Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

Over the last year or so I've had a few goes at making jeans and while I've been able to successfully construct some lovely, well made jeans none of them have been quite right on the fit front.  A few months ago I had been working on Burda 6798, I loved the style but the waist was coming out enormous while the calf area was alarmingly tight.  I'd made a few adjustments and they still weren't right and I, unfortunately have very little patience for making muslins, so I decided to risk starting at the beginning again and ordered the Closet Case Patterns Morgan Jeans. The style is similar and I figured that if it worked out then I could add the back pockets from the Burda jeans in the future, which were really the main selling point for me.
Well, you could knock me down with a feather because I made a quick muslin for the Morgan jeans and they pretty much fit me exactly out of the envelope. The only issue I had, again, was tight calves and the non issue of the cropped size fitting me as full length pants!  I had measured my calf before choosing a size, the pattern very helpfully includes finished measurements for a number of points on the body and I knew it would be close but thought I'd just squeeze in there.  Upon re-measuring both legs it turns out that my right calf is half an inch bigger than the left one and that had caused the problem.  I'm now wondering if I need to bulk up leftie to match!  Anyway, I figured that sewing the seams below the knee with a slightly smaller seam allowance would give gigantocalf enough room to move and I went ahead and cut out my denim.

My denim came from Doughty's Online and I'm really happy with it so far.  It came out of the wash with a really lovely texture and is a nice medium weight which should be good through to the end of Autumn.

The construction of these jeans was mostly straightforward.  This was my first time sewing a button fly and the directions were very clear and it came out looking neat and professional.  I will however be getting my old machine back out of retirement for the next time I make jeans with proper topstitching thread because it was a mega pain in the arse to keep changing the thread and the tension and the stitch length all the time.  I had a few issues with my machine not really liking the heavy thread so it would have been good to get the set up just right and then not fiddle with it again.  There are a few little thread nests on the inside of my jeans, but I am far too lazy to unpick and start again when it comes to stuff that no one else can see.  I used about a spool and a quarter of Guterman topstitching thread to complete these jeans, including a bit of practice sewing.
The bits I won't be talking about are the corners on the waistband (which are not my best work) and the waistband buttonhole (which caused some very prolonged swearing, followed by tears and despair).  Other that that I couldn't be more pleased.  The baby blue topstitching looks ace, the jeans fit comfortably and I'm really looking forward to trying out different design elements to make myself a mini wardrobe of Morgans.  This pattern gets a great big thumbs up from me and I'm now very, very tempted to order the Closet Case Gingers too to wear with long boots once it starts getting cooler.  I have a feeling you are going to be seeing rather a lot of jeans from me in the coming months!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Style Arc Lola

Hey, how is everyone?  It continues to be very warm here with the last couple of days being blisteringly hot by UK standards.  Except for working I’ve pretty much done nothing but sit still  and pray for rain since Tuesday.  Fortunately while it was still just warm rather than OMG! Hot! I made myself these easy breezy trousers which are lovely for hot weather.  I’ve been seeing lots of people wearing these loose patterned trousers recently and always thought they looked really comfortable but I was a bit worried that I’d look like I was wearing pyjamas so I held off from making any.  I thought that maybe I would try on some while I was out shopping a few weeks ago but Stu told me that they were all sort of horrible and I wasn’t entirely sure he was wrong so I left it.  I still couldn’t get the idea out of my head though and had some fabric that had been hanging out in my stash for years so I just got on and made them.

I plumped for the Style Arc Lola pattern for a couple of reasons. I liked that it had elastic part of the way around the waist with a flat part at the front and I liked the look of the pockets in the drawing.  I’ve had my eye of a few Style Arc patterns so I thought it would be nice to finally try one.  I’d heard that their instructions were a little on the brief side, but I figured at this point that I’ve made enough pairs of trousers to not really need them.  To a certain extent I was right but there were definitely a few points where I was left scratching my head wondering what they were trying to get me to do.
The pockets were the main area of confusion for me.  Looking at the picture I thought they were constructed like hip pockets on jeans, but I turns out that they are more like inseam pockets or at least that is the only way I could understand it.  The instructions are for sewing pockets with zips and they do say you can leave them out but offer no further help with that.  I fudged it as best I could and do have perfectly functional pockets but they do gape quite badly and I don’t know it that is because I did them wrong or if that is the reason for the zips being suggested.  Anyway, if I make these again I will just not bother with pockets and I’ve been wearing these pulled right up with a longer top that sort of holds the pockets shut a bit.

