Sunday, 15 March 2015

In progress

I bought Simplicity 1696 last year and finally pulled it out last weekend.  I have some cheap ebay denim to use up.  

 For the pocket linings I am using a piece of cloud fabric from my mum's quilting stash.
That's as far as I have got.  I like to see other people's i n progress posts, do you?  Sometimes I get a bit tired of seeing only completed sewing projects.  There's a great tah-dah quality to them, I love seeing hat everyone makes and I am impressed but sometimes it feels like finished item posts makes everything seem so simple and easy and I am left thinking I am the only one who sews in tiny stages in between Life.  So here is a perhaps timely post showing sewing in tiny bits between nursery pick ups and school clubs, between cooking and clearing up, homework and playing in the sand.  I don't know when I will finish these trousers...but I do have a zip clutched in my hand ready to put in,

Saturday, 7 March 2015

FO: Maria Denmark Paula Skirt

 I bought the Maria Denmark Paula Pleated skirt pdf last year when it was on an offer.  I usually always go for an A line skirt so I thought a slightly fuller one would be a good change.  Then I never made it, due to lack of printer and lack of fabric.

An old friend (who I love very much if she's reading this) sent me some fine needlecord-ish fabric as a surprise Christmas present.  The fabric pattern reminds me of a magnified tweed or the old seat coverings on the tube and buses.
I decided to use the Maria Denmark pattern as the fabric is a light cord with enough drape to hold the pleats without being too rigid.  Once I found where I had saved the pdf (a challenge in itself) I printed it off.  It is a nice easy sew, the skirt has two main pieces with a side zip and a faced waistband.  Instructions are clear and instructions for a lined version are included but I decided to go with unlined.  I did add french seams though and I like the clean finish I now have.  I also did a ribbon hem which is my current favourite way to hem.  

 I like the fact that this slightly fuller than usual skirt gives me an opportunity to wear my shorter tops and cardigans.  I think it is just full enough, too full and I would feel too frumpy.

And to was a lovely windy day...this is a good skirt to blow in a breeze. :)

Friday, 13 February 2015

FO: Denim jacket Burda 7018

I have had various denim jeans jackets over the years and wound up with none last year.  I had a second hand one lined with wool fabric when I was eighteen.  It was from a vintage store before vintage was fashionable. It had a cord collar and elbow patches.  I don't know what happened to it.  Then I had a pale dusty pink (yes, pink) collarless cropped jacket from Jigsaw in my early twenties and a very dark fitted denim jacket in my late twenties. I used to love wearing it with wide trousers. I think both of those jackets went in clothes clear outs.  After I had RG I found a Gap jeans jacket in a charity shop and wore it for a few months but it was too big.  So after I bought 3 and half metres of denim last year the thought percolated that I could just try making my own jacket. I looked through all my stash patterns but I couldn't find any pattern I wanted to use.  I wanted to make a traditinal style jeans jacket.  The Burda 7018 jacket seemed to fit my requirements.  

I started making this denim jacket in June and finished it in November.  It was a stop start project which lost momentum several times.  This post has been stop start in writing too, so I thought I'd organise it with subheadings to stop me getting too muddled.
 I used denim that I bought at a scrapstore.  I bought three and half metres end of roll for £9 .  I had already used the denim to make a Vogue 1247 skirt.

This was the first Burda pattern I have sewn.  The pattern itself is not very complicated.  It has princess seam type front and a yoked back. The sleeves are sewn in two pieces with a cuff.  The instructions are fairly brief but they are okay.  I cut a straight UK size 12. 
My only addition was to put in front pockets.  I just knew I wouldn't wear a pocketless jacket very much.  I used a small piece of cotton from my stash for the pockets.  I used the same fabric to be the underside of the fake pocket flaps and the underside of the collar.  I did this to avoid too much bulkiness.
At the start of the project I was enjoying the topstitching.  Then, the novelty wore off and I got so fed up with it, especially once I broke the twin needles and had to go buy more.  There was a lot of topstitching in this jacket.   It would be a good project to work on two machines as Sonja describes.  One threaded for topstitching and one for construction stitching.  As I only  had the one machine I veered away slightly from the instructions trying to do as much topstitching in each session before rethreading for construction stitching. 
The jacket went together pretty easily but then I went wrong on the sleeve such a stupid way.  The sleeves are constructed from two pieces.  As the denim I was using has no obvious wrong side I managed to sew two identical sleeves instead of mirror images.  Both would fit in the left side but on the right side it would have the back seam on the front of the sleeve.

