Sewing Japanese in January

Finally!  I have finally, after two and a bit years, made a pattern from the book “Basically 7 Dresses”.  Except that it isn’t a dress.  But nevermind, it’s done, and I like it!  In my first Work in Progress Wednesday of the year, I shared the beginning stages of the project, toiling and making the alterations to the pattern.  I needed a bit more time than I thought to find a fabric to make it up in though, it turns out my stash consists of less usable-to-me fabrics than I first thought!  But I won’t go into that now.

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Blouse from Basically 7 Dresses and Kana’s Standard trousers

I did decide on using some of a 3m piece of cotton voile bought from Seasalt a while ago.  I love the muted blue background and off white seagulls, perfect combination for a summer top – which means not so good to photograph in the middle of winter – brrr!  As it’s a lovely drapey, thin fabric, I’ve used French seams throughout, and stabilised the top collar and facings with some fine sheer fusible interfacing.  I also opted for lightweight shell buttons, although I really wanted to use some of the vintage glass ones in my button drawer!

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Blouse details

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I went through the trouble of doing a FBA on this, but now it’s finished, I wish I’d added less across the front, it has lost some of the shape and definition. However, I’m sure that when it’s hot and humid in the summer, it’ll be fine.  Right now though, it lets the draft in!  I also think it’ll look better in a plain fabric, to be honest I feel this has gone dowdy – fast!  Something to think of for next time, the facings in the armhole have a tendency to flap out when putting it on – might not be such a problem for someone with skinnier arms.  So I’ll topstitch the facing down around the armhole instead of just catching it at the shoulder and under arm seams.

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Once the top was done, I realised I might want a new pair of trousers to go with it.  And I had just the piece of left over cotton twill in a nice dark navy in the stash.  The fabric has a lovely sheen to it, and is super yummy to wear.  To go with the theme, I chose to make another pair of the trousers from Kana’s Standard, book number 1.  The pants are in section B, and I decided on the longest, narrowest version of those, style f.  Now this version has straps attached to the top, making braces – I left those off.  I had to retrace my pattern, goodness knows what I’d been doing with the last tracing, it was a mess! 

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These are the size 13 – the biggest size in the book – and they are perfect.  I had previously graded the pattern up 2 sizes, then spent the last two years making the pants that used that pattern two sizes smaller!   The elastic in the back waistband makes them rather comfy!  I can see these being worn loads in both season’s wardrobes, rolled up at the hem, they’re fine for summer.  By making the longer length, they are also perfectly sized for my short legs!  The hem breaks nicely on the top of my foot, so I can wear them in winter without my socks showing.  They’re also well stocked with good sized pockets, two hip-yoke pockets in front and two patch pockets in the back.  Practically perfect pants!

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Distracted by the blackbird tossing all the leaves out of the gutter while racing down the gutter at speed!

I can’t wait for the weather to turn – I know we still have to survive February, but the signs are there, snowdrops are up, hellebores are flowering and the daffs are showing pointy green growth.  But I’m getting itchy to plant seeds and get gardening again, I just want to be outside in the sun!

Work in Progress Wednesday 1/2021

Welcome to another year of Work in Progress Wednesdays!  Now, this will not be a regular, every Wednesday occurance!  Sometimes you’ll get a few in a row, then there’ll be nothing for a month or so, all depends on what I’m working on, and whether I remember to take photos as I sew!!

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The book title translates to “Basically 7 Dresses”, written by Aoi Koda

Anyway, I’m working on my next Sewing Japanese in January project, so thought I’d show it from the beginning.  I have decided to make a version of the cover dress from the book, Basically 7 Dresses, by Aoi Koda.  There are 7 basic patterns in the book, each having different variations, she calls them lessons.  I loved the cover dress from the beginning, it’s lesson number 4.  But, not really being a dress person, figured I’d make one of the variations and turn it into a blouse/top and keep the simple look with the collar.  I’m also not gathering the peplum, it’ll be as if the skirt was chopped short, no gathers for me!

