Friday, 19 June 2015

Girls sun dress

D's sun dress - it's finally finished.

This was to be my grandaughter's first homemade dress but she didn't manage to finish it before the end of last summer and so it was shelved until now.  She asked if I could finish the dress for her in time for her birthday. How could I refuse.

She had picked a good pattern.  Simplicity s2469 is  also good value as it has several different patterns for boys and girls clothes

D had done most of the work already and luckily had chosen to lengthened the skirt length. Although she has shot up in height since last year she hasn't filled out much.  All I had to do was serge smaller side seams, add the straps and a lining - and it was done.

D chose the pattern and fabric because she has a photo of her mum as a little girl in a blue broidery anglais party dress and wanted to make her own. She loves her new dress.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lady in Red

Well I have finally made something for myself.

Continuing my quest to find a pattern for stretch fabrics that I can develop into a tried and true (TNT) I decided to give New Look 6176 a go.  A pattern for lightweight woven and double knit fabrics.  This pattern has been in my stash a while ( are you like me and can't resist a sale?).  Also in my stash I have plenty of ponte fabric, which I thought would be a good choice for a first attempt.

Although an easy pattern with few pieces I knew fit would be an issue for me. Once that is sorted I think it has the potential to be a good base pattern. I can envisage lots of variations by way of fabric choice, colours, types of pockets, neckline variations and different sleeves.

I used View C ( the blue dress).   I used Size 14 tapering out from under the armhole to 16 at the waist. 

TIP: I like to trace my patterns off, then if I make a mess of any alterations I can always go back to the original. The easiest method I have found to trace patterns is to place the pattern on top of tissue paper ( I use Burda dressmakers tissue paper) then using a sharpie pen trace the outline of the size you want not for getting any relevant notches, darts, dots etc - this bleeds onto the tissue paper underneath, giving you a duplicate.  I then make any adjustments on the new duplicate pattern.

After tissue fitting I made the following alterations: front - redrew the neckline and facings to match - as it was falling off my narrow shoulders, made a 1 cm adjustment for sloping shoulders, added 2 at hem at centre front, in line with bust apexis tapering to nothing at the sides, shortened the bust dart and lengthened the sleeves, added 8 cm to skirt length, reduced the length of the back dart by 2 cm at the top and at the bottom.  I also moved the back darts by1 cm towards the centre back.

Fabric fitting pictures:
Pockets look way to small and add nothing to the dress.  Extra fabric above bust, into armscye

Interestingly this excess fabric across the back was not there when I tried it on before adding the sleeves and wasn't there after I removed them - sleeves are a big challenge for me

After fabric fitting I removed the pockets.  I also did a forward shoulder adjustment.  Took 1 cm off sleeve cap blending out to bottom notches (I forgot to do this when I made the sloping shoulder adjustment).  After a second fabric fitting I took 1 cm off the armscye blending to nothing at notches.  

I wasn't sure this dress was going to be a success.  The sleeves aren't perfect, I think I have over fitted the back and I still have extra fabric above the bust (a common issue for me - I'm not sure of the solution but perhaps adding an armscye dart - any suggestions?

Overall I I like the dress, the dress and sleeve length work for me, it's comfortable and I have got a dress I can wear.  I have already worn it to work.

 It may be worth having another go, perhaps in a different fabric.

Happy sewing


Monday, 8 June 2015

Sewing space

It's ages since I have done any sewing - 3 months unless you count shortening and hemming the skirts of a prom dress.  As with many, life and work has been getting in the way.  More importantly though Tia,  my dog has starting to feel her age (she's 15).  After she missed her footing a few times and fell all the way down the stairs once I didn't want her trying to make it upstairs to my sewing room.  T is always by my side when I'm sewing  and it felt plain wrong and odd to make her stay downstairs on her own and be in the room without her. 

Not to worry though a solution has been found - I have commandeered the dining room and kept wardrobe space for my stash of fabrics and patterns in my old sewing room which has been converted back into a bedroom.  