This called for a lot of unpicking of topstitching and seam.  Accompanied by much swearing, huffing and puffing.
The sleeves were also really long...I had to trim them by three inches before adding the cuff bands.  Grrr...I really will measure the sleeve pattern pieces if I ever make another long sleeved garment.
So maybe I have little short arms.
What would I change or do differently?
I don't know if I would make this again as I really don't need more than one denim jacket. Unless of course I tripped over a piece of mustard denim one day while walking down the road. Well if that happened, then I would consider making this as a lined jacket.  Lining is just so...well, so nice to have as a finish on a garment.
I have a small sneaking feeling that the collar is slightly too big,  I would also try and make the cuffs as proper buttoned cuffs.  In this pattern the are really just bands.  

Costs: The denim was £9 originally and this has been used for the jacket and a skirt.  So I would say £4.50 fabric cost.  
I bought the jeans buttons, at £3.74
Thread - I had to buy red topstiching threads and new twin needles. I think I bought three reels of the red  thread.  

In the past a denim jeans jacket in my mind would always be something you had to buy, not make.  Actually planning to sew one and checking out details on RTW jackets was a lot of fun.  As it is an unlined, loosely fitted jacket I think it is simpler to sew than I had thought.


The fact that it is lots of small stages of construction lends itself to someone like me who can only sew in small amounts of time.  The Young Burda pattern is simple and easy to follow but you could add to it to make it more complicated.  I am looking forward to warmer weather so I can wear the jacket and I have definitely been converted to jacket sewing....I am thinking of returning to my past plans to make a lined parka.  I was all set to make it but life happened and those plans got shelved.  I just have three or so items in the queue first.

Friday, 23 January 2015

FO: Kelopuu Ottobre Hoodie

Okay, so I know I said  I would finish my UFOs before starting a new project but well, I didn't manage it.  I HAVE fininshed my Burda jacket and will share it soon though,  But then a couple of things happened in December: 
It got colder 
I realised I have few warm tops

A couple of months ago I was sent a copy of Ottobre Women's magazine, Autumn Winter 2014.  This was not because of a blogging promo but because I cancelled my subscription and I think they sent out a free copy to entice me back as a subscriber. On impulse about a month ago, I decided to make the Kelopuu hoodie, enticed by the pockets and the asymmetric front.   I used some fabric on sale at Minerva Crafts, only £2.99 a metre.  I went back to the site and think it is sold out.   It is wine coloured with white flecks and a heavy-ish sweatshirt knit. It is not the greatest quality as it is already bobbling after two weeks but I love the colour and it is warmer than I expected.

The magazine's example of the finished hoodie
The pattern was much easier and quicker to sew than I anticipated. I started tracing on a thursday and finished sewing on sunday. That was much quicker than I had thought,   Ottobre patterns need seam allowances adding - I added mine after tracing and before cutting.   
Here are the instructions....they are brief and as you can see there are no diagrams.   The pattern calls for welt pockets which were new to me.   I had to look up several tutorials before I attempted them.  There was no way I could try them only using the Ottobre instructions!  I need pictures for new techniques.  This was the tutorial I liked best.  They were more straightforward than I had expected.  They are a bit counter intuitive as you sew the inner pocket linings to the outside of the garment, make a slit and push them through.  There was also a lot of thick bulkiness to sew through with the welts and my machine didn't like this. It also didn't like the bulkiness of the cuffs, I had to stop and handcrank the needle through the thickest parts. As the pattern is written for a sewer with an overlocker, the pattern instructions call for the cuffs to be added to the sleeves flat before inserting the sleeve.  Then the sleeve seam and side seams are sewn.  AS I don't have an overlocker, the only drawback of this is the cuff has an unsightly seam inside it.  If I make this again I think I would add the cuff in the round to an already stitched sleeve to give a cleaner finish.  That is how I added cuffs to my Lola dresses and Renfrews.  The sleeves came out really long.  I mean about three inches too long.  I learnt my leson here, I should check sleeve length before cutting out.

