I made trousers!

These are my Simplicity 1696 trousers in navy twill, which I’ve been saying I would make since October!!!! I finally finished them! OMG! It turns out it’s almost as difficult to photograph navy blue as it is black!

I did have to make a few changes to the pattern to get it to this level of fit, which is still not perfect. Any tips on tweaks I can make will be gratefully received! I took about 4cm off each outside leg seam and 2cm from the inside leg seams. I also had to shave a little of fullness of the bum curve and angle in the waistband, but I didn’t note down by much, which is stupid because I’ll have to work it out again if I make these again!

I think the tweaking of the outside seams means that the pockets now stick out a little from the line of the trousers, but I’m not too bothered about it to be honest. The pockets are nice and deep, which I like! Also I wore these to work (exactly like this, with my melilot shirt) and no-one said anything, so clearly they weren’t thinking ‘wow, those trousers look weird.’

I think the fit is a little bit less good across the back. The pattern gives you room to tweak the fitting as you go, but I maybe will count these as a wearable toile and make some more adjustments if I make them again. There are some drag lines across the back of my thighs, so I’ll need to work out how to fix that!

This side view photo is possibly one of the least flattering photos I’ve taken of me wearing something I’ve made. My natural posture (if I’m not thinking about standing up straight) is with a pretty curved back and with my stomach sticking out (and with hunched shoulders too!), which is particularly unfortunately if I’m a bit bloated, as I was when I took these photos! I’m not pregnant, I promise!

I feel like these trousers may not be the most flattering shape on me – they do make my bottom half look quite heavy, but I don’t really mind as they are comfortable. I was conscious not to over-fit the waistband so they’d still be comfortable to sit down in.

Speaking of sitting down, here’s a close up of my arse! The fake welt pockets are definitely not my finest work, but hey ho. I’d almost rather have done real ones to be honest, or left them off as they were a kind of irritating fiddley step, but without the payoff of actual pockets!

And here’s a close-up of the front. I’m pretty happy with how the fly turned out as it did not look like this when I first sewed it, so there was some unpicking and some fiddling to get it looking okay. I also got a bit confused by the pockets, but luckily I had made the moss skirt for my sister, which has a similar pocket/fly arrangement, so I managed to figure it out. I think part of the problem is that it’s so long since I made a big 4 pattern, I was unfamiliar with their instructions – I’m too spoiled by the extra help and sewalongs that indie patterns give you. The button was just one from my stash.

I can’t think of much else to say about these trousers, except I MADE MOTHERF*CKING TROUSERS!!!! I’m pretty please with myself, if you can’t tell!

I’ll leave you with these outtakes from my photoshoot. The boyfriend suggested we take an action shot of me walking in the trousers and this is what happened……

This is me trying to think of other interesting ways to photography navy blue trousers, but it looks like I’m talking to our penguin (which doesn’t have a name, any suggestions?)

Then I gave up trying to think of photos so just posed with the penguin!

Have you tackled trousers yet? Have you been scared like me?

Fabric shopping in Birmingham

Last Saturday I went with some of the ladies I met at Sew Brizzle to go fabric shopping in Birmingham. I was sad to have missed the bigger meet up the previous week but in a way it was nice to go in a small group as it gave me the chance to chat with everyone (which I didn’t manage to do the time I went to a big London meet-up).

Here we are outside Guthrie and Ghani. Thanks to Sarah from Like Sew Amazing for the photo – she remembered to take pictures when I didn’t! A very kind man took this picture for us 🙂

From left to right: Karen, Amy, Me, Sarah, Ruth and Jen.

Our first stop was Fancy Silk Store. I felt a little overwhelmed when we first went in as it’s deceptively big – and has an upstairs – and I couldn’t take everything in! I did spot that they had reasonably priced denim and after we’d been around some other shops, we circled back and I bought some stretch and non-stretch denim for Ginger and Morgan wearable toiles.

