face for it to be OK I think.
The pattern used is Burda Style magazine 04/2009 #134.

This is a pull on trouser pattern for stretch wovens only.  I used a stretch woven mystery fabric with stripes running across the fabric and stretch in both directions. I cut it with the stripes running up and down the leg, ie crosswise and this worked out well.

The fabric was purchased years ago and has been used once already to make a pair of trousers (which got too tight) and there was also a skirt cut out but never sewn up. There are only tiny scraps left now.

I traced the size 46, but modified it slightly by overlaying New Look 6216 and adding the extra at the inner front thigh and back side hip, though I'm not sure that's really needed in this stretchy fabric.
I like the way the front and back darts give more shaping to an elasticated waist trouser than usual, and also how the elastic can be stitched down in 8 places rather than just 4. This really keeps the elastic secure but would make it harder to alter or replace.

The bootcut shape is probably a bit old fashioned these days but it would be easy enough to taper the leg slightly. I did blind hem stitching on the hem. I used 2" elastic in the waist and a 2" hem.

I plan several more of these in brown with a copper stripe and a plain dark brown, these other two should work better with the Spring 6PAC.

Spring 2018 6PAC sew along (Feb-Apr) - Brown and Teal Lace top

Last week I was debating between underlays for some lace fabric.
And against most advice (many people liked the brown), I went with the muted teal.
I'm quite happy with the colour of the underlay, but the two fabrics together are quite thick, so I feel rather like I've sewn myself a lace sweatshirt.

I'll probably still wear it, but the lesson learned from this is when using a fabric to underline stretch lace, choose something as thin, drapey and stretchy as the lace itself.

There is some more lace left so I could use the (thinner) brown and try again, but I'm not sure I would want two lace tops from the same fabric......

Here's how my 6PAC is looking so far:-

Brown and teal print top - COMPLETED
Brown and teal lace top - COMPLETED (see above)

Brown cardigan (sweater knit)
Brown teal print cardigan (sweater knit)

Brown trousers
Brown/copper skirt

Thursday 1 February 2018

Spring 2018 6PAC sew along (Feb-Apr)

I'm a huge fan of the 6PAC (6 piece seasonal collection) devised by Elizabeth/ejvc and described on her blog here

She has done a new version for Spring 2018, which has some wonderful characters needing wardrobes. I encourage you to read it and enjoy.

I try and sew along with Elizabeth's guidelines every season (as you can probably see in the left hand side bar) and whilst I don't always stick to her suggestions I think they are great, particularly for establishing lots of good basics in your wardrobe. Sometimes as sewists its easy to see pretty fabric, sew it up and then find we don't have enough plain pieces for every day wear.

If you'd like to chat with others about this, we have a thread going over on Stitchers Guild.

Elizabeth suggests
  1. one layer garment (jacket, cardigan, vest) in your neutral
  2. one layer garment in your colour or your neutral (can be a tone-on-tone variation, i.e. dark grey or light grey)
  3. one top in your colour (or toned colour)
  4. one top in your neutral or a second neutral or a print mixing your neutral and your colour
  5. one bottom (trousers or skirt) in your neutral
  6. a second bottom (trousers or skirt) in another variant of your neutral
My thoughts were to continue with my brown and teal theme, I'm really motoring along with it which is going to help my wardrobe options during the RTW fast and with my Stash Shrinking endeavours.

Brown cardigan (sweater knit)
Brown teal print cardigan (sweater knit)

Brown and teal print top - COMPLETED (see below)
Brown and teal lace top

Brown trousers
Brown/copper skirt
I may well add some more pieces in as I'm REALLY on a roll with my brown fabrics and have 10,000m cones of thread on my overlocker (that's a lot of sewing).

I was so keen I started on a new top yesterday evening, which I'd like to share with you.
It is the same drop shouldered knit top pattern traced from RTW as all tops I've sewn recently.
Its a loose fitting style with slimmer sleeves which is working very well for me at the moment, so I just keep sewing more of them.
This is the bottom left fabric from my late december fabric purchases, so happily hasn't languished in the Fabric Resources for too long before getting sewn up.
As an added bonus I have discovered that this top works beautifully with the blue cardigan jacket from last May's Summer Sea collection.
I do like it when that happens!