I have been wearing the hoodie a lot since completion.  I have been struggling to get pictures with the poor light, So I thought I will just post this anyway.  I was thinking of making it again in a darker colour.  Making it has made me look again at my Ottobre magazines, the patterns are often wearable and functional - does that sound too boring?  As I have a stash of them I wo't be renewing my subscription.  I just plan to sew using what I already have.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


 Little RG is three today.  This is the post where longtime readers will say "Three! How did that go so fast?"  In some ways it has flashed by in the blink of an eye, in other ways the  last three years have been a long haul.  Strange how time stretches and shrinks in our perception.

Anyways, this is a brief pop in to share the homemade party bags I made. I thought, and thought and came up with these very simple bags using card.  Can you tell she is mildly obsessed with dogs?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 in review

 Compared to previous years I didn't make very much this year:
One Anna dress
Clockwise from top left: A Playing Card dress, V1247 skirt, Traveller dress, Lola dress,
Ottobre tunic top, Amy Butler Anna Dress
Two Lola dresses
Vogue 1247 skirt
Burda 7018 denim jacket (yay, I finished it)
Maxi skirt
Butterick 5612 blouse
Brown Lisette Traveller tunic shirt
Ottobre short sleeved blouse (unblogged)
Ottobre Kelopuu hoodie

For RG:
one pair trousers
For Little I:
A Playing Cards Dress
 I was surprised to see I had made two Victory Patterns Lola dresses in 2014 - I really thought I had made them and the Anna dress last year.
The thing I am wearing most at t ishe moment the dark grey Lola  In the winter months it is in steady rotation.  I like the look of the pink Lola but it is so so bright.  I have to be feeling brave to wear it. I wore the Lisette Traveller dress a lot in the Autumn when it was warmer.

Here is my finally finished Burda jacket,  I'm looking forward to getting decent photos and sharing its making journey.  It was a long trek!  Mainly due to stops and starts. It has been too cold to wear it since finishing but I am hoping it will become a staple in the warmer weather.

The last make of 2014 was a Kelopuu hoodie from Ottober 2014 Autumn/winter magazine.  This is a sneak peek - I am writing a proper post about it.  It is by far my favourite make.  And I wasn't expecting that.  I love the colour, the asymmetry,the practicality and the fact it was far easier to make than I had expected.

On a personal note, this has been a tough year for me.  I hadn't blogged that my mum sadly passed away in March.  She was very ill but it was unexpected and it has hit me like a huge speeding train.   I have thought a lot since then about how much to share in this space.  Keeping on sewing has helped me immensely as it is the one thing I do purely for myself and the mechanics and thought processes of a new project  are a refreshing meditation and distraction from the demands of everyday life.  I am so happy to still have readers here and commentators.  I do think I have made some real friends through this space.  SO thank you.
It's not all gloom and doom though...I have been humbled by the support from some unexpected quarters and I have really learnt the benefit of having siblings.  And I have learnt the benefits of HOLIDAYS!  That was a revelation.
I am looking forward to seeing new sewing creations from my blogging friends....Happy New Year to you all  :)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

it's good to give giveaway

Poor neglected dusty blog.  Life takes over sometimes. Plus I feel full doubt and so very tired,I keep going to sleep rather than sit and type up a post.  I am surprised to still have readers.  Thank you sincerely for popping in and for commenting.  I love reading comments.

I have a lovely friend who keeps giving me stuff.  Recently she gave me a bag and some sewing notions.  I am grateful but I feel the walls closing in on me as we have so much stuff in this house.

I thought I'd offer it up here.  It's a little bag filled with notions, some sewing  beads and a bit of fabric.  I have added in some stash fabric. This is a giveaway for  you if you like slightly tarnished and faded packaging, hodgepodge potluck, small pieces of fabric and shiny beads.  Oh and vaguely ethnic, animal print quilted bags.

If you are interested just leave a comment, with obvious contact details if I can't just click on your name.  I will leave the post open till November 10th, 8am GMT.