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Line drawings and info for the dress, with picture of the peplum top variation and more line drawings

This book does not have seam allowances included, except for the largest size, which, as it happens, is the size I traced!  The 15, which translates to bust 98cm, waist 70cm and hip 105cm is the closest to me, I’ll just need a FBA.  But – toile first because there’s usually a lot of ease in these patterns and I might get away with not needing much extra.  The finished width at the bust on this one is 112cm, which on a 98cm bust would be roomy, and less so on me! 112cm gives me 6cm of ease, so I’ll check whether that looks right, and feels right in the toile before I continue.  ps, I seriously recommend downloading Google Translate onto your phone for using Japanese patterns, just aim your camera at the text and voila!  Translated instructions!

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With the first, “straight out of the envelope” – as it were – toile, things aren’t going to be as easy as expected.  The fronts just meet, I need more depth in the armhole, and finished length needs to be about 5cm below the current level (which included the hem).  Ok, so the remaining ease wasn’t going to be anywhere near enough!  Shoulders and side seams are all ok, neck feels right, so it’s all in the front.  Time for that FBA.  Now, if you’re after how do to one with a French dart, Maven Patterns have one on their website for their French Dart dress.  It works in the same way as an underarm dart, just in a different place!   So I calculated I’d need 6cm across the front, meaning a 3cm FBA.  Once done in paper, I toiled it…  The result was a pointy, unenthusiastic dart that didn’t point to the right place.

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Toile of size 15 without any alterations. That dart was already raising my eyebrows!

So I traced another front and rotated the dart to the underarm position, then did the same FBA and rotated the dart back to where it was supposed to be again.  With fingers crossed, I unpicked that unsuccessful front, cut another two and stitched them onto the back.  Much better this time!  I’m happy with the ease, the reach across the bust, etc.

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Just the bodice fronts and back, to check the dart before going any further

Back to the paper and I added 1cm of depth across both front and back from the centre armhole, altered the front peplum piece to accommodate the FBA width and lengthened both peplums by 8cm.

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Pattern alterations, smoothing out the armhole after the fba, the large dart created by the fba and the extra 1cm depth added across front and back.

I quickly cut those out of the toile fabric and added them to the bodice, and I’m happy!  The length, once the hem is turned up will be fine, the bodice fits nicely over the bust and the shape is good.

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Checking out all the angles

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I like position of the join between upper and lower bodice, the flare on the lower half is ok too.

Now I have to find fabric… Shopping the stash for this one, no fabric purchases allowed this month!

Sewing Japanese in January

I have plans!! I need a push to get my sewing off the starting block this year, like a lot of us I think. I love the idea of starting the year with a couple of challenges, and this one is my first.  I have made one item already (admittedly, I only needed to finish it this year, having started it at the beginning of December). But I’m claiming it for Sewing Japanese in January 2021! I also want to make another pair of trousers from the Kana’s Standard book, and finally get to use a pattern from a book bought back in 2018.

But today I have another beautiful, big sleeved blouse in my wardrobe. I bought the spotty viscose from Rainbow Fabrics, it’s lovely and drapey!  I decided to make another version of the blouse I made in October from the Asuka Hamada “Sweet Clothes” book.  This time, I altered the pattern front before cutting, I had decided to make a small FBA, just to make the fit a little better.

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Top E from Sweet Clothes, by Asuka Hamada

 Now I’d love to say I’ve devised a brand new method of making  a FBA without a dart, but I’d be lying.  There’s a very good method I use in the book, “The Perfect Fit” available from Amazon and I’m sure, other sellers too.  Here’s an extract for you:

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It’s a dead easy method, and works well without having to fiddle about with adding darts and then trying to get rid of them again. I had decided that 1.5cm over the half bodice would be enough for me, while I didn’t need masses of room over the front, but a little more length in the front would be nice, so  I added 3cm in the length.

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In order to save a little fabric, I cut the back in two with a French seam in the centre.  This meant I could cut the font and back next to each other on the fabric, and then placed the sleeve on the cross grain (because it’s so wide!) with the bias for neck and narrow cuff pieces filling in the banks spaces.  This means that from my 2m originally bought, I have enough to make something else!

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I love the way this version drapes, the first one being cotton voile is a little crisper, and the sleeves keep their blousiness better.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like the way they are in the viscose though.  I could live in viscose all year, it just feels so luxurious. 

