Monday, 21 January 2013

Finished Project: Blue Renfrew

Afternoon all,

Thought I'd share my very first attempt at sewing with jersey today! I've had the Renfrew pattern sitting in my pattern stash since Tasia released it and every time I've seen a great version of this top, I've wanted to start my own, but somehow I never got round to it. Until today that is!

Now, this pattern calls for stable knit fabric and I'm pretty sure the jersey I used for this top doesn't fit that description remotely since it's very stretchy and a complete nightmare to try to handle. And maybe that has something to do with my general blah'ness about this top, but despite many people in the blogging world positively gushing over working with knits I can't say I enjoyed this experience over much.

Excuse the lack of make up. I had a study day today and just couldn't be bothered to put any on.
 It has absolutely nothing to do with Tasia's instructions, which were, as usual, very clear and easy to follow, but the whole stress of sewing with knits really did my head in. I could not for the life of me get the stretch stitches on my machine to behave with this fabric, so I ended up sewing the whole thing on my serger instead. This isn't a problem per se, but there are no seam allowance markers on my serger so my 5/8" seams are pretty much none existent. That means the fit isn't overly accurate. However, it seems to have worked out OK in the end I guess because it's not a total failure.

I cut a size 8 for this pattern, which is a size down from what I usually cut in Sewaholic patterns, but I like my t-shirts relatively fitted. What with the stretchiness of the fabric and my, probably smaller than 5/8", seams that was definitely a good thing as I wouldn't want it any looser than it is.

I really like the look of this pattern, and it makes a great wardrobe basic, but I'm not sure I'll be rushing ahead to make another version any time. There are plenty of other things I'd rather be wrestling with and I really can't face the hassle of sewing with jersey again as it currently stands. Maybe if I see some decent quality jersey at some point I'll buy some to give it another go, but for the moment I'm going to put this down as a valuable sewing experience, but not one I want to repeat for a while.

In other news I have also finished my tape measure fabric Cambie dress (bar the hem) and I just need to hand stitch my bodice lining into the main shell of my bombshell dress and finish off the hem. So hopefully there'll be a couple more finished makes to show on here before long! Which is a good job really because I start placement number 2 of my PGCE in a fortnight and then I get married at Easter so there's not going to be a whole lot of blogging / crafting going on round here for a while!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Finished Project: Simple Knitted Headbands

Morning all,

Just wanted to share with you a couple of super quick knit projects - I managed to whip both these babies up last night!

I saw Lucky Lucille's post about her version of this back in December and loved the pattern so downloaded it pretty much straight away. Anyway I finally got round to giving this pattern a go last night and managed to make up two versions of it in one evening (so much for that Uni reading i was meant to be doing!).

The pattern is called It's a Cinch, by Elisa McLaughlin and can be found on Ravelry here.

This uses hardly any yarn so would be perfect for those leftover balls of wool from other projects. I can see many more of these in different colours being made, they're so comfy and perfect for the chilly weather we're having right now!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Finished Project: Embroidery

I've been meaning to have a go at some embroidery for a while now and having purchased a couple of patterns from Sublime Stitches last year, I thought it was about time I actually used one of them!

This is the So Stitchy pattern. I thought it would be a good pattern to have a go at lots of different stitches with - kind of like a sampler.

I got to use the chain stitch, back stitch, cross stitch, split stitch, stem stitch, lazy daisy for the flowers and french knots. My stitches aren't always the neatest, but all in all I'm quite happy with the results and it makes a nice craft related picture to hang up in my sewing space.

I'm planning on having a go at the Many Mountains pattern next - I want to sew up the pattern in four different colour variations so I can have a group of embroidered pictures.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Finished Project: Grey Linen Simplicity 2451

Can you tell I'm still on school holidays at the moment - I think I'm probably close to posting the same number of posts during this 2 week holiday as I managed throughout the entire Autumn term!

