Hopping on the Bandwagon

So, last year, or it could have been earlier this year, my Instagram feed was chocca block with sewists singing the praises of the Toaster Sweater and the Saunio Cardigan.  It seemed every second person was sewing either one or both of these patterns.  I didn’t get it, and made a Talvikki instead!  However, I’m here to set things right.  The Toaster pattern eventually made its way into my pattern collection and now that I’ve finally made it up, I know what all the fuss was about!

There are a lot of pieces, which means it needs a little more fabric than it would if, for instance there was no separate hem band and double folded cuffs.  But it still only just needs 1.5m (all depending on how good you are at pattern piece tetris).  And it’s quick to make.  I start by pinning everything together that I can, the cuff seams, hem band side seam, back seam in the neck band and all the raglan shoulder seams, and feed them through the overlocker in a single long line.  After that it’s quick to turn things the right way out, fold along foldlines and pin in place.  It probably takes 2 hours, from starting to cut to the last finished stitch, quicker if you don’t topstitch the seams!

Ooh Asda are doing fleece throws – 2 for a fiver. I sense a toast jumper coming on! #sewing #wintersewingplans

A post shared by Lesley (@sew_sleep_deprived) on

The reason why I reached for this pattern was a little post by Lesley (@sew_sleep_deprived) on Instagram.  She’d just purchased two fleece throws from Asda, and was going to make Toaster sweaters with them.  Good idea thinks me, quickly looking at Asda’s online offering of fleece throws.  They have Christmas fleece throws – CHRISTMAS JUMPERS!!  It took all of 2 seconds for me to decide I was going to follow her excellent example and get me some Christmas fleece throws!  Daughter No1 is addicted to anything Christmassy and the iconic Christmas jumper is right up her street!

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Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater

After hustling myself to the nearest Asda, I came away with a pack of two throws, one red with white dear and one plain cream.  After ripping out all of the coverstitch hemming all round the red throw I started looking at the off grain pattern and wonky cut edges.  Nothing lined up!  I decided to sacrifice the pattern being straight for the straight grain and proceeded to lay out my pieces.  It just all fits on, and that was the smallest size!

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All seams are topstitched with a twin needle

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But it’s so cute!  And warm!  It must be said that these fleece throws are 100% polyester and should be kept well away from open flames, Christmas candles etc!  Of course when Daughter No2 saw the finished result, she wanted one too.  She was happy to have the plain cream fleece, not being quite as wacky a dresser as her older sister!

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dsc_0006-01495468675.jpegAgain, the grain and the edges of the throw did not line up, but it wasn’t as bad as the red one so it was easier to get everything on and cut out.  She’s really happy with her new sweater, and I didn’t even need to lengthen the sleeves, a first, let me tell you!  She has asked me to make it slightly less baggy in the back for the next time, it might just be the fabric though.

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Only the cuffs, hem band and neck band were stitched on this version

So now it seems I have another TNT pattern, and have made another for Daughter No2 using a quilted navy jersey!  It was run up on Sunday at my sewing group.  This time, to make it less baggy I took in the side seams and made a very slight sway back adjustment.  We’ll have to see if it worked.  I love the fabric, again it’s 100% polyester though, but good colour!  I just hope it doesn’t pill.  I had hoped to cut two from the 2m length, but it wasn’t to be, so there’s enough for something else.  Maybe the padded neckline sweater from the previous post…

I love finding patterns I like the finished look of, and like to make!  It makes things quicker and I can almost picture my fabric in the pattern because I’ve used it so often!  I have a few TNT patterns, from trousers to jackets to tops, and if this post and the previous one are anything to go by, the Talvikki, Toaster and that padded neckline Burda top have joined the list!  I imagine it won’t be too long before she’s visiting from uni to collect the next instalment of additions to her winter wardrobe, there’s a coat toile waiting to be fitted…

 

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A Plethora of Sweaters

I undertook a major sweater-making endeavour in October.  I’d ordered 2m each of black fleece lined sweatshirting and pale grey ponte from Fabworks Online for myself at the beginning of the month and decided not to let them enter my stash.  This was the start of a whole heap of sweaters!