This is the stretch one – it has a nice flecked weave and looks a little like linen, but is thicker. It was £6.99 per metre and I got 1.4m.

And this is the non-stretch. I did want something a bit lighter for my Morgans, but this will do for a practice. It is a little lighter than the stretch one. It was £7.99 per metre and I got 1.6m.

After this first shop we headed into the rag market, where there are loads of fabric stalls, inside and out. I had made the mistake of not taking out any cash as I thought if I did I wouldn’t buy anything! But I did have enough to get some black and some white cotton twill (I think it was twill and not drill, anyone know the difference?!).

I’m planning a 60s style colour blocked Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress. I bought 2 metres of the black and one of the white, and it came to £12 in total (so £4 per metre). I bought this fairly early on and for some reason it weighs loads, so I got pretty sick of carrying it around by the end of the day – I was glad I waited until the end to get the denim!

After the rag market, we all got on a bus and went to Moseley to visit Guthrie and Ghani. I was not-so-secretly hoping we would go there, and I’m so glad I was with people who knew how to get there! I just followed 🙂 I could easily have spent a small fortune in Guthrie and Ghani – you can tell everything is really good quality. And the shop is so pretty!

I decided to treat myself to a couple of patterns which I wanted – the Ebony Tee and Dress by Closet Case Patterns and the Guise Pants by Papercut Patterns.

They have a really great selection of remnants and I couldn’t help picking up a couple of them. I just loved the pattern on this Robert Kaufman cotton. It’s navy blue, though it looks kind of black in the photo. It seems to be called Storm Drown, and I can’t find it anywhere online so I guess it’s not available. This bolt end was 275cm x 90cm and was £15.50. I’m hoping there will be enough for a Colette Aster blouse.

I also couldn’t resist this gorgeous mustard loopback jersey. The photo doesn’t do the colour justice, nor how soft it is. It’s honestly one of the softest fabrics I’ve ever touched. It was £6.50 and there’s only 155cm x 40cm so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to make, but I had to have it.

The final thing I bought from Guthrie and Ghani was this coral crepe fabric. It has a lovely drape and a slightly mottled texture and I got 1.7m of it at £10.50 per metre. This is one of the more expensive fabrics I’ve bought, but the Anderson Blouse I’m planning to make will still only cost £17.85 which is pretty good for a blouse made of such nice fabric!

The last fabric shop we went to was Barry’s. I would have no idea how to find it on my own, but it’s definitely a hidden treasure!

This is another shop that is very, very full of fabrics and I think you could easily spend 4 hours in there and still not see everything!

I did manage to find one treasure, thanks to Jen (Gingerella). It’s this nice blueish-greyish cotton and I bought 2 metres – I can’t remember how much I paid, though. I think I’ll make a short-sleeved Melilot Shirt for when the weather finally gets warm!

So there we go, that’s my haul for a day’s shopping. Not too bad I think. Have you been fabric shopping in Birmingham? Did we miss anywhere good?

 

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Make It: Quilted Cushion

Earlier this year I heard about the Secret Valentine’s Exchange organised by Sanae Ishida and Ute and decided to join in because it sounded fun to make a present for a stranger. Of course once I received my name (Sarah of Northfield Primitives) I was terrified that I would make something that she didn’t like. Everyone who signed up had to fill in a questionnaire of tastes, favourite colours and things, and social media handles and online presence to do a bit of good old-fashioned online stalking! One of the ideas is to use things mostly from your stash too, so I dug through my stash to find fabrics I thought she would like.

Sara listed her favourite colours as blue, mustard yellow, earthy browns and reds, and said she likes old and vintage fabrics, bits of old patchwork and lace. Luckily her colour palette is similar to the colours I like. Since she said she liked patchwork, I thought I’d make a patchwork/quilted cushion cover. I sketched some ideas, working on 6×6 squares, halved into triangles.

I settled on the version on the left and coloured it in to work out which fabrics would go where.