In case you are like me and enjoy seeing other people's sewing space here are a few pics of my new space.  

I need to share this space a little bit - There is still room for the grandchildren's toy box (bottom left) and the dining table is covered with a table protector and table cloth.  The table makes a great cutting table with room to layout 3 cutting boards and has plenty of space for my overlooker and serger when in use.
I have cleared out and given away loads of reading books to make room in the bookcase for my sewing and other craft books - I don't know about you but I can't resist buying a good sewing book, particularly when on sale and I have built up a good selection over the years.  Though I have left room for a few of the grandchildren's favourite board games.  My Babylock overlocker and coverstitch machines now have a new home on top of the bookshelf.  My supplies of threads are stored in the pink trays, which are next to the box ( a present) storing pens, pencils etc, which sits on top of a box of paper for the grandchildren and me.  It's not easy to see an all black dog but if you look carefully you can just see Tia.
I love this sewing machine table, which my husqvana sapphire sewing machine sits in.  It was a real bargain. Having the trademark of one of the most high quality stores in town we found it in a clearance furniture store for £50, the top was covered in scratches and was missing its top unit/mirror. It has a shelf underneath, where I keep current projects and the drawers provide plenty of storage.  Mr S spent many hours turning it into the perfect gift for me.
I love this desk too.  I remember my dad taking out the other drawers, staining and varnishing it to turn it into a desk for doing homework.  I coveted this desk for many years after I left home and mum finally said that I could have it when she agreed it was perfect for housing my Janome embroidery machine.   Dad's been dead for 28 years so this desk is very special.

This chair was one of 4 very old and worn out chairs given to me by an old friend who was moving abroad.  Being a furniture  restorer he even gave me the varnish remover, white spirit and wire wool and told me what I needed to do.  That was about 10 years ago and they were left in the garage until my sewing machine table was created about 5 years ago.   The chairs were ripped, dirt, with cream plastic seat covers and  black varnished, paint splattered wooden frames.  I used a lot of furniture varnish remover and sandpaper on the wooden frame, then used a coloured varnish matching the sewing dresser.  I added new padding and covered the seat with this gorgeous raspberry fabric using a staple gun.  Mr S had a great solution when I realised the seat height was too low to use with my new sewing machine table - he cut off the legs of one of the other chairs and fixed them on and I simply varnished them to match.

I know I am very lucky that I have been able to afford some nice machines over the years.  Although I do think each one is good value - considering how many years I intend to keep them.  These machines  certainly make sewing easier and improve the look of items made.  I'm always fascinated to watch the embroidery machine at work and often amazed at how easy it is to finish hems and how professional they look with a coverstitch machine.  Whilst an overlocker is so much quicker, easier and gives a lovely finish to seams on knit and stretch fabrics.

Much more important though is the love that is within the furniture, which makes my sewing space (whether upstairs or down) very special to me.

Happy sewing

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Little rose cardigan


This was a last minute make for my youngest granddaughter's second birthday. It was a last minute decision because I wasn't sure I wanted to do another knitting project so soon after finishing the epic lace top.  But you know how it is - the pattern, Sublime 6008 Little Rose cardigan, was calling to me (it is so, so cute) and given that the largest size in the pattern is 2-3 years this may be one of my last opportunities to use it.

This is a great pattern, it was an easy project that took only a week to make and I highly recommend it.  If you are a relative beginner itching to move on from knit and purl stitches you will, I am, sure enjoy this pattern.  The only additional stitches used are knit 2 together (k2tog), purl 2 together (p2tog) and yarn forward (yfwd).  If you should need a little help with the stitches there are plenty of visual how to dos on You Tube.

I used a button and yarn from my stash, 150g x Robin double knitting. The total cost was less than £5.   After my last knitting project using lace yarn this knit up really quickly and at first the difference in thickness of yarn made my feel as if I was knitting in chunky wool - very strange.