I made this blouse in the same way as the first, ignoring the elastic in the narrow cuff and using the revised neckline.  I like the extra length in the front the FBA has given me, and the little more room across the bust is an improvement.  Very happy with this, and it’ll be worn a lot, even if ironing those big gathered sleeves is a pain!

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Now I really need to toile the patterns I’ve traced, and figure out what adjustments they need.  Also, those pants, they’re so quick to make!  In the mean time, and totally unrelated to Japanese sewing patterns, I’ve added more vintage patterns to my Etsy shop, I need to make a concerted effort to empty at least one drawer to make space for the modern PDF patterns I keep buying!  So help a gal out won’t you, see if I’ve got anything you fancy.  I’m adding constantly, so keep going back.  It takes a while to go through each and every pattern to make sure all the bits are  there.

 

Shweshwe Zadie Jumpsuit

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Me again!  I might finally be back in the UK, but the sewing is s.l.o.w.!  I haven’t quite got back to “normal”, because life isn’t normal.  Mr W moved his office into my sewing room while I was away and he had to work from home.  Now that work can happen at the “proper” office, but only twice a week, he’s still firmly ensconced in the sewing room.  It’s hard to find room for sewing machines and ironing amongst the computer, A3 files, boxes of samples and other paraphanalia a busy architect needs.  Not to mention the constant phone calls, with and without video…

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So the sewing has been happening on the dining table, cutting out on the living room floor.  It’s not ideal, and I’m still itching to sew more, but I think we all need to get used to life as not-normal.  It’s been weird to have continual company nowadays, instead of being on my own all day!  But, I do actually have something I made to show you.

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Back in June, there were a couple of “challenges” I thought I’d join in with, the #JumpingIntoJune sewalong encouraged the making of jumpsuits, and Stephanie at Sea of Teal was promoting sewing with prints for June’s Sew Your Wardrobe Basics.  So, on the last day of June I cut and started a print jumpsuit.  Not so much jumping into June as jumping out of it!

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Pockets – nice BIG ones!

I do love the Zadie Jumpsuit, it’s so comfy to wear, and quick to make.  This version is the size 16, with no FBA!  I had realised with the last summer version I made last year, that with the FBA the waistline seam sat too low.  So I reversed that adjustment and just made the smaller size.  I’m happy to report that it’s all worked, fits properly, doesn’t gape, and the waistline is in the right place.

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The fabric is a cotton shweshwe print I bought in South Africa in May.  This isn’t the Da Gams Three Cats fabric.  It had “Cheetah Shweshwe” in the selvage, but I can’t find much info about it.  It’s wider than the Da Gama fabric at 150cm and slightly stiffer, but that will go with washing.  It’s no stiffer than the blue linen used for my first Zadie.  I love the spotty print, it caught my eye in the fabric shop immediately, and straight away I knew I wanted to make the Zadie Jumpsuit with it.

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Got to love a spotty print!

This isn’t the end of my Shweshwe journey, I bought another piece for myself which will become a nice new pair of Carolyn PJ pants, and lots of pieces that I bought for making things for the girls.  Now I just need the time to make it all up!!!

The Great Module Sewalong Challenge

You’ve seen the three tops in the form of Tee-shirts that are required in the challenge, but I have another!  I wanted to make a top from the February Burda, top 119.  I bought a metre and a half of grey marl sweatshirting with French terry back from Fabworks and boy was it the right fabric!!  Lets just say that I’m wearing that top whenever it’s clean and dry.  I traced the 42 and didn’t do a FBA, which, in hindsight, I really should have done.  There’s definitely upward pulling going on which a FBA would have prevented.  Ah well, next time!  I lengthened the body by 5cm and am definitely happy with that decision!  It would have been way too short otherwise.