Half the fabrics needed 4 triangles and half needed 8, to make it symmetrical. I then made a key of which fabric matched with which colour on my picture. The corner of the paper is missing because this was my pattern piece for the triangles. I drew a 6cm x 6cm square, then drew a diagonal line down the middle. I then added 1cm to each edge for seam allowance. The total size (36cm x 36cm) was based on a cushion pad I already had in my stash.

I then sewed the triangles into squares. Because it’s symmetrical in all 4 corners, there weren’t that many different combinations in the squares.

I then sewed the squared into strips, making sure each square was facing the right way according to my plan. This hurt my brain a little at various points! Having all the strips made meant I could lay it out to look what it was going to look like. At this point I wasn’t sure it was going to work as I felt some of the fabrics didn’t look great together.

As with so many of my non-clothes makes, I used calico for the back of the cushion and also as the backing for the patchwork/quilting bit. I bought some wadding from my local shop (which was the only thing I bought for this make) and sandwiched 2 layers between the calico (which I had cut down to 38cm x 38cm (with 1cm seam allowance) and the patchwork. I kind of made up the stitching lines and used white thread as I couldn’t decide what other colour would go with so many different colours of fabric. In the end the stitching was pretty much all in the seam lines so it wasn’t too obvious on the front.

Here is the quilting pattern I used (from the back of the front of the cushion):

And here’s the finished cushion!

I didn’t use a zip or anything, I just left a gap to get the pad in and hand stitched it closed. I wonder if I could have added another one or 2 layers of wadding to make the cushion more puffy, but it looks okay. I sent a little package of some fat quarters and other bits and pieces which I thought Sarah would like. I was definitely relieved when she said she liked it!

Did you join in with the Secret Valentine’s Exchange? Or another secret gift exchange? Did you find it nerve-wracking to make something for someone you don’t know?!

Possibly my #MonetaParty Dress

This was going to definitely be my #monetaparty dress but I’m currently half way through another one which I like more, so that one may end up being my official entry for the competition/party. This one was probably more of a wearable toile!

But it does have pockets! This is my face when I have a dress with pockets!

moneta-party-dress-1

After asking on instagram, the consensus was to use this fabric which is navy with white flecks, instead of some teal stuff I also had in my stash – which I’m glad about now, because I think that will make a better Christine Haynes Marianne dress.

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I made the size xs and did have to take it in a little under the arms. I think because it’s quite a thin, drapey knit, it looked a bit saggy!

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I also sewed the waist seam with a 2cm seam allowance and not the 3/8″ that pattern says, because I felt it just sat slightly too low to be flattering. I have an H&M rtw dress that is a similar style to the Moneta, but without pockets and with a v-neck, and the waist seam is really quite high, so I was aiming for that, though it still isn’t quite the same.

moneta-party-dress-4

I do like the fabric, but when it’s stretched it goes white, the colour it is in the wrong side. The bodice therefore looks like it’s stretched too much, because the tiniest bit of stretch makes it look too stretched, because of the white showing through. I am wearing it with a navy vest underneath, which you can’t see, because it’s not really see-through, it just looks like it is, if that makes sense?

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Luckily without changing anything except the underarm seam, the xs size fits me snuggly across the back, which is the place I usually have issues with fit.

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The main issue with this dress, and what makes it a wearable toile, is that I messed up the neckline. I sewed it with a twin needle, but it didn’t quite catch the whole hem so I thought I could sew it again, overlapping one row of stitching so I ended up with 3, but that didn’t quite work. So I unpicked all the rows, and sewed it again. But by then the neck was stretched out and doesn’t look great. I wonder if I could rescue it a little with a neckband, but I’m not sure I like the dress enough to go to the extra effort.

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I decided to try full outfits that I’ll wear when wearing this dress, and I think it looks good with mustard yellow, with a cardigan done up (to hide the terrible neckline!).

