Thursday, 2 July 2015

More sunny days

Another Kids Clothes Week has been and gone and once again I loved seeing what everyone else was making! I signed up this year but didn't get round to posting my projects on the KCW Community site this time round. This time I didn't get as much sewing done but I did get some essential shorts made - especially now that we're having a heatwave here in London! 

Both shorts are the Sunny Day shorts pattern from Oliver + S. This is a free pattern! As it's a kids pattern there arent' many pages to the PDF and the instructions are brilliant. I love this pattern! However I do find it runs a bit small and keep forgetting to use a smaller seam allowance than it reocmmends to compensate for this.  The first pair are exactly the same as the pair I made last year (I know, how boring. But I love them so!). The fabric was from Ray Stitch, an organic cotton, maybe a cotton/linen blend I'm not sure. The second pair are made from a lovely striped fabric, I think you'd call it a seersucker, which I won in a giveaway over at Anneke Caramin (if you don't already know Anneke's blog I recommend checking it out - she makes lots of gorgeous clothes as well as being a very talented artist). This is gorgeous fabric and aren't those pockets lovely?!


So those pockets, ahem, there's a story behind them. I managed to attach them twice, that's right twice, the wrong way round before third time lucky I got them right. By which point I'd completely forgotten I'd already trimmed the seam allowance so they are now quite a bit tighter than they should be. Given that this pattern seems to run a bit small anyway I don't think these will be fitting my son for much longer! The perils of drinking and sewing eh?! *Amendment - I totally forgot to say I used the Tutorial from Dana Made It for the pocket shape & instructions. I just drew a template like the one she uses then followed the instructions. Which are very good, if you've not been drinking.

oops, wine-induced sewing errors!
Blue shorts in action at the Hayward Gallery, London

Stripey sunny day shorts


Sunday, 28 June 2015

Quick fix sewing - Sailor Top



Another jersey make from me - can you tell I'm craving quick fix sewing at the moment? Last Saturday I was meeting up with some sewing buddies, none of whom I'd met IRL before (how amazing is this sewing community eh?!) and I decided on Friday night that I wanted something new to wear. I am in real need of some more t-shirts so I thought I would give Marilla Walker's Sailor top a try. I love her versions and Grosgrain Green's and wanted one for myself! However I didn't have enough striped jersey so I decided to use some more of the bright pink I used for a plantain. Then I discovered some pink/white scraps from a Maria Denmark Kimono tee I made 2 summer's ago (sadly sent to the textile recycling as the jersey had bobbled terrible, and stretched out of shape due to me wearing it throughout my pregnancy!). The pinks matched perfectly - it was meant to be!!


A perfect colour match!
The PDF was really easy to match up the pages as the pattern is basically squares.  After reading Helen's post where she mentioned that the shoulder gussets exposed a bit of bra strap I decided to add a bit of length to the gussets (as an aside isn't gusset a great word?!) and this has worked really well. I got a bit confused with the instructions for attaching the should gussets and somehow attached them inside out, but luckily it's a woven jersey stripe and not printed so you don't notice it.  Marilla suggests using ribbon or bias tape to stabilise the neckline and gives really good instructions on doing this. I used it on one side of the neckline but then just tried topstitching on the other side to see what the difference is, the topstiched side looks ok but if I make it again I'll definitely use ribbon on the neckline as it looks much crisper.


I just love the shape of this top. I wouldn't usually go for something so cropped but I love it. All in all my quick fix was a great success! I'd highly recommend this pattern for a quick but satisying sew with a stylish result. Thanks Marilla! Since I made this both Jenna and Minnado's House have made gorgeous versions! Me and Jenna both wore ours for the sewing meet-up on Saturday - great minds! Have you been doing any quick fix sewing recently? Any favourite patterns for a quick sew?

Monday, 22 June 2015

Lists - love them or loathe them?

Lists. Are you a list lover or a list loather? I've been a list devotee for a long time but since baby was born my list habit has fallen by the wayside a bit. Aiming to make 3 items during Me Made May re-motivated  me and I've realised that I like having goals to tick off so I'm going to start with the list writing again. In order to write a sewing to-do list it was time to sort out the stash first so that's what I did last weekend. It was so satisfying!! I put 2 big plastic bags of scraps in the textile recycling bin and now have 4 boxes of fabric that you can see in the photo (the other box is all my PDF patterns). These are sorted into printed fabric, plain fabric, jersey fabric, and fabric for children's clothes. In addition to this I have 2 large storage bags under the bed filled with beautiful winter wools and cotton sateen's that I was lucky enough to get from a friend who works for a big fashion company where they have fabric sample sales. So definitely enough fabric to be getting on with!

my sewing space under the stairs.
To be honest the amount of fabric intimidated me a bit so I picked out a selection of my perfect summer fabrics and decided these would be the basis for my summer sewing plans. Now, I'm under no illusions that I'll get all of these things sewn but if I get even a couple of them sewn I'll be happy.