 

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Burda top 119 February 2020

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The fabric is perfect for the style, it holds the shape really well.  The only thing I’d change for the next time would be to reduce the height of the collar.  I’m wearing it folded over all the time – for me it’s just too high, so could do with 2-3cm shaved off on each side.  But apart from that, this is a great top!  I love with my 3/4 sleeve Uvitas, I like the colour and pattern popping out of the sleeve and just below the hem.  Looks like I’m talking myself into making another…

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Now for the pants…  These are the one item I’m not that sold on, and might will have to find a replacement for.  The pattern I chose is 107 from August Burda 2019 – which states it’s designed for fabrics with and without stretch, and which, in the magazine, they’ve made in ponte.  So I bought 2m of viscose ponte in pistachio from Fabworks and set to work.  Making a fly front, hip yoke pair of trousers in ponte was an interesting project.  I like the colour, but I wonder if it shouldn’t have had a little more oompfh.  Nevermind, as it is, I don’t think this pattern wasn’t necessarily designed for ponte fabric.

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Burda pants 107 August 2019

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I cut the 40, as the previous pair I made in wool in the size 42 are too loose.  But still I needed to take these in an extra 2cm on each side seam and 4cm in the back.  The waistband was interfaced with stretch interfacing, and still halfway though the day I’m having to yank them back up into place.  If, and this is a big if, I make this pattern again, I’ll remove a centimetre or two from the crotch depth, and make a 38 in a knit, possibly the 38/40 in a woven.  I love the pleats at the hem, that detail is just fabulous, but the rest of the garment just isn’t working.  It’s such a shame!!  I think I’m going to have to open the waistband up and insert some elastic, or possibly even grossgrain ribbon.  It just needs to stay up!!

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Hem and button details

So, three successful tees done, one sweatshirt top and one pair of dodgy trousers.  I have toiled the “topper” part of the challenge and have identified at least another 3 pairs of trousers that would fit the bill for the bottoms.  They’re all Burda patterns and will need to be traced, but at least I’m finally finding something in the latest magazines that I want to make!

February Wardrobe Basics

When Stef announced February’s theme I knew I’d be taking part!  I love stripes of all shapes and sizes – and directions!  I had thought the best thing to do would be to combine last month’s denim jacket and the stripes from this month – in the denim jacket!  The denim I have has a herringbone pattern, so effectively, it’s stripes, right?  I managed to get the second toile of the pattern fitted and checked earlier this month, but as I was too busy making coats, didn’t make the alterations to the pattern.

I then got distracted with other striped fabrics!  I love stripey tees, so decided I’d have a few new ones for the summer.  I started with a piece of organic cotton lycra from a local store – white with narrow black stripes.  I knew I wanted to make the Basic Instinct Tee from Sasha at SecondoPiano.  She has a clever formula on the pattern that helps to line up all the stripes on the shoulders and side seams – if you have a stripe pattern of the correct repeat.  Thankfully, this stripe fitted the 6mm repeat, and my shoulder seams are just perfect!

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Organic stripe jersey in the Basic Instinct Tee

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The most perfect shouldeer seam stripe matching ever!!!

Then I got stripe-happy and ordered some fabrics from Montreux Fabrics and cut another Basic Instinct Tee from the black and white stripe.  Unfortunately this pattern repeat wasn’t suitable for Sasha’s clever formula, so I had to choose between lining up the side seam stripes, or the shoulders.  I couldn’t have my cake and eat it too.  But I tell you, keeping stripes lined up on viscose jersey is tricky!  I ended up using a ton of pins and then basting by hand.  Machine basting just didn’t work, the stripes all jumped and danced around and got all out of balance.  If you have a machine with a walking foot you just might be better off!  Anyway, I was satisfied with the matches I got, and more than happy with another comfy Basic Instinct Tee.

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Another Basic Instince Tee

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For my third tee, I chose the Stellan Tee from French Navy.  I like the boxy shape for the summer, and the curved hem is a cool detail.  The fabric is viscose jersey again, but has more weight than the black and white.  I decided to try to get all the stripes lined up on this one, and marked the intersection of the shoulder seam and stripes on the pattern so I could match them.  And it worked!  There is only one stripe on the shoulder because of the pattern repeat and the angle of the shoulder, but it doesn’t matter, it lines up!!

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the Stellan Tee

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Just one matching stripe, but I can live with that!

So – I have managed to fulfill the challenge brief and stock up on good tees for the summer, but I still want to get that denim jacket made….  if there’s time!  These three tees also tick the box of the three tops required for