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Named Talvikki Sweater in black sweatshirting

I started with the black sweatshirt fabric, having decided it would make a very nice new Talvikki.  Following the first one I made back in the beginning of the year, I knew I needed to widen the neck.  It’s always been a “little” snug getting on over my head!  And I didn’t think I had a big head…  So I made the darts in the front neckline narrower and widened the facing accordingly, making it 1.5cm wider overall.  What a difference it made!  Easy peasy to get on now.  The only other adjustment I made was to shorten the length of the slit on the sides, lengthening the seams themselves by 5cm.

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It’s those radiating darts that make this pattern so great!

But – now I had left-over black sweatshirt fabric that had nowhere to go but into the stash.  This was not ideal.  I really didn’t want it sitting around, so had a browse through some of this year’s Burda magazines.  August’s issue came up trumps (I didn’t have to go too far back!) with a cropped square-cut top, pattern number 112.  So I traced the two smallest sizes, confirmed with daughter no 2 that she liked the idea of a black cropped sweater and went for it.  There was just enough fabric in all the right sizes and shapes for the pieces.

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Burda Cropped Top

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The padded neckline is supposed to be stuffed with wadding – which I don’t have.  So I cut a length of the sweatshirting and rolled it up instead, worked a dream!  Dead easy and very quick to make, this top is a doddle.  It does need a sturdy fabric to hold the shape nicely.  When daughter no2 finally came home she approved, big time!  Maybe her only request for the next time would be to make the sleeves a little narrower, keep the cold out!

Next up was the third version of a Burdastyle top from 2015, using the pale grey ponte.  While I love the style lines of this top, it’s actually been slightly disappointing in the execution.  It’s too square, too baggy, and the lines get lost.  But – it’s great to wear anyway and comfy too.  I was hoping this fabric would work better than the previous two, but nope. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.  I’m wearing it anyway!  But I may be calling time on this one, I don’t think I’ll be making another – for me anyway.

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I really love the seam detailing on this top

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Left: Back seam detail and square armholes with back sleeve seam; Right top: Front slit; Right bottom: Dart and seam intersecting details on the front and side.

However, once again, I have left over fabric.  I really do wish Fabworks would make it easier to buy half metres, this only having whole metres on offer unless you email and ask nicely is a pain in the wotsit.  So this time I decided to make a top for daughter no1!  Same pattern as the black top for daughter no2, but in the smallest size.  Being a thinner fabric than the sweatshirting, the finished top has a different look to the first one, but was received just as well!  By the way, daughter no1 got her sweaters first.

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So, four sweaters and 4m of fabric!  NO WASTE!  Well, what there was has gone in the rag bag for textile recycling, but nothing has gone in the stash, result!  However, while I was happily using up these fabrics, I was eyeing out more…  Daughter no2 wondered if I could make her another sweater with sweatshirting fabric.  And I was looking for coat fabric.  So I ended up back on the Fabworks website, putting 2m of racing green sweatshirt fabric and 3m of Autumn Maple lambswool into my basket.  I mean, you can’t just spend £5 on postage for only £10 of fabric! It has to be worthwhile…  And that wool is just divine!!  (coat to follow soon-ish)

I decided this time to make her a Talvikki sweater and traced the 8/10.  It was whipped up in an afternoon, but of course, it left a fair bit of fabric behind – again!  I wondered if she wanted something else with the green, another of any of the other sweaters, but nope, she didn’t want another green one.  Then daughter no1 came to visit and collect the other things I’d made (some still to be blogged).

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Named Clothing Talvikki Sweater

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Let’s just say that green Talvikki went home with her and I had to make another, likkity split!!  I had a day between daughter no1 going back to her home and daughter no2 arriving at mine for her reading week, to replace the original one.  But this time I had been warned to widen the neck, just as I’d had to do for my own.  Even daughter no1, whose head isn’t exactly large, had a problem in getting the Talvikki on over her head.   I wonder if that’s something other people have had an issue with with their Talvikki sweaters?  Have you made one and had trouble pulling it over your head,or is it just us??