 The rest of the construction was reasonably simple.  The waistband was a bit fiddly and I’m sure there is probably a simpler way to do it, but it turned out fine.  I decided not to bother with elastic at the ankles but I’d definitely stick it in next time I think.  It just goes around the back of the ankle and my trousers do migrate down around my heel a little if I’m not wearing shoes so the elastic would have been helpful.
Ha ha, STILL have my Belladone tan line diamond on my back!
The fabric, if memory serves, is a javanaise viscose I bought ages ago.  It is a little heavier than the really floaty viscoses I’ve made dresses out of and seemed perfect for summer trousers.  I was careful to make sure that the pattern lined up on each leg by drawing around the pattern on the tissue and matching that up when I cut each piece on a single layer.  I’m not sure it’s perfect, but it’s good enough for me.  Overall I’m pretty happy with these, they are comfortable and casual and not too pyjama like so I’ll probably make some more before too long.   Stu is still not a big fan of the style, he complimented me on how well made they looked even if he couldn’t say that he liked them so at least he made an effort to find something nice to say!  He is actually my biggest cheerleader and he regularly proudly shows pictures of my handmade garments to his friends and colleagues so I think we can definitely forgive him for being a bit lukewarm about the odd garment can’t we?

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Burda 6794

With the OAL done for another year I figured I could stop feverishly knitting and concentrate on building up my summer wardrobe a bit more.  I've made a few dresses so I'm trying to bash out a few separates over the next few weeks.

I started with this button up strappy top in a floaty viscose.  I first spotted this top on the envelope of a Burda pattern for jeans, so I snapped it up when I saw it in a recent Burda half price sale.
My first thought was to make the mid length version (please note I almost certainly won't be making the cropped one any time...ever) out of one of Stu's old shirts.  This is still on the cards but I need to take the shirt apart and press out some darts and I wanted to be sure it would fit nicely before doing so.  I pulled this checked viscose out of the stash, I'd been thinking this was a little flimsy for a proper shirt but it might be perfect for this.  Frankly, this fabric has next to no body at all and was a bit of a pest to work with.  I lined everything up vertically as best I could but there are a few spots where the checks take a bit of a wander due to inaccurate cutting or stretching out.  Mostly it's not noticeable but the top of the back is quite obviously dodgy.  Oops, I completely accidentally don't have a picture of that, what a terrible thing to have forgotten!  I didn't bother matching any of the side seams because I'm lazy and it doesn't really worry me too much.
This was pretty easy to sew, there's nothing much complicated going on.  I decided not to use rouleaux straps as set out in the pattern because the thought of turning them was unappealing.  I cut the strips as per the pattern and then sewed them like belt loops, folding each side into the middle, folding along the centre and then stitching flat. They look fine.  Then, instead of turning a hem all around the top and then stitching the straps on last I used a bias facing and sandwiched the straps between the bias and the top so that it was all finished in one.  I found that way quicker and I think a bit neater too.
Then it was just a case of sewing 10 buttonholes and 10 buttons.  My new(ish) sewing machine made pretty short work of the buttonholes and I got them all reasonably even too.  When I make the next one out of the old shirt I will probably just leave the button bands in place which should make for an even quicker project.  I'm still glad I made this one first though because it is probably a size too large, even though it's perfectly wearable and I'd like the next one to be perfect.  First though I really need to sew some bottoms as I've barely any that fit and it's pointless sewing tops if you've got no bottoms!

Monday, 1 August 2016

FO: Spring Fling

Well, it's finished. But did I make it on time to enter it into this year's Outfit Along?  Believe it or not I did, In fact I finished a full 2 days before the deadline, phew!  The weather cooled down just enough for me to crack on which was nice and then Felicity projectile vomited all over the living room (stay with me here) which was not good, but meant that I had to take Friday off work because my mum refused to look after her.  That resulted in a whole day's extra knitting/sewing up time, some of which was taken up with me scrubbing the carpet and the sofa and the rug, oh and Felicity too!
So, was it worth rushing to finish?  That will be a resounding yes!  I love this cardigan.  It is so cute, is really comfortable and goes really nicely with my Belladone dress.  After last year when my chosen dress and cardigan for the OAL looked horrible together this was a huge relief.  I'm a massive fan of the yarn too, I used DROPS Loves You 7, which is 100% cotton and feels really nice to knit with.  Also it's 80p a ball and I used 3 and a bit making this cardigan cost somewhere in the region of £3.
Not only that, but it looks really nice with my Hazel dress too.
As always with DROPS patterns I started by rewriting out the directions so that they didn't make my brain hurt.  I think they took up 5 sides of A4 by the time I had finished but it was totally worth it.  I still managed to make a little mistake by reading my rewritten instructions wrong but the mistake isn't obvious so I'm not pointing it out.  I did end up changing the sleeves by leaving off the lace pattern and just leaving them plain.  I did this for a couple of reasons, firstly I decided it would be quicker and easier than trying to keep track of a lace pattern whilst simultaneously casting off 2 stitches every row and secondly the cardigan already has lots going on with the cabled rib and lace on the body so I figured it wouldn't be missed.  If I do make this again I'll probably used 2x2 ribbing with no pesky cables and then keep the lacy sleeves.
I would be tempted to make this again because this one is already proving to be a very useful garment but I think I'll have to leave it a while until I forget about needed to sew in the sleeves.  In reality it wasn't too onerous a task, but I'm lazy and I hate hand sewing and avoid it as much as possible.  For the moment I'm going to go back and finish my Salted sweater which I put aside for the duration of the OAL and enjoy not having a least until I sign up for another challenge!