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Even with the cardigan undone, it distracts from how wide the neck sits on my shoulders. And I’m sure people wouldn’t notice the neckline too badly if I don’t point it out!

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I also really like it with my Colette Astoria – it sits just at the right place to hit the waist seam. It looks like it could be a top and skirt. This is how I wore it to hang out with Sarah from Like Sew Amazing today to have a irl #monetaparty, where I sewed most of my second Moneta, which is looking more promising, as long as I don’t mess up the neckline again!

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I couldn’t resist showing you this outtake from my photoshoot, where The Boyfriend came out of the room which is behind the doors I use as my backdrop! You can’t see him, but I like the photo my camera, which was on a timer, took of me!

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Twin Mabels for Twin Sisters

You know how I was making those skirts for my sister for Christmas? Well one of the 3 I made in time for Christmas was a Mabel made out of this cool quilted jersey from Fabricland (though we got it in grey and it seems to be only available in khaki now).

This is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-1And this is my sister’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabelLike us the skirts are more fraternal (non-identical) twins than identical twins. They are both a size small – I traced off a size bigger in this pattern after the too-tight original Mabel I made a couple of years ago. Phoebe’s is 3 inches longer than mine, which was the length she requested. I made mine in the standard length for the pattern, which hits me just on the knee.

I’m pretty pleased with my pattern matching skillz on both, if I do say so myself! This is Phoebe’s:

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-3And this is mine:

my-grey-quilty-mabel-6

Mine isn’t quite as good as the  pattern isn’t uninterrupted – I’ve got two poofy bits and 2 flats bits (technical terms, obviously!) next to each other, when they should alternate. But at least the lines match up.

I managed to mostly match them on the waistband too, at least in terms of the vertical lines, if not the horizontal zigzags perfectly.

phoebes-grey-quilty-mabel-4Mine was a bit better matched across the back – sorry Phoebe! One of the back panels of hers ended up slightly on the wonk – I guess the fabric wasn’t perfectly folded in half. I haven’t done a huge amount of pattern matching, so I’m pretty pleased with how these turned out 🙂

my-grey-quilty-mabel-7I love the little kick pleat at the back!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-3These are definitely really quick skirts to sew up. At least they are when you don’t sew the waistband on upside down, without realising until you’ve finished the skirt and topstitched the top edge to stop it rolling. Though I’m just guessing that this would be really annoying and time-consuming to fix……… I actually didn’t topstitch the top edge of mine because I was feeling lazy!

my-grey-quilty-mabel-5I used a twin needle (heh!) for the hem and stitching in the ditch of the bottom of the waistband, and topstitching the top edge of Phoebe’s skirt, but for mine I just used a normal zigzag for the hem and stitching in the ditch. You actually really can’t see the stitching on this fabric, so it didn’t matter to me too much on my own whether it looked all professional like a twin needle makes it look.

my-grey-quilty-mabel-8I modelled the skirt with a tight rtw top tucked in, so you could see it, but I’ll really wear it with this black jumper in the Winter, and maybe my Astoria when the weather gets a bit warmer. I actually wore it exactly as in the above photo to work on Monday and I got quite a few compliments. And I love saying ‘thank you, I made it’ when I get complimented on something I’ve made. #sorrynotsorry.

Who would you like to wear matching clothes with?