I made the same adjustments for the second green sweater as I’d made for my own and it all seemed to work out fine.  I was pretty glad there was enough of the racing green sweatshirting to run up another sweater, but the girls need to make sure they discuss outfits before they meet up anywhere!

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So that covers some of the sweaters I’ve made in the last few weeks, but it’s not all of them!  Stay tuned for my first adventures with the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater that everyone and their best friend was sewing earlier this year.

Stashbusting Trousers

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There’s a lot of sewing to catch up on, so here goes.  Two years ago I made a purchase of two pieces of grey wool (amongst other things – of course) from Croft Mill Fabrics.  One of the pieces of wool is a suiting weight blend of viscose and mohair, and really wasn’t what I’d expected when it turned up!  I pictured something thicker and warmer – snuggly…  This was fine, had a sheen and was rather fluid.  So it went into the stash until I could come up with something.

Eventually, after making this pair of Burda trousers earlier in the year, I decided to reuse the pattern and finally make up the silver grey fabric.  Go stashbusting!  I opted for the longer length view and the mini turn ups, leaving off the welt pockets at the back.  I don’t use the ones on the other trousers at all, and it’s just annoying to have to iron the darn things flat each time.

I used the same fitting alterations as the last time, but didn’t shorten the pattern at all! There is no stretch in this fabric at all, and it’s shown that I probably need to make a chunky calf adjustment.  It wasn’t a problem with the last pair because of the stretch content.  Because the fabric is so thin and fine I decided to add a little something and raided my linings bag for something suitable to line the trousers.  I picked out a green viscose lining and used it to half line the fronts.

There are no contrast fabrics anywhere else, the waistband and pockets are all in the main fabric.  I’m really happy with the result, although I can see that they may not make it all the way through winter, being so thin.  But they’re surprisingly warm(-ish).  I love the mini turn-ups, and the finished length is perfect for wearing with heels or my silver brouges.  Definitely making another sometime.  I’ve worn them once a week since I made them, which is a good sign!

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Love these little cuffs!

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More catching up to come, although it won’t be stashbusting…

 

M&S Suit Refashion

I may have mentioned that I was thinking of joining the Refashioners 2017 challenge in the last post.  I has all sorts of ideas running through my head, all dependent on what sort of suit I could find, and how much I wanted to spent.  And whether anyone would wear what I came up with in the end…  Warning this is a long and picture heavy post!

I rummaged in the local charity shops in town and came home with my wallet £30 lighter and my bag two suits fuller.  The first to be used is a size 18 ladies Marks & Spencer wool trouser suit, navy with grey windowpane check.  I sort of thought of making a pencil skirt from the trousers, and turning the jacket into something shorter and more fitted.  Of course, I started pulling it all apart before I managed to remember that a “before” picture might be required.  Thankfully I managed a photo of the jacket, sort of halfway through being unpicked.

I started with the trousers.  I really wanted a long, fitted pencil skirt, like the Pulmu in shape.  But there wasn’t enough fabric for that plan.  There was a photo from the 2018 Carolina Herrera Resort Collection on my Pinterest board that I really liked, shape, angles etc.  As I thought this refashion might be worn by daughter no 2, I showed it to her and explained what I wanted to do.  Nope.  She liked the fitted shape and wide shoulders (sorta) but didn’t like the bottom half of the top at all. (The best bit in my opinion!)  So I took ideas that would work, the centre seam, 45 degree angles, wide shoulders and fitted bodice.

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Suit trouser legs pinned together along the stripes so nothing moved while I cut the pattern pieces for the top.

Turning to the bodice block I drafted something I thought would work, only to find there just wasn’t enough fabric, the trousers are too narrow.  A compromise meant I needed to cut flanges for the extended shoulders (and honestly, they could have been wider) and insert them into princess seams in the front and back.  I still wanted the angles though, so the upper fronts are cut on the bias, after drawing on the lines of the windowpane to make sure they’d be lining up properly.  All pieces are cut like this, I wanted everything to line up.

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Most of the windowpane lines up!

