Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Cardigan-ey sort of Jacket. New Look 6351.

Hello everyone,

It might be hard to believe from my smile in the photo above that I am tired and irritable, but in reality I am tired and irritable!  You see, I went away for a week, and I always find that

1/. You are flat out busy before you go away doing all the things that have to be done.

2/. You are flat out busy while you are away, in my case sometimes doing things that had to be done.

3/. You are flat out busy when you come back doing things that have to be done, plus all the catch up washing, plus get back to work.

4/. And sewing has to be even more fitted in around the edges of life, and while away has to, horrors, be stopped completely.

And, if that was not enough, I am an introvert and get very tired and irritable when doing a lot of things that make extroverts sing for joy.

So, I am tired and irritable!  And my photos are a little careworn looking - especially as I did not pay much attention to detail, having tired myself out cleaning up the back garden and carport and other jobs like that.  I just came in, threw on a new white tee, found some me made pants, and threw on the subject of this blog post, my new cardigan-ey sort of jacket.  And my hair is sort of a bit wild, after being worn under a hat. That's Saturday at my place, not a place of high glamour.

The pattern I used was New Look 6351:

 This had been lurking in my stash for at least two years, and I really wanted to make this up before it sort of went out of date.  As often happens with my stashed patterns.  Last year I made a muslin out of a woven fabric, and did not like the way it sat.  At the same time I also made a muslin out of some leftover soft polar fleece. That version sat a lot better.

I had a remnant of unbrushed poly-cotton fleece (Spotlight) and used this to make the jacket.  I cut size 10 around the shoulders and arms, and 12 for the body.  I added 1.5 inches to the bottom of the jacket as it was just a little too cropped for my liking.  I added 1.5 inches to the sleeves - I had to do this by adding a small extra band to the sleeve - but I have not taken a photo of this.

The pattern was pretty basic as far as sewing was concerned, so I added a few details of my own - namely, false flat fell seam at the front, and I also top-stitched the collar turn back, back neck and front.  It just looks more finished.  The pattern suggested understitching to the corner of the collar, but this would just have looked awful when turned back, so I understitched the back neck edge only before topstitching.

Inside, I just caught with a few stitches in the ditch  the front facings down with a few stitches in the ditch   at a couple of points down the front.  I also tacked the neck facing down at shoulders and at the centre back - the facing wanted to flop out at the back, and as I had a back seam, I just did a neat stitch in the ditch to anchor it.  I overlocked all seams and edges, but found that my overlocking just did not look fantastic around the armholes, so I bound them with nylon raschel lace.  I added a hook and eye closure to the front as suggested by the pattern, but it just kept unhooking itself, so it has now been removed.  I think I would use a loop and button for a closure if I made this again.

As for the back seam - see above and below, I topstitched either side of the seam to hold the seam in place.  I then coverstitched the hem.  Now, I am still getting used to the coverstitch, and while I carefully measured the hem and tacked in place, I noticed that I had gone on a bit of a wavy ride.  Now, normally I am always manipulating fabric as I sew, and do a lot by eye/hand co-ordination and not by measurement.  And because I was thinking measurement, I forgot to roll the centre of the hem down - so it measures less inside, but looks great on the outside when sewn. Sewing is often about little bits of pushing and pulling, but they don't teach you that in the books. So, I did it the way we are taught - measure. And this was the result:

 I hummed and hahhed about this for a while, then decided that I could live with it.  I knew that undoing a finished and locked coverstitch hem would take quite some doing and in the doing I would likely make a hole.  I decided against that, and as this hem does ride up quite symetrically (see, I told you I measured perfectly inside!) into the seam, that I would call this a deliberate design feature.  The sleeves are also a bit wobbly for the same reason, but as I have already mentioned, I forgot to take picture of the sleeves.

And, for a hack jacket made out of a $2.40 remnant probably worn for chores and for quickly popping out to shops, bank, etc, I am quite pleased.  You have to learn new techniques on garments - yes, you can do samples, but until you work on a real garment with real seams and lumps and bumps, you are not going to know what to do.  I have mastered coverstitching hems on t shirts, but going over  a bulky centre back seam is new to me. So, I have learnt something - all for the price of a pattern, some thread, and a $2.40 remnant.

I nearly forgot -   I should show you some pictures of the jacket - as usual, the back - (and as I don't have a stylist or photographer, I usually find my clothes have moved in between running back and forth to reset the timer on the camera )- the side, and front.  Unfortunately, the collare rever's do not show much in the photo, dark navy blue being no more helpful in showing photo detail than black.

