Thursday, 30 June 2016

FOs: Tops for me

I've got a couple of projects for you today, both tops and both sewn from knit fabric.  Seeing as one of the patterns is a bit of a go to and didn't warrant it's own post, I thought I'd lump them together.
First up is another New Look 6216.  It won't be my last, I could live in these things!
This one is white, the fabric is a stripey burnout type affair and I loves it.  Being sorta see through made it really easy to make sure my stripes were all lined up and the finished effect is really rather nice I think.  Not much more to say, I just wanted to show it off because I like it.
I also very much like this one too and it's a new pattern to me so I can spend a bit more time waxing lyrical about it.  The pattern is Simplicity 1072, which I saw and had to buy immediately!
I love the zig zagging front and the way the raglan shoulder becomes part of that.  Rather than going full on colour block for my first go with this pattern I decided to just add a little sparkle.  I cut out all of the pattern pieces using the black jersey and then cut the centre front panel again out of some sparkly stretchy mesh stuff and laid it over the black.  I like how it's a little bit glam but not super blingy.
Before I was finished sewing I was a little concerned that this would look a bit boring on me, after all it is basically a sweatshirt.  However once I tried it on I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.  I like the raglan sleeve shape on me and the detail at the front does really make this as a garment.  There is plenty of room in it and I could go down a size if I wanted a more fitted garment but this is lovely and comfy as it is.  Equally great for lounging around at home but I still look reasonably put together if I have to be seen out in public!
The sewing itself was really pretty straightforward.  The front panel did have me scratching my head for a minute or two because I wasn't sure about sewing it on my overlocker like the rest of the seams, but in the end I just sewed the pointy bits with my sewing machine to make sure they'd been caught properly and then overlocked the rest of it.  It seems to have worked out well and because there is a hem band the only other part that I needed a sewing machine for was the sleeve hems, making this a really quick project.  The neckband is a bit of a mess, I'm not sure if it was too short or if it was just due to the specific stretch of the fabric, it doesn't bother me enough to fix it but I'll pay more attention next time.  I'll definitely be making another of these soon and I quite fancy a go at the skirt included in the pattern too.  Maybe I'll wear them together and then I can be as happy as the lady on the envelope!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

FO: Butterick 6230 for Cassie

I love making things for my kids, not quite as much as I like making stuff for meee, but I really enjoy seeing them in their special unique little garments.  Now that Cassie is growing up she has become really interested in the process and it's become a real joy to sit down with her and plan out a new project.  When I tell her it's her turn to have something made for her she gets to choose what type of garment she'd like and I'll get out any suitable fabrics that I have for her to choose from and then I'll pick out a few patterns that will work and she can make her final decision.  She really gets a kick out of being involved and it's really nice for me to feel that she's interested in what I'm doing.
This time around she wanted a dress, not terribly surprising as both girls are completely dress obsessed right now.  She picked a pink fabric with vehicles all over which I couldn't resist buying, because pink fabric with 'boy stuff' on is nowhere near as common as it should be, but had never used because it's a really horrible polycotton.  Her pattern selection was a See & Sew pattern, Butterick 6230 and thankfully she plumped for the non flouncy skirt because NO FLOUNCES!

Construction of this dress was super easy.  The button band is just a pleat running down the front bodice and then it's just a case of gathering the skirt, sewing everything up and sticking in the facing and a zip.  I gave Cassie the choice of whether to add buttons or not, of course she said yes and spent s good long time sorting through my button stash.  I'm not sure that the big red spotty numbers that she chose would have been on my shortlist but it's her dress and I won't be the one wearing it.  She loves it and is proud to wear it and that is really all that matters.
Literally the only difficult thing about this dress was choosing which photos to add to my post today.  I gave up in the end and made collages so that I could use them all!  Cassie loves to show off for the camera now and she's very creative with her poses.  It's completely worth sewing her up a little dress just for the little modelling routine I get treated to.  Ultimately I can see me making up a few of these in the future, but only if Cassie wants them of course!

Monday, 20 June 2016

OAL Progress

Due to technical difficulties I've not managed to post for a while, which is annoying, but hardly the end of the world I'm sure you'll agree.  To cut a long story short the app I use on my iPad for blogging is unavailable and my laptop has a massive attitude problem and a work ethic to match.  On the odd occasions that Mr. Craptop is functioning in a civilised manner I'll try and knock out a few posts and schedule them, but until I figure something better out then I'll be popping in and out for a while.