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It didn’t turn out too badly, to be honest!  Not all of the windowpane lines line up exactly, but with the angles going on I’m still happy with the result.  I had in mind that it would be more of a waistcoat-type top than a top-type top, and thought I’d use a separating zip in the centre front.  But instead we have an invisible zip in the left side seam – client requirement.. 😉  The armhole and neck edges are bound with navy bias tape from the stash, so all I had to purchase to complete the project was the zip.

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dsc_0036-011439274080.jpegThe top has a shaped hem, dipping lower into a slight curve in the front, and being higher in the back with a “v” notch in the centre back, reminiscent of a waistcoat.  I like the shape of  the top, it looks really good with high waisted trousers!  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of it on a person, Betty the dummy will have to do.  That’s Part One of the project!

Part Two took a little longer…  I really wanted to turn the square, only slightly fitted jacket into something much more interesting.  I had thought of using the Bellatrix pattern, but it would never have fitted onto all the bits of jacket fabric remaining.  So I thought of a biker jacket…  I also wanted to reuse the jetted pockets – no point remaking something that’s perfectly good already.  But biker jackets don’t have pockets in the position that these were in, so they needed to change orientation.  More angles!!  Also, this is when I remembered the September 2017 issue of Burda magazine had a pretty sweet biker style jacket in it that might be useful.  I liked the shoulder yoke shape and knew I could do something with it and the existing parts of the jacket I wanted to save.  I traced daughter no2’s jacket block and set to work!  This project is part pattern cutting and part draping!

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I used the stylelines of the Burda jacket to get the proportions right, and pinned and draped onto Betty (my vintage dressmaker’s dummy).  There were bits of paper and fabric all over my sewing room while this went on, a real mess.  There was just enough fabric in the existing sleeves to recut sleeves to fit, the cuffs for the sleeves were made from what was left over from the trousers.  I reused the sleeve head pads, they give a lovely sharp shape to the top of the sleeve.

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Working out how much I need for the contrast on the front, and getting the angles right!
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Changing the angle of the pockets makes them useful again

I managed to reuse the waistband from the trousers to form the hem band on the jacket, which was brilliant!  I did have a small meltdown moment when I realised the whole jacket wasn’t going to come from the fabric I’d managed to harvest.  That’s where suit number two came in very, very handy.  It was a men’s 3-piece wool suit in grey.  I’d deliberately chosen it to be able to combine with the ladies suit fabric if that’s what I’d needed.

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I cut up the waistcoat to make the shoulder yokes and the contrast “V” on the front.  This makes the jacket much less formal, gives it a sporty vibe that contrasts quite nicely with the suit fabric.  The original lining was a dull, unfriendly colour, and not enough in the right shapes and sizes to reuse, so I dived into the stash and found a yummy raspberry satin lining left over from a coat I’d made years ago for daughter no1.  I love these two colours together!

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All the angles coming together

 

bj6The only thing I wish I’d taken more time over is the zip.  I should have waited to be able to buy a longer length, but as I couldn’t get what I needed locally I opted for “this will do”, which is ok, but actually never does “do”.  A longer zip would nave finished at the neckline instead of a couple of centimetres short.  At least the snaps work!  I got 6 large, dark bronze sew on snaps for the hem band, cuffs and neck.  They’re sewn on using buttonhole stitch, they aren’t budging for a long time!

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That raspberry satin lining is gorgeous

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I really love the finished project, I’m glad I took the time to pin all those check intersections on the fabric, and drew all the lines onto the pattern pieces to ensure I’d have a better time pattern matching when it came to the sewing.  Patience makes so much difference!  I wish I’d had enough time to refashion the second suit for the challenge, but other things had to be done too.  I will refashion it and show you what I managed to do, but it won’t be soon.  I have in mind a pair of culottes and a long line blazer, but it might not work!  The thing with refashions is to be prepared to change your mind, go with the flow and adapt to what you have to hand.  It’s certainly taught me something!

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Click on the individual images below to see them in detail.

 

 

Coat Month

So, I decided at the end of August that I needed to get making some coats before the weather turned.  Before it was cold enough to need one and it still wasn’t in a corporeal form…  This is in addition to still having numerous items yet unmade from Daughter No2’s summer list and thinking I might give the Refashioners 2017 challenge a go.  While I’m listing reasons why September is not a good month in which to try to make 3 or 4 coats, I should add that we had a week away in the beginning and still had Daughter No2 home until the middle of the month before she was back to uni.