Before I go,  I know this little learner garment will be much tougher than a little cardigan I bought last year that I thought would be okay for the garden and chores. Well, it's already got a hole in it, after about two wears.

So, wavy hem and all, I have a little me made wardrobe winner, I think.

Got to look on the bright side, even when you are tired and irritable...

That's it for now, take care everyone,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Bra Break from Sewing - The Watson Bra

The SLSS household has not been well this week.  I did not even feel like sewing a garment.  I had to do something though, so I decided to play around with making another bra.  And unfortunately I made it in a black fabric, so the photos are a little dark and do not easily show detail.  And in keeping with the 70's retro vibe of the Watson Bra, I have changed my photo to black and white.

Earlier this year I made a bra using a Kwik Sew pattern.  This was more an exercise in learning the techniques needed to make a bra.  Unlike some sewers, I actually have to practice a few times in order to understand what to do.  I can't just blindly follow instructions as I am not an aural.  I have to immerse and understand from inside out what to do and why.

I also need to understand principles behind what I do.  It helps to explain the process.

In due course, as I become more proficient in both principle and process in bra making, I shall share more here.  For now, though, this is the bra I made:

This is a wirefree bralette pattern.  It is to be made from stretch fabrics - with quite a lot of stretch, such as lycra blends.  The patternmaker suggests that the bralette has a forgiving fit, due to the use of quite stretchy fabrics.  This made me wonder how much support this little bralette had.  Some people who have made it claim it supports nicely, others say it is not so supportive.

The front band is interlined with a firm tricot to give some support.  The back band is powernet or stretch lycra blend.

I looked at the construction notes and could see that the two inner cups just met at the centre, and the seams of the cups themselves were just stitched down under the cups. This made the front corner of the bralette untidy looking.  I also know (from previous reading about bramaking) that a plush casing that wires go through can be used to offer a little more support.  I had some casing like stuff - not the proper plush casing, but something that would do -  in my stash, so I experimented with that to cover the seams and to cover the front part of the bra on the inside:

As this is only a test and fitting bra, I used up bits in my stash that were odds and ends.  I found a white elastic that I used on the neck and arm edges.  I had no inclination to keep changing bobbins - usually I would, but my head cold got the better of me - so I used black throughout. Still, it does show you the stitching process, which is two fold.

(and the white marks you see are my marking pen marks - they erase with water very easily).

The back is fastened with a three hook and eye set:

I could write a book already on fitting a bra pattern, but I will keep it simple. Basically, there are a number of different sizing  systems - U.S.A has one, Europe a different one, United Kingdom, different again, and Australia has it's own as well. Plus there are a number of different ways of measuring.  I don't get too stressed out about this,  I just measure, and quickly do a muslin - which again, is not too involved:

I thought that 34B was about right, and so the muslin confirmed.  I did think I needed to alter on the outer curve.  I also thought that the seam allowances had been miscalculated near the strap - so I added a bit more. The xxxx's mark the spots.

It's a bit unglamourous, and so is the attempt at seeing whether this would fit.  I tie the elastic round my neck in a halter fashion, and then sort of hold things up, round or together to see whether things are about right.  

As it so happens, the fit is about right:

As far as fit when worn is concerned, it could be more supportive.  I think I will use a firmer fabric for the cups next time.  I also think that I need to pull the elastic in more firmly around the outer arm curve - the pattern instructions were a little vague here - just a gentle stretch, whatever that means.  I will also use a firmer elastic.  I'll probably take out a small amount at the side too as I am a straight frame figure.  I could also add more to the armcurve area. The casing under the breasts is certainly a good idea.

So, now I will wear this as a summer time after work lounging bra, just to get the feel of the fit. Adn then, when I feel a little more inclined, make myself a "for real" version of this bralette. And I will look at finishing the exposed seams in a more RTW fashion.

That's it for now,

Sarah Liz

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Very Naughty Knit indeed - and another Kwik Sew 3766 top.

This is going to be a fairly short post today, mainly because I somehow wiped out some of my pictures. And I have a sort of modus operandi - finish the garment, take photos (not my favourite thing), blog it, and move on to the next project.  So, I don't have much to share except for the back story and the finished garment.

On the plus side, I seem to have sorted out my camera problem.  I was getting poor, out of focus, fuzzy pictures.  My camera is supposed to be set on Automatic, because I am not someone who has any sort of interest in photography. DH suggested that maybe the setting had been accidentally altered.  I think this was the case, so photos may now improve again!  Not promising know me and my thoughts about taking blog selfies!

 just made up a batch of unruly sweater knit, I decided it was time to make a simple little t-shirt out of a remnant of cotton/lycra knit that I had stashed.  Only it didn't quite go that way.