On the plus side I have a massive backlog of projects to share (and photograph, ugh!) so I have plenty to chat about.  However, seeing as we are about a third of the way through this year's Outfit Along I figured that the best place to start was with a little update for that.
The kids have found my secret photo spot!
Firstly I am happy to say that phase 1 is complete and I am very happy with it indeed.  It's not been too long since I made my first Belladone dress so I don't have too much to say about this one.  I made a few little tweaks to the flat pattern before I made this one, namely moving the bust darts down a little and adding 0.5 cm to each side seam.  The fit is much better as a result and this dress is really comfortable.
The fabric is 100% cotton, which emphasises the stucture of the dress nicely.  I had intended that the print would go the other way up but I completely forgot to check which way it was running as I was cuttting out.  I like it this way too.  I've got quite a bit left, this dress is pretty economical fabric-wise, so maybe I'll make something else with the print the right way up.  I bias faced, rather than bound all of the openings, using a rather fetching pink and white floral tape.  I bought a 33m reel of this stuff recently so it will be meeting all of my unseen bias taping needs for at least the next few months I think!
The construction of this dress was much less painless than the first time around.  Having misunderstood some of the directions last time I was much clearer on what I was supposed to be doing.  That always helps I find!  I slightly changed up the order of construction, leaving the side seams til last in order to make sewing the zip in a bit less fiddly.  I'll definitely do it that way again in the future because it was far easier for me.  I had intended to use an invisible zip, I enjoy sewing them much more than centred ones but I suddenly realised that I didn't actually have a compatible invisible zipper foot for my new machine.  Ooopsies.  I've bought one now but I wasn't waiting for it to arrive to finish this dress so a centred zip it has.
So that's that.  My matching cardigan has been growing very slowly due to cabled rib in 4-ply (yaaaaawn) but now I'm past that bit it's starting to speed up.  I haven't taken a photo for a while though so I'll save that for another post.  Probably next month at the speed I'm posting....see you then!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

It's that time of year again!  You may have noticed that I quite like taking part in the odd challenge and of all of them I think I enjoy the Outfit Along the most.  I think it's probably because it involves sewing and knitting and I end up with items of clothing that actually go together at the end.  Win, win and win!  I'll also add that the Untangling Knots Ravelry group which hosts all of the OAL chatter is a lovely place to hang out and it's great to see so many posts there every day.  People are so knowledgeable, encouraging and helpful and I'd really recommend diving in if you're on the fence.  The official patterns this year are Andi Satterlund's newest offering Zinone and Sewaholic's Hollyburn skirt.  Neither of these are up my street so I'll be doing my own thing.

So, recruitment attempt over, what am I planning on making this year?  I do have a couple of projects in mind although the second project isn't entirely decided yet.  I made two outfits last year and I'd like to do the same again, but I'm aware I may not manage to knit as much this year so we'll have to see.
If I get to a second outfit I think these will be my fabric and yarn.  The yarn will most likely be another Miette cardigan, but I'm not sure of the sewing pattern yet.

My first project, however is completely set in stone.  Good job really as I should be casting on!
I'm going to use the fabric to have another go at the Deer and Doe Belladone dress.  I knew I wouldn't leave it long to make another and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to go for it.  This cotton fabric should hold the lovely shape of the dress and the pattern isn't so busy that it will take away from the details of the dress.  I've made a couple of adjustments to the pattern ready for the off, moving the bust darts down a little and adding just a smidge to the side seams.

I put a good long think into choosing a cardigan pattern to go with my dress.  After last year's clashing neckline disaster....
... I thought I'd better take a bit more care!  I eventually settled on a DROPS pattern that will hopefully complement my dress beautifully in navy blue.
I've also taken into account the fact the Outfit Along takes place in Summer and I want to be able to actually wear my outfit right away so this little short sleeved cardigan, knitted in cotton, should be really useful in the coming months.  It is knitted using a 4 ply, which is not usually my first choice because I'm lazy but I'm hoping it won't take me too long because it is quite little.  I've done my usual DROPS pattern prep work and rewritten the entire pattern out in bullet points so that I can actually follow it and I've even washed and blocked my swatch.  I'm good to go.  I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Me Made May debrief

So today marks the last day of MMMay16 so it's time for me to have a quick muse on how it went and what I have learned.
My pledge for this was that I would wear at least one hand made item of clothing every day throughout May, with bonus points if either of the kids were also wearing a handmade item.  I was fairly confident that I'd manage it, but was interested to see if I'd end up wearing the same stuff over and over and where the gaps were in my handmade wardrobe.  I knew before I started that I have a serious dearth of handmade bottoms, so that was never going to be news, but I wanted to see if any other areas were lacking.
The first thing I realised was that I'd been planning MMMay in an April, which had been pretty rubbish weather-wise, but as soon as May rolled round Spring arrived in earnest.  All of a sudden quite a few items of clothing which had been staples of my wardrobe were being put away until Autumn.  It turns out that I have a lot of long sleeved dresses and tops and that I really do need to start working on some summer clothes.
The next thing was that I have even fewer bottoms than I realised as both of my Grainline Moss skirts are currently a bit on the tight side.  I'm not going to feel bad about that because I made them during the time that I was having issues with my gallbladder and was much thinner than I was really comfortable with.  I did realise that I really missed wearing them though so I'll be making up some more before too long in the next size up.  I also managed to rip 2 pairs of trousers during the month, one old pair and one brand new pair too so despite actually sewing trousers this month I actually ended up down a pair in the end.
However, I'm not feeling downhearted at all, I made it to day 19 before having to wear anything twice which just goes to show that I have lots of choice in my handmade wardrobe.  During the month I finished 5 new garments (mostly unblogged and pictured) so I'm feeling pretty productive too.  All in all it's been a fun and informative month and I now have a shopping list of useful items that I'd like to make over the coming weeks rather than just making spur of the moment choices each time I finish a project.  Big thanks to everyone else who joined in, it's been really inspiring to see what other people wear on a day to day basis and really interesting to see which of my projects have caught peoples eye too.
So that's that.  To save myself feeling aimless and lost I'm starting a new challenge tomorrow because it's Outfit Along time!  I have plans and I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about them.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