summer sewing!
So this is my 'to sew' pile - isn't it lovely?! Starting from the top:
1. This stripey fabric was an old-fashioned nightgown I bought at a kilo sale. I had tried to make a pair of shorts early on in my sewing life but they were a disaster, I cut too small a size & sewed them together the wrong way! I've unpicked all the stitching and think I have enough for a waistband and bias biding for a pair of city gym shorts.
2. Bright pink knit and pink/white striped knit. A Marilla Walker sailor top - already finished! I love this top and just need to get it photographed.
3. Some VERY bright pink fabric from my friends work sample sale. I'm planning a pair of Burda shorts from a pattern another friend has given me.
4. Black/white geometric print from The Man Outside Salisbury's. I think I'm going to make a Tiny Pocket Tank, and maybe also a Kimono jacket, or maybe some trousers? I can't decide. Any ideas? I've got 3 metres.
5. Navy/white geometric print from M is for Make. A scout tee.
6. Sheer turquoise fabric with raised square design, and turquoise lining. I think this will be Dress D from Stylish Dress Book
7. Pink pique fabric won in a fabric destash by Gail. If there's enough I might try a Moss Mini, otherwise this will be a Colette Meringue (without scallops) or a Vogue 1247.
8. Silk type fabric from Mandors remnants bin. I'm hoping this will be enough for a Kimono jacket, either from this tutorial or using Tessuti patterns Tokyo jacket.
9. Merchant & Mills dark chambray - this is for Dress D from Japanese Dress Book.
10. Pre-washed denim from Merchant & Mills. I can't decide, I have 2 metres. Maybe a shirt dress but I'm not sure if it's too thick, or a denim jacket, or my favourite option at the moment, a Marilla Walker Evan skirt but possibly changed to a false button placket front.

So many things to sew! I won't get much done this week as it's Kids Clothes Week so I'm concentrating on sewing pyjamas, summer shorts, and a shirt for H but next week I'll get back on this list!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Third time lucky Plantain


As I realised during Me Made May, I'm a Repeat Pattern Offender, and if I needed proof of RPO benefits then the Plantain tee provides it! The Plantain is a free pattern from Deer & Doe and is a firm favourite among sewing bloggers (there are so many gorgeous versions, as a start I'd check out Elena's versions and Laurence's, posted on the Curvy Sewing Collective).  I don't know much about drafting but this t-shirt just looks so good in every version I've seen that it must be very well drafted.  The instructions are easy to follow and I love the method of inserting the sleeves flat - I'd never tried this before.  It's also an easy pattern to adapt into a dress - see What Katie Sews for a lovely example, or a cardigan - as Dandelion Drift did, I'm seriously going to have to copy that idea!


For my first version I stuck to the pattern and made the long-sleeved version but without the elbow patches.  I used a cheap bright pink jersey I got in Walthamstow, either at Saeeds or from the Man outside Sainsbury's. I cut a size 38 at the bust grading out to a 40 at the waist and 42 at the hips and it fits really well.  The fabric has started to show signs of pilling/bobbling already and I was never that happy with my twin needle on the sleeves and hem, however, saying all that, I wore this loads, tucked-in, over the winter and I'm sure will continue to wear it until it gets so bobbly I need to make another!

First version of my Plantain t-shirt dress in Teal textured jersey.
Moving on quickly to version 2 - my first attempt at a dress version. Once again cheap fabric, from a shop on Walthamstow High Street (can't remember which one).  It turned out ok in terms of fit, and I do like the colour but the fabric just looks cheap to me which puts me off a bit.  I'm sure I'll wear it in the winter with tights but I didn't like the look of it with bare legs so it's been consigned to the back of the wardrobe until autumn rolls around. There is a dress tutorial by Anna on the Deer & Doe blog but I wanted to stick to a t-shirt dress style rather than adding any volume to the skirt.  My solution was to lay an old favourite t-shirt dress from H&M (so bobbly and worn looking it has now been shipped off to the textile recycling bin) under the pattern piece and tracing paper and draw round it, adding length and copying the shape.

First outing of my second Plantain dress, in a red jersey fabric
But version 3, oh version 3 I love it!!  The fabric is from the Man outside Sainsbury's and it is a gorgeous soft jersey which feels really good quality and was a dream to sew with.  I also had a couple of revelations with this make. First off when talking to a friend about the tunnelling I had been getting with my twin needle, she asked if it was a stretch twin needle, to which I had to reply I have no idea! The twin needles I have belonged to my mum and as she used the machine for her art work I doubt she had a stretch twin needle. So I 'splashed out' and got a stretch twin needle - what a difference! This time, no tunnelling and as a result a much more professional looking hem on the bottom and the sleeves.  My other revelation actually following the instructions properly and top-stitching down the neckline. I'd never done this before, not quite sure why, but it makes such a difference. It lies much flatter, and again looks more professional.  I am so pleased with this version and I'll definitely be making more! I have some nice John Kaldor fabric (from TMOS yet again) which I'm going to use to make a version for winter and I'd love to make another long-sleeved t-shirt and a cardigan for the winter.

The sleeves are perfect for a summer dress

Top-stitched neckline

Flat twin-needle stitching - yay!!