Things started well enough - I chose my old faithful pattern Kwik Sew 3766:

I have made plenty of these before - all posts can be found here.  It looks so different, and fits so differently depending on the knit I use.

This knit was a four way stretch cotton with lycra (3%).  It was a .80 by 150 wide remnant piece, priced at $2.00 per metre, original price $24.99.  From good old Spotlight.

I preshrank the material, but the selvedge was bright orange. Although there was no obvious bleed (I stood with the dye fixative ready, but it was not needed) - later I found some light orange marks.  So I had to work around those. So intent was I on cutting the main garment, I forgot about the neckband, mostly because I usually use a rib.  Luckily, when I raided my stash of rib knits, I found a perfect colour. This was quite a fortuitous mistake, because I think the solid rib band looks fantastic and makes this garment.  It also holds the neckline nicely, as the fabric was very stretchy.

Sleeves were cut to the length I could cut them - they are not the short  length shown in the pattern.

The other issue, and it was a big one and nearly had me stopping the project before I started, was that the horizontal stripe was not horizontal. The vertical stripe was quite vertical, and ran along the rib of the knit.  So I cut of course using this line as my "grain line".  But the horizontal stripe did not go at 90 degrees, it ran at an angle uphill, or downhill, depending on which way you look at it.  I had photos of this, but they are the ones I have somehow lost.

So, then I had a dilemma.  I decided to push on and work around the problem.  I thought that if I could get the hemline on an angle, that would visually distract from the problem.  And with a small amount of ruching on one side- the short side, the folds from that would make the angle hem look like it was meant to be:

The back shot is an action shot - I had just finished moving the screen and my camera indicated it was about to go off - I hadn't quite got into position!

And if you look at the hemline - which is straight, it's my ruched side pulling things up - you can quite clearly see those stripes are not horizontal.

So that is it.  I am glad I persevered, because I rather like my  funny little knit top:

Once again, if you look at the above picture, the fold of the hem is on the cross grain.  The stripes are not on the cross grain.

I am so glad that I only purchased a remnant piece at $2.00 per metre.  I would have been very cross to have paid $24.99 per metre for a fabric whose print was not accurate.  I'm always wary with printed patterns.

That's it for now.  I'm starting to perk up again, as life returns to a new normal.   I hope to get my blogging routine back on track too!. Thanks for your patience and for continuing to read my blog.  It's much appreciated.

Bye for now

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Leftover Knit Jacket turned Vest - Burda 7183.

Well, all good things come to an end, although with this knit fabric, I am rather pleased, because it was so tedious to sew and didn't want to behave at all.  I had a strip of leftover knit that I was determined to use, firstly because I love it, and secondly, because it was so awful to sew that I knew that if I put it away to make up some other time, it would never get done.  So it was onward knit.

I have a little stash of remnants, and in that I had a piece of black brushed tracksuit fleece, poly cotton mix.  I decided to use that for sleeves and back, and have a patterned front.  But of what?  I rummaged through my patterns and chose Burda 7183:

 This is a zip front jacket and I had a zip that was just the right length.  The neckline was bound - and the pattern suggested faux leather.

I usually fit a Burda 38, perhaps smaller on the shoulder, but Burda 38 is usually okay.  Now, I usually toile things, but I didn't bother - this was leftovers, and a remnant.  So I cut out and removed an inch in length from the sleeves.  This turned out to be a mistake, because the sleeves are extraordinarally short for a commercial pattern.  And, not only that, they were far too narrow for me. I have never had this problem with any sleeve, as I am quite thin in the extremities.  But when I tried them on, they were very fitted.  Not only that but the sleeve is in one piece and does not have an elbow dart.  So I found them tight and uncomfortable and with no dart, movement was restriced. As I planned to wear the jacket over layers, this was not going to work for me.  I had read the reviews on pattern review and no one had mentioned this issue, so I guess width and fit is a personal comfort matter.  I think if you wore this as a dress jacket without layers underneath, the sleeves may be fine.

So I had a change of direction and made a vest.  I decide to omit the zip as it would look too heavy, and with vests I tend to wear them open and only fasten if need be.

So I decided to bind the armholes to match the neckline, and added hook and eye closures (3) to the centre front of the vest.

As for the faux leather binding, I used what I had.  It did not have stretch, so it did not sit very nicely.  It looks worse in the photos than it does in real life. When the garment is worn, it curves over my body and the faux smooths out a bit.  Plus in real life wear, with movement and what not, little flaws like this are not noticeable.