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Electric Blue Jersey Dress

electric-blue-jersey-dress-1I made this dress back in December and, as I mentioned in my post about my December makes, I wore this to the Sew Brizzle Christmas meet-up, having  made it the day before. This has to be one of the quickest things I’ve ever sewn up. It really only took a few hours to make.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-3The fabric is the same enormous remnant I used for one of my Coco tops and I still have more of it left! There must have been over 3 metres of it! It’s ribbed on one side, which was the side I used as the right side for my Coco, but for this dress I used the smooth side for the outside, except on the hem band and neck band, where I used the ribbed side on the outside.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-4The pattern is the free Jersey Dress designed by Emily from In The Folds for Peppermint Magazine. You should check out their range of free patterns if you haven’t already, there are some great ones! And it has pockets! As you know if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know how much I love pockets in dresses. These ones are cut on the sides of the dress front and back so it’s even quicker to put together (and cut out) than if the pockets were cut separately.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-5I actually really like the over-sized, cocoon-y nature of the shape of this dress. I made the size 10, which was the closest to my measurements, but I woulc recommend sizing down a size if you want a slightly less over-sized fit. The only change I made was to omit the cuffs as my jersey just wouldn’t stretch enough for the cuff pieces to fit on the ends of the sleeves. It is stretchy enough to go over my head, though, which is good! It turned out leaving off the cuffs was a good move as the sleeves would have been too long if I’d added them. Plus I don’t like not being able to roll up my sleeves and I feel even if I could have got them to fit, the cuffs would have been reeeeaaaaally tight.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-2I do really like this dress, it’s like wearing a secret blanket because the fabric is quite thick. Also I’ve been wearing it with a top underneath (instead of a cardigan on the top) to give me an extra layer of warmth. I even wore it on Christmas Day, though I got too warm because it was a really mild day and my sister’s house is really warm! I feel like it’s also just about smart enough for work, and I got loads of compliments on the colour the first time I wore it.

electric-blue-jersey-dress-6I think if I made this again, I would leave off the hem band as then I think it would be a slightly better length on me. This does feel quite long and although that isn’t necessarily a problem, I think it would be a more flattering length on me if it was a little shorter. I’m 5’3″ for reference, in case you’re going to make this and want to know how long it is on a short person!

Do you think you’ll make any of the Peppermint patterns? Do you have any recommendations of other patterns that are like secret blankets?

 

 

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Selfless Sewing: 2 Delphines for my sister

As I mentioned in my December planning post, my main task for that month was to make some skirts for my sister as she couldn’t really find any in shops that she liked, but she can’t wear a lot of the trousers she has because of her prosthetic leg. I managed to make 3 in time for Christmas and 2 of those were Tilly and the Buttons Delphines, from her book Love At First Stitch. I’ve made one of these for myself and was glad to have another go at the pattern.

The first one I made was from some lovely, soft red corduroy from Fabric Land – it’s so soft that it’s called buttersoft! I was worried the skirt might not hold its shape in such a drapey fabric, but it does, which is excellent. I made the skirts in a size 3 and lengthened them by 3 1/4 inches so it would hit just below her knee and cover the place where the prosthetic attaches onto her leg.

phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-2As well as lengthening them, I sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of a 1.5cm seam allowance as Phoebe’s waist measurement is 28 in which is exactly the finished measurement of the size 3 but I wanted to give her a little ease. You probably don’t know this unless you know someone who has had a leg amputated, but initially, although you get your permanent leg fairly early on, the way it attaches at first is around the waist, so Phoebe’s waist is a little bigger than it otherwise would be. I can always take in the waists if they end up too big once the leg is attached with suction – the reason for this change is that it can take up to 8-9 months for the residual limb to shrink down to its permanent shape and size – there is swelling and fluid retention to being with – and this shrinking happens faster once you have your prosthetic. So there’s a little lesson for you!

phoebes-navy-drill-delphine-3
The navy blue drill was also from Fabric Land. It was really hard to photograph, so I apologise for the blurriness of these photos! I think this fabric is a little more on the petrol end of navy blue – I guess navy blue isn’t a colour that’s always just one colour, it’s not black or white! Phoebe’s not so keen on this one, but I think it might be easier to wear it when the weather gets a little warmer as she will hopefully have things that go better with it. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world! It’s a quick pattern to make.

phoebes-navy-drill-delphine-2 phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-3

The other change I made to the pattern was to use non-invisible zips because my sewing machine will not sew invisible zips. I think the bobbin is out of sync or something because when I put the invisible zip foot on, the needle always jams inside the bobbin case. Grrr. I should get it serviced really….. I can’t remember the last time I sewed a non-invisible zip (I kept persevering with the invisible zips, but sewing them with a normal zip foot) and I’d forgotten you need to sew the bottom part of the seam first and then put in the zip, and not the other way around as with invisible zips. So I had to unpick the first one a couple of times because I twigged!