FO: McCall's 7115

I've been having a small run of failed garments of late, one pair of trousers that ripped after several hours of wear and a pair of culottes which I shall probably never admit to having made, so I was really hoping for a win with my next garment.
I chose McCall's 7115 partly because I've been wanting to make it for ages and partly because it has an intentionally relaxed fit and I figured I couldn't go too far wrong.
While I really like the idea of View A with the shorts I thought I'd make things easy for myself and use the bodice from that view but use the skirt from Views C&D.  I'll definitely make it as a romper soon though.
The fabric I close has been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project for ages.  I love the little flamingos and I didn't want to use them for a garment that I wasn't that into.  I've got my eye on a few more flamingo fabrics right now though so it's not like it's a scarce kind of print to get old of!
Construction of this dress was really straightforward, I would completely recommend it for less confident sewers so it sewed up so fast.  I cut the pieces in my spare moments on Wednesday and sewed it up completely on Thursday.  Of course being the first project on my sewing machine helped speed things up because I was so excited to have a proper go on it.  I'm pleased to report that it all went smoothly and I was particularly tickled to see it actually completing buttonholes without any kind of drama at all.
Overall I'm really pleased with this.  Next time I make one I may make the next size down, the fit is meant to be relaxed and this one is really comfortable but I would like to make one that is a bit more fitted.  Particularly as I am in danger of flashing my underthings if I lift my arms!  That aside this is a definite win which is exactly what I needed after a couple of disappointments.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

My new BFF

Hi there, I've been AWOL for a few weeks, mostly because I've been working slowly on several projects with not much to report.  I'll have a catch up in a few days but today I'm just here to introduce you to my new friend.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram will not be surprised to learn that I' treated myself to a new sewing machine and it is very pretty indeed!
Now my old sewing machine was actually not that old at all, maybe a couple of years and despite never really loving it I wasn't really considering replacing it until a few months ago when Stu mentioned how loud it sounded from the girls bedroom.  I started halfheartedly researching quiet sewing machines and quickly started discovering new features that I all of a sudden couldn't live without!  I decided to slowly save up some money and take my time deciding which machine to buy when the time came.  To cut a long and boring story short, after considering many very good options I found that I had my heart set on getting a Pfaff with IDT because for me the built in walking foot type affair was exactly what I needed.  They are pretty pricey so I set about squirrelling away a bit of cash each month so I could get what I really wanted.  My machine was perfectly adequate so there was no problem waiting.
Of course, somehow my old Singer found out that I was plotting to replace it and decided to get it's own back by messing with me big time.  On a couple of occasions I was in the next room and heard it going  by itself for a few seconds.  Naturally I blamed the cat and thought no more about it until one day it just kept doing it and wouldn't stop.  After profusely apologising to the cat I decided that we obviously have a ghost.  A ghost that's totally into sewing!  Unplugging the foot pedal stopped old ghosty in his/her tracks but also stopped me sewing too (sad face).  Resisting the urge to just replace the stupid thing I ordered a new foot pedal and hoped that would solve the issue.  Ultimately it did but it wasn't terribly reliable, working perfectly one minute and refusing to do anything at all the next.  After a day of shouting at the foot pedal and then at the machine for being unwilling to do something as simple as sew a buttonhole Stu suggested that I should probably just buy a new machine before our children learnt any more new swear words.
So I did.  Recent events did colour my decision a little, I had been considering the Pfaff Ambition Essential but it doesn't have a start stop button and suddenly the ability to sew without actually needing a foot pedal seemed rather a good idea!  The Ambition 1.0 has that feature and is a rather fetching shade of pink and that was pretty much all I needed to plump for that one instead.  At this point I've only had it a day so I can't really draw many conclusions, but so far I LOVE it.  It is ridiculously quiet compared my old one, the amount of info on the screen is fantastic and I'm really very in love with the little storage compartments.  Simple things!
I'll report back when I've had a chance to sew some different types of projects and fabrics and let you know how we're getting on then.  For the moment it's Happy Hannah, over and out.