And of course, as luck would have it, the next time I went to Spotlight they had some stretch faux pleather.  So I have purchased some for the next time this situation arises.

Amazing, my top edges met and so did the bottom ones!

There isn't much more to say about this little vest, so I will just close with some pictures:

That's about all there is to say about this jacket, except I want to make the long sleeve version one day - suitably altered!  I need to find a suitable fabric, but at least I have the faux pleather in my stash.

I'm so glad this knit project is over.  So far, four garments from two pieces of 1.45 and 1.55 sweater knit, plus a remnant of .4 for the cowl.  And a small remnant of fleecy for the vest.  Not bad, 4 garments and cowl for about $80.00 of fabric plus notions and patterns.

I needed a simple project after that, so chose an innocuous little TNT t-shirt.  Unfortunately, things were not that simple...isn't that just sewing.

But I will share that story with you next week.

Sarah Liz

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Knitted Skirt, McCall's 6654.

The knit story continues.  As you know by now from my previous two posts, I rather fell in love with this lovely, fleecy, knit fabric, found at Spotlight for $25.00 per metre (half price).  It is a polyester, acrylic and wool blend and such gorgeous colours.   I first settled on a knit dress (blogged here) and then decided I wanted a skirt. I cut one from the leftovers from the dress project, but it was really too short.   In the meantime, I had decided I wanted a sweater as well, to wear with my plain, boring, black basics.  So I had purchased another piece.  It dawned on me that if I used Simplicity 1255 which had dropped shoulders, (blogged here).  I could cut the sleeves out of the too short skirt.  That meant I was only needing to cut the body of the sweater - and in turned meant I had enough for a skirt that was nice and long!

I used a very simple elastic waist skirt pattern, McCall's 6654:

The skirt was quite fitted, according to the measurements given on the pattern, so I cut a size 12. I knew the seams of this fabric would easily take up an inch, so went with the more generous size to accommodate this.  I just cut out the length I had of the fabric, and that was that.  The pattern has no back seam, but I added one so that I could add a slit at the back for walking ease, which I need.

I did not use the sweater knit for the waistband, as it would have been far too bulky, and the skirt is bulky enough already. I also didn't have enough.  I found a piece of rib knit in my stash, leftover from something else,so I used that.  I use a casing and thread the elastic through that.  I prefer this method, because I can adjust the elastic to suit my waistline.  I also made the band much wider than specified in the pattern - the elastic suggested was 1/2 inch wide, which is far too narrow for me.  I like a wider, firmer elastic, especially for a heavier knit like this.  I  added a bow at the back so I can easily tell back from front:

I'm afraid that I don't have a good back view, but I am sure you can use your imagination here.  And thank goodness I am small - the knitted fabric is quite bulky and gives a rather rounded look, but that's okay - I will be wearing it with a handknit mohair sweater, which also adds some volume.

Oh, and I can also wear it with the sweater, to make another dress!

  Which will be handy if I go away in winter, because I can take sweater and skirt, plus a black mohair sweater, plus black pants and woolly skirt, and have a warm capsule wardrobe.

Now, I have nearly finished the sweater knit - but I managed to squeeze one more garment out of the leftovers. With a bit of help from a remnant of black tracksuit fleecy.

So I shall continue the knit story next week...

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Skirt to Sleeve Transformation - with the help of Simplicity 1255.

 I nearly didn't blog today, as promised to you last week, because I am so tired.  I did three months of outstanding accounts yesterday and I think I saw them all last night instead of sleeping.   So today I am a little lacklustre and will keep this post quite short.

Last week I showed you my knit dress, also made in this fabric.  The original piece of fabric was 1.45 metres of 150 wide knit - and after I made the dress, I had a strip left over.  I made a little skirt out of that, but it was just too short for my liking.  I had already so fallen in love with this fabric that I had purchased another piece to make a jumper to go with my casual clothes.  I then realised what I could do.  I rememberd this patterned:

This top has drop shoulders, and I already knew they sat quite low on me, as I had made the top before - just a wearable muslin out of remnants.  I realised I could get the sleeves out of the little skirt.  And then a top from the 1.55 piece.  Which would leave me enough to make a skirt - which by now I decided I wanted.