I  knit the largest size,  2-3 years, using 3.25 mm and 2.75 mm needles which, although much smaller than the 4 mm stated in the pattern, gave the best tension for the pattern. 

It's always good to use up stash, but I do have a slight regret that I did not use the yarn recommended for the pattern, Sublime cashmere, merino and silk double knitting - it would of looked beautiful.  However the cost would have been nearer to £25 - which I find hard to justify. 

This is the pattern.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Katherine Tipton Top V8793

I'm on a roll with quick and easy makes.  This top was made in a day.  

The stretch Jersey abstract print fabric was from ebay store regencyragsfabricstore (for a very reasonable £4.99 per metre with free p&p) and the black ponte from my Christmas shopping trip to Barry's Fabric Super Store in Birmingham.  Total cost approx £12.  

I'm really pleased with this version. Having already worn it with trousers for the weekend and with a black skirt for work I am sure I will get plenty of wear from this top.

Despite the seemingly random print I was careful to pattern match and I'm glad I did.  Looking at the photos and in particular the centre front and back there does appear to be a vertical line in the print.

The pattern comes with the Craftsy course the ultimate t-shirt, which I highly recommend.  My version does look different to the pattern envelope (see below) but then again so does the Craftsy class version.  I'm still not sure about the comfort or wearability of a collar with zips and I have yet to find the right combination of prints to do the mixed print design on the pattern envelope justice. 

This is my second version of the pattern, which along with the stretch fabric means there were no fit issues (hooray).  I made the same pattern alterations as before replacing the collar with a neckband and adding a band at the hem. ( it's difficult to see from the pics but both versions have a 4" black ponte fabric band added to the hem. I did my usual adjustment for sloping shoulders - reducing the shoulder seam by  1 cm at the armhole end and blending back to the centre of the shoulder seam, and pin fitting then sewing the side seams.  There are more details of the make on my November post about the first version - pic below.

TIP: Adding cuffs to the sleeves and a band at the hem makes for an easy, tidy way to finish a stretch top.  This avoids the need to sew a hem and thereby the potential for blown stitches and puckering.  

Friday, 6 March 2015

Fast n easy skirt

I confess I had a bit of a disaster cutting out a top in stretch fabric - not realising the fabric had moved until it was too late and had to scrap that particular project.  Having set aside a day for sewing I decided not to dwell on the wasted fabric and instead look for a quick fix - something quick and easy to sew that would preserve my confidence and sewing mojo. 

I have wanted a navy skirt for some time to wear with boots.  So, after the speed and ease of making my last sewing project - a straight red skirt, I decided to use the same pattern again New Look 6977.  

This time I picked view D.  Again this was a straight forward, easy to sew.  I used a navy ponte and 3 cm elastic in the waistband.  The pattern was cut out without any fit adjustments and was made in a morning using the overlocker.  It's a good basic to add to my wardrobe.  I think either skirt style would make a great first pattern for a beginner using knit fabric such as a ponte.

Oops pics aren't great, navy does photo very well at best of times and due to the wind and cold I don't seem to have any pics where I am not holding the front edges of my cardi.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Daughter's top finished

This is the 2nd of my unfinished projects that I pledged to complete in. 2015.  Technically this is my daughter's project but with two young children and a change in job she has been unable to find the time to finish it.

This was to have been her first sewn garment in navy ponte. Rather than use a pattern she simply traced around a favourite top and had already stablized and sewn the neck, shoulder and outer arm seams.  The project had stalled when the neckband turned out a bit wavy.  

After 18 months she asked I could finish the top for her. I simply pinned the side seams and marked a new neckline whilst she was wearing it.  I cut off the old neckband and added a new one and used the overlocker to sew the side seams, cuffs and hem band.

Needless to say she was happy to have this project finished.  I hope that as she has ended up with a wearable top she won't be put off having another go herself when she has more time.