Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A new make and an oldie

Happy New Year everyone!  I thought I would start the New Year by blogging about my last un-blogged garment I made in 2016 and the first thing I've made in 2017.  I apologise in advance for the very crap photos of the cardigan but I just wanted to get this posted and get on with some new makes!

So, out with the old first (see what I mean about the terrible photos, sorry!)  Well actually this is the new in that this was a new to me pattern but this cardigan was a loong time in the making. I think I started it in 2015 and finally got it finished on a weekend trip to Glasgow in September 2016.  I went up for a weekend to visit friends and managed to fit in a sewing afternoon with some Scottish bloggers at the Stitchery Studio.  It was such a lovely afternoon, I hope I get a chance to do it again soon! I couldn't decide what to take to sew so I took a few options and on the day this was the one I decided I wanted to do in order to finally get it finished.  

Details - 
Pattern: Jalie 3248 Drop Pocket cardigan.  I was after a pattern for a cardigan, mostly for work wear, that had pockets.  After seeing a few versions of this Jalie pattern that I liked, particularly Nancy's version as well as reading reviews on Pattern Review, I decided to go with it even though the cover art work isn't particularly inspiring!

Size: I cut a straight size T. I've included the size chart below so you can see what a wide size range these patterns cover.

Fabric & notions: £10 for pattern including delivery (from Habithat), £10 for metre of brown John Kaldor jersey from Mandors (still have enough left for a t-shirt), approx £10 for 2 metres of navy blue jersey (still enough left for a t-shirt) from the Man outside Sainsbury's.  I had to buy the brown/brick coloured thread, say £3? They're both quite thin so this got a lot more wear in Autumn than now as we're having a colder winter than usual for London.
Were the instructions clear?: This was my first time using a Jalie pattern and although the instructions aren't visually as appealing as some of the other indie patterns they are really good.  On reading through them they don't make much sense re the construction of the pocket but you just have to trust and follow them and it all works out well.  The colours work really well together and I love the contrast.
Any changes I'd make next time: I plan to make this again but I might shorten it a bit as it is quite long and hangs out under most jackets except my trench coat or winter coat.  The sleeves are also a bit long, and they're very narrow so if I made this out of a jersey with less stretch I might widen the pattern pieces a bit.  
Total cost: £33 but then I still have enough jersey left for 2 t-shirts so it worked out a very good price I'd say.

Pooling in the lower back is visible here

Details - 
Pattern: On to my first make of 2017 - and it's an oldie at the same time, another dress version of one of my favourite patterns, the Plantain tee by Deer & Doe. This is a free pattern and it's brilliant!
Size: The dress pattern is the plantain tee in a size 38 at the bust grading out to a 40 at the waist and 42 at the hips but then I laid an old H&M t-shirt dress underneath and just traced that to make it into a dress pattern.
Fabric & notions: The lovely bright pink is a sweatshirt thickness fabric I got for £3 when Rosie from DIY Couture did a de-stash on Instagram  - what a bargain! It's such a gorgeous colour and pattern I couldn't resist it! It's quite a loose weave so it was too see-through on it's own to be a dress so it is lined with a cheap grey jersey from the Textile Centre in Walthamstow which probably cost me £3/4 for 1 metre.  I had pink thread - I always have pink thread as I sew a lot with pink.  I've just realised I totally forgot to use the wooly nylon thread in the bobbin when I did the hems. Here's hoping they don't snap or unravel at all.
Were the instructions clear?:  I really like the instructions for the plantain tee. They were the first instructions I followed for inserting sleeves flat and I do it like this most of the time now. It's such a fast sew.

Any changes I'd make next time: I used the same pattern pieces as for my previous dress versions but I had to take it in quite a lot at the side seams and shape it at the bottom. This might have been partly due to the fabrics I used as I basted the pink and grey pattern pieces together before sewing it up as one layer.  I think the pink fabric might have stretched out a bit and that the extra thickness of the two layers made it need the extra shaping at the waist, hips and hem.  I'm very pleased with how this turned out, it's so warm and I know I'll get lots of wear from it.  There is a bit of fabric pooling on the lower back though that I'd like to sort out before I make a dress version again. Does anyone have any tips for this? I wondered if I just need to make the back pattern piece narrower towards the lower back?
I didn't stitch down the neckline with the twin-needle as, although it doesn't look like it in this photo the neckline does lie pretty flat and I'm reluctant to use the twin needle on it as sometimes it makes it look worse. Does anyone have any other finished they use on knit neckbands?
Total cost: £6

So that's it, two pretty concise reviews about two basic makes that get/will get worn a lot.  Making this dress was such a nice way to start my sewing in 2017! Next up is sewing a quilt for a newborn baby, a batman cape & Bing soft toy for my son, and 2 t-shirts for my son I've had cut out for ages.


  1. I really like this dress silhouette. It looks wonderful on you, and the fabric pooling isn't too bad. That's an issue I'm not sure I'd know how to resolve completely, so I'll keep thinking about it. It makes me wornder if I should give the Closet Case Nettie pattern a try? Or at least check if there's a sewalong for it that would have fitting tips...

    I need to give this Plantain hack a try next time I feel the itch to make a Plantain dress :-) Your dress is what I was hoping to get from the Mesa pattern from Seamwork, but that one didn't quite work for me. The part of Mesa from the waist down might work well for franken-patterning, though. I might give it a try.

    Happy 2017!

    1. Ah that's a good idea to check for sew-alongs for other tshirt/dress patterns. I'm still considering the Nettie too as I really like the low back and the close fit & feel I could spend ages messing about trying to achieve that, so might just buy a pattern!
      I haven't tried any of the seam work patterns but I did like the Mesa too. That's a good idea to try and blend those two together!

  2. Both look fab! What is woolly nylon thread and what is it for? Also, did you hear that The Stitchery is closing? Sad news! I love that place!

    1. Thanks Helen! Woolynylon thread in the bobbin was a tip I picked up from Portia's blog. It's meant to stop the twin needle stitch from breaking as it stretches more so should be stronger.
      I did get the email about the Stitchery and was so disappointed by the news, though I understand their decision. I'm hoping I might fit in one more Sunday sewing session when I'm up in February. I'll keep you posted! X

    2. Oh yes, that would be great!

  3. Love the dress! I have a book on adjustments, which includes adjusting for a swayback - you're welcome to borrow it (there isn't much sewing going on around here, so they aren't being used!) x

    1. Thanks Shivani! And thanks for the offer of the book, I might take you up on that. Though I do seem to be sticking to very simple patterns at the moment!