As the pattern has a CB seam with a zip opening, and a high, sort of funnel finish neckline, I altered the pattern to suit the constraints of my fabric.  I removed the CB seam and zip, which left me with the problem of what to do with the neckline.  I dropped the front a bit, to allow more headroom when pulling it on.  I made up a neckband out of the fuzzy fabric, and then tested it - always a wise move.  It did not easily go over my head.  So I was left with the problem of how to finish the neckline.  Luckily I had a piece of stretch polyester faux suede in my stash, and I used that. Seems to work:

I will just quickly show you the top - I've even managed a smile.  When you look at the back view, the hemline looks uneven - I can assure you it is not, it is just the way it is sitting - sometimes you don't see these things until after you have taken the pictures!

So there we have it, a modern, drop shoulder, slouchy sort of casual sweater.  I am sure I need to make this top smaller, but it works for this knit, and I like the oversized look which is going to be big for Autumn/Winter 2018.  And, as I found a small remnant in the remnant bin, which naturally I could not resist,  it even has a cowl scarf to go with it, for cold neck days:

That's it for this week, once again thank you for your comments.  I still have a busy week or so in real life to attend to, but one day hope to get back to normal with replies.  In the meantime, I just hope some of you enjoy reading my blog and seeing patterns made up.

Back next week with the skirt,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Winter Warmth Knit Dress, based on Burda 8998.

It's been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. Suffice it to say, real life needed attention, and there has been little  time for blogging or social media.

Whenever I have a full plate of responsibilities, I tend to choose easy sewing projects.  And when we had a cold snap (it has been quite cold for Newcastle) and concurrently Spotlight had a sale of a knit that I have been watching all winter, I put the "easy sewing" and "knit I want" and "it's cold and I want a warm dress" together and decided to make a warm, woolly looking knit dress.

I have always wanted to knit a dress, but I don't think I will get around to that for about a decade yet, so this dress also addressed that reality.

Before I continue with this post about the dress, though, I just want to reply to some comments that some of you left on my last post:

This was a Burda Miss Petite pattern.  I am a petite, and Anne asked if this pants fitted me well.  The answer is that they do, much better than the normal sizing.  And Catherine and Irene mentioned products to stop Fraying.  I have tried Fray Check, and Fray Stoppa, and found that they washed out!  So, in places that don't matter, such as the flaw found inside the pants pocket, I just dab on clear nail polish.  I'll try other brands and see if I can find a better quality product.  Ebay often seems to have all sorts of sewing goodies, so I will look there, instead of Spotlight.

Back to the post:

The fabric I used was a very spongy and thick knit, a mix of polyester, acrylic and wool. It was originally priced at $49.99, which was a bit too much for me, but when it was reduced to half price, I swooped.

As it was so dense, I knew it would be tricky to sew:

Not easy to see, but I hope the above two pictures give an idea of the loft of this fabric!

I looked through my patterns for something simple to make and settled on this Burda pattern:

It's a loose tunic top, and I thought that it would work as a dress.  I chose size 10, with finished bust measurement of 38inches.  I thought that with the bulky seams, and with wearing things underneath, this would give me the fit I wanted - not too tight, not too loose.  I just extended the side seams of the pattern to dress length and added side splits (which were also on the tunic).  I always add a button at my side splits for days when I am more vigorous in my strides:

Now, this was a really tricky fabric to sew.  I decided to use my big machine and used a small zig zag stitch - there is no way my overlocker would have sewn two layers of this together.   And hems were done by the same technique.  The fabric was naughty, and really wanted to walk down the length of the stitch of course, but I countered that by holding the underlayer taut.  And it wanted to walk sideways too, so I had to really push, pull, and hold in all directions at once to get a reasonable seam.  Not perfect, but reasonable.  Seams had to be redone, and the neckband I did a couple of times to get it looking neat.  In the end, the seam allowances were tacked down, the band was tacked on and sewn on, and then I folded it down and stitched in the ditch from the right side - and that was tacked down too!  But I got the inside of the band looking passably neat.  Not perfect, but good enough:

(I also made the neckband much wider than the pattern stipulated - this chunky knit needed a chunky sort of neckband).

Anyway, after a few frustrations, and a little more time than I expected - but not nearly as much as handknitting a dress :) - I am now the proud owner of a smart, warm, woolly knit dress.  I love it!  Even if I am not smiling much - I am really tired today after finishing the quarterly tax business yesterday. Mind you, the photo's turned out a bit fuzzy too, so maybe it doesn't matter.  Anyway, you will get the idea of the dress, I hope.  I've kept the pictures small, because they are too blurry otherwise.

Now, I purchased 1.45metres of this knit, and there was a bit left over - next week I will tell you what I did with that....

That's it for now,

Sarah Liz