But I had decided…  So what coats am I making?  I have the Eagle Jacket/Coat from Vanessa Pouzet for Daughter No2, the Goldstream Peacoat for Mr Not Compulsive and I wanted a new coat for myself, exactly which one was only decided after I saw @_ym.sews_ Waffle Patterns Tosti in the most amazing yellow dry oilskin.  I sort of wanted an Eagle jacket for myself too, but after toiling it realised it wasn’t the shape for me.

So, I took patterns with me on holiday and traced them out on the dining table in the holiday apartment in the evenings, helped by a glass or two of wine.  I toiled the Eagle jackets upon our return and Daughter No2 likes hers, the only alteration is to lengthen the sleeve by 2cm.  Mine, as already said will be recut as a different toile!  Now that I have the go-ahead for the Eagle, I hit a stumbling block.  She doesn’t like the fabric from the stash that I picked out.  Press pause on that project then.

After toiling the Goldstream Peacoat for the other half, that project was nixed.  He didn’t like the shape, it was too bulky, didn’t like the large collar or wide lapels either, then decided he didn’t actually fancy a double breasted coat….  So nothing about the Goldstream Peacoat then.  Back to square one, I decided to draft a coat block and put all the “right” ingredients together to form the “perfect” coat.

So in the meantime, it’s now the end of October and still no coats to be seen, but there are a few toiles.  None for me, I haven’t got that far!  But daughter No1 has chosen an pattern and fabric from the stash that I’ve toiled, fitted and adjusted, so that can get going.  Daughter No2 has also chosen a pattern and other fabric from the stash for two new coats, still to be traced, toiled and fitted.  The other half has a block that is undergoing a very slow transformation.  It seams the perfect coat will take a while to be realised.

Say tuned for more of what I’ve been doing while the coat projects hit their respective brick walls.

Morgan Jeans

In between playing with ricocheting sequins and vintage patterns, I decided to make (finally) a pair of Morgan Boyfriend Jeans.  I bought the pattern earlier this year and got the non-stretch denim from Croft Mill Fabrics at the same time.  It’s one of the few pieces of fabric I have bought this year, and I’m chuffed that it’s been used!  No stash building here.

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Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

I started the project back in April with very careful measuring!  The instructions are pretty clear that as the fabric will be stiff and has no give, that you might have to go up a size.  Added to that, it’s supposed to be snug on the hip and if you happen to be between sizes, the advice is to pick the bigger size.  So I really wanted it to be right!  Being so used to my Birkin Flares with their fabulous stretch and fit, I was wary of jeans that wouldn’t have that give!

On the measurement chart, I was between the 18 & 20 on the waist, and between the 14 & 16 on the hip!  So, deciding that I didn’t mind a slightly slouchier fit on the hip, and thinking that I might just need that with the heavier fabric, I picked the 18 to trace.  I toiled, following all the instructions to the “T” as it’s the first time I was using this pattern.

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I had a rather fetching heavyweight brocade ex-curtain from the charity shop for my toiles.  The instructions are pretty good, illustrations to accompany the instructions and I had no problems there at all.  The first toile was excitedly put on, just in time for me to be disappointed.  It was far too big!  It literally fell down around my knees once I’d let go of the pinned waistband.  The fit across the hip was too loose, length far too long (although I expected that) and everything just too roomy.  I started by taking it in and then realised I really just needed a different size all over.

I went down a size, retoiled and swapped the fly opening to the opposite side and shortened the leg length.  Better this time, but still really roomy across the hip and on the upper thigh.  Given that it’s supposed to be fitted in those areas, I started to wonder if this was the pattern for me.  It was all put aside while I grumped for a bit got on with other projects.

So when I was looking for a break from all the sequins, I thought of the jeans again.  Going back to the toile I took in the outside leg seams up to the hip line, inside legseams, took a wedge out of the centre back, changed the crotch line, shortened the crotch depth and shortened the leg.  Phew!!  The toile was better, but as always, it’s the proper fabric that will tell if you’ve done the right job or not.  So I figured I’d best just get on with it.