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When I was home for Christmas, I got Phoebe to model the red skirt. It fitted really well and was the length she was after – win! It looks good with her apt Christmas jumper too! She wore it the whole of Christmas day (after she had opened the present) so hopefully that means it has the seal of approval!

I quite enjoyed doing some selfless sewing – maybe this is the solution for when I feel like I have too many clothes but still want to sew things? I could make clothes for other people!

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December makes and January Plans

I know I already wrote a post about my plans for the year, but I thought it would have ended up even longer if I included my regular recap of what I made last month and plan of what to make this month, so here is another planning post in the same week!

My main aim for December was to make 4 skirts for my sister for Christmas, but I did manage to squeeze in a sneaky dress for myself!

electric-blue-jersey-dressThis is the Jersey Dress by In The Folds with Peppermint Magazine. It’s free to download and has in seam pockets! I’ve worn it quite a few times so far, including to the Christmas Sew Brizzle meet up and on Christmas Day! It’s quite long on me but it’s like a secret blanket!

I managed to finish 3 of the 4 skirts for my sister – I stupidly thought they would be really quick, which was true to a certain extent, except I made stupid mistakes with the Mabel skirt which put my timings back a bit. I finished a red corduroy Delphine, a navy blue drill Delphine and a grey quilted fabric Mabel. I’ll post in more detail about them later this month hopefully.

red-corduroy-delphine

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grey-quilted-mabel
I’m pretty pleased with the pattern matching of the quilted lines on the Mabel, if I do say so myself! And Phoebe liked the skirts and they fitted pretty well and were the right length, which is cool. She’s not sure about the colour of the navy drill one as she ordered the fabric online and it is quite a pale shade of navy, but hopefully when the weather gets warmer she’ll have other things to wear it with so it will grow on her. And if not, it’s not the end of the world 🙂

So my first make for January has to be the skirt I didn’t make in time for Christmas – a denim Moss Skirt. I’ve got the pattern assembled, traced and altered – she wants the long length but without the hem band, so I’ve lengthened the mini version pattern pieces. I have a zip and thread too, so I’m all ready to go!

denim-moss-skirtThere was quite a bit of fabric left from each of the skirts I made, so I also might see if I can make a Moss Skirt out of what I’ve got left from the red corduroy. Selfishly I might use the rest of the grey quilted fabric (probably for a matching Mabel!) and the navy drill, but I don’t wear red so I figure if I can make something else for Phoebe, then it doesn’t go to waste.

red-corduroy-moss-skirtAs I mentioned in my 2017 planning post, I’ve signed up for #ProjectSewMyStyle and I’m going to try to make the pattern for January which is the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater 2. This might get bumped to February as I don’t have any fabric I’d like to use for it currently in my stash. And there was talk of a Sew Brizzle trip to Birmingham to go fabric shopping at the end of the month, so I’ll look for something then hopefully. I’m also in Aberdeen for a second Christmas with my uni friends so I might see if we can take a detour to a sewing shop at some point, then this might get made this month. I could do with some warmer clothes to be honest, as our flat is rather cold!

PrintI don’t know how many more times I can add this make to my plans……

october-planning-simplicity-trousersIt’s getting embarrassing now! I now pledge to have the pattern and fabric cut out by the end of the month, then hopefully I can make them in February. I’m hoping once I’ve popped by trouser cherry, then my jean-making plans for the year won’t feel quite so scary!

Given that I’m away this weekend I doubt I’ll get all of this done this month, but I’ll do my best!