Anyways, another finished make for you here. Simplicity 2451, (same pattern as my flowered dress refashion) and another refashion to boot. This time, from a pair of grey linen trousers which were miles to big for me.

I wear the flowered version of this skirt a lot, but it's a little short so I'd never dream of wearing it without tights. So I decided to lengthen this grey version as much as possible (about 2" overall I think), given the limited amount of fabric. I also added about 1/2" on to the waistline as well so that it would sit slightly lower on my waist than my first version. Which altogether makes for a much more summer friendly skirt!

I cut the front skirt pieces with the inside leg seam as the centre fold and the back pieces just squeezed on to the other leg. I managed to get the pocket pieces out of the same fabric but had to cut the waistband facings in a different fabric, so I used up some of the red cotton left over from my Linda skirt and Bow Tie blouse.

I've had the pattern pieces for this skirt cut out since before the summer, but I kept getting distracted by other makes. I finally sat down on Wednesday and sewed it all up. I spent about 3 - 4 hours making this skirt, no more so a rather satisfying afternoons work if i do say so myself!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Finished Project: Christmas Cambie

Back in November I decided I wanted to make a Christmas themed dress for the last day of term at school, to properly get in the Christmas spirit. I found this cotton Rudolf  fabric online and thought it'd make a great Christmas dress.

I thought the Cambie dress would be perfect for this so I made version B this time as I wanted a fuller skirt. The last Cambie I made was just a smidge too loose on the bodice so this time I sewed 6/8" side seams instead of 5/8" seams, which seamed to do the trick.

I lined the dress with white cotton lining again and also lengthened the skirt by about 2". I could still have it a little longer though so I might add a total of 3" on next time and see how that turns out. Other than that though, there isn't really anything else new to mention in terms of construction. The whole thing took me a day to sew up, tops. It's such a simple make really for such a neat, lovely finished dress. Tasia has made the instructions so easy to follow.

The dress went down very well at school on the last day of term and my 2 1/2 year old niece also loved it when I wore it again on Christmas day! lol

Next up a sewing themed Cambie with the tape measure fabric I bought at the Birmingham Blogger Meetup.

I can't wait to get started on this!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Finished Project: Gertie's Bow Tie Blouse

Finally I've got round to blogging about this make! I finished this back in October, technically as a wearable muslin, but the fit was absolutely fine so I decided to finish it off properly. This is the bow tie blouse from Gertie's sewing book. I decided to make the peter pan collar variation instead though.

I wore this top (sans collar) to the Birmingham Blogger Meetup arranged by Marie and Kat at the start of November as a bit of a road test for how it fitted. Like I said, it was originally made as a wearable muslin so I could check for fir but also so I could have a go at making bound buttonholes since I'd never made them before. The fabric is left over from the Burda Linda skirt I made back in the summer.

I cut a size 6 at the bust and graded out to a size 8 at the waist, which seemed to work just fine fit wise. However, I found the neckline was too tight so I widened the neckline slightly to make it more comfortable. As for the bound buttonholes, well they weren't nearly as difficult as I'd imagined them to be - mainly thanks to Gertie's fantastic instructions! It has to be said though that cotton isn't the most forgiving of fabrics when making bound buttonholes as it shows up any creases and rucks in the fabric round the buttonholes.

But not to worry, I'm still pretty proud of my first attempts! I finished the button facings off with yellow bias binding to match the yellow buttons I'd chosen to use.

I quite like the pop of colour the buttons add to the top. I finished the hem off with lace seam binding.

Instead of  making the bow tie version of the blouse, I decided to go with a Peter Pan collar instead. I used a lace collar rather than drafting a collar from the same or contrasting fabric.

Next time I think I'd add an inch or two to the length as it would tuck in easier to skirts/trousers.

I definitely plan on making the bow tie version of this blouse, probably in a double knit a la Gertie's version in the book as I think it'll be slightly more forgiving and flexible around the collar area. Al in all a pretty simple make (even with the bound buttonholes) which I have worn loads since I made it.