 

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The fabric was difficult to work with purely because of the stiffness.  My old Bernina had no problem with the bulk and I used a jeans twin needle for all the double lines of topstitching.  I chose two different colours for the topstitching just for fun.  In the areas where just one line was needed I used the colour that had been closest to the edges.

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Dual tone top-stitching & non-regulation jeans buttons!

Buttons came from the stash, and are definitely not jeans buttons!  But hey, I wasn’t going to use rivets either, so why not use non-jeans buttons…

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The fit is much better than the first and second toile, but I wonder if there’s still too much ease in the thigh area.  I’m not 100% happy with the fit under the butt either and feel I need a belt to keep them in place on my hip.  Length is good, comfortably worn rolled up or not.  And the pockets are perfect!  Easy to get your hands into, and the back pockets are the right size to take a phone and not lose it!  Good sized pockets are important.

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So here’s the dilemma,  are my issues with the “fit” just issues with wearing a stiff fabric in a pattern that has way more ease than what I’m used to?  I have loads of baggy linen trousers, but they’re soft and drapey, not stiff and bulky, so the feel is very different.  I’ve looked for people online who’ve made this size in the Morgans and found nothing clear.  Are there any sewists out there who’ve made the bigger sizes, and by that I mean the last two or three???

I’m happy with what I’ve produced, don’t get me wrong, but there are niggles.  Not that they’re stopping me wearing the jeans!  They came in very hand during our week in Cornwall last week. (Why is our week always the wet and windy one?)  I might pop them in the tumble drier to soften the fabric a bit, apparently that’ll help.

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Now that we’re back from holiday and I’ve got a couple of traced coat patterns, I need to get on.  Daughter No2 goes back to uni next week and I – in my completely sane mind – thought September would be good for a coat making month.  It’s half way through (almost) already and all I have are two toiles and 3 traced patterns.  Best I pull up my socks!

 

Shout to the Top

Take a bag of fabric scraps and a simple pattern, no small amount of time and fiddling and you’re rewarded with a pretty unique item of clothing.  I’d wanted to make a tee from the different white and blue pieces of jersey in the scrapbag for ages, inspired by a tee from a Burda magazine from a couple of years ago.

I decided to make the Lark Tee, traced the 4 with slightly widened shoulders, moving to the 2 at the waist and then out to the 6 for the hip.  This was to be for a friend.  I started by tracing the outline of the tee from the pattern art/line drawings and playing around with placement of the different prints.

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Trying out different pattern placements

It needed to be done hand in hand with checking the actual amounts of the different fabrics, no point in deciding to do a large panel and finding out later there was only enough for a neckband!  Once I decided I’d have enough of each of the pieces to do the required panels, I started blocking off the traced pattern, making sure each piece had a grainline and was labelled with the intended fabric.  I also marked the top and bottom of each piece.  The fronts and backs were cut separately.  There were two types of blue and white stripe, a solid navy blue and a piece of navy blue with randomly placed white blocks.  As each piece was cut I pinned and sewed, making a full front and back.

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On the left are the pieces for the back, front pieces on the right with the sleeve in the middle and the neckband on the top front panel

I’d have liked to have been able to have more of the solid blue, but as I told myself I was only using what I had this is the result.  I’m pretty chuffed with it, for a pretty much free tee, can it get better?  Afterall, I’ve used the narrow stripe on 3 other tees, and the solid  blue on two.  That pile of stuff on the right of the above photo is what was left once I’d finished cutting!  Not too shabby!!

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The finished tee, modeled by Betty.

I haven’t been able to persuade my friend to show it off herself yet, so Betty will have to do.  It’s a little baggy on her as she hasn’t the same shape.

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Neckline detail
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Left side with the wide stripes running round from front to back
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Right side with narrow stripes matching
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Last, but not least, the back!

Now that this has turned out so well, I’m keen to make another – but for me this time!  It’ll join the sewing queue, so it might be a while before I’m showing it off! I have just finished my Morgan Jeans today, so perhaps their blog post will be ready mid September…

What’s on your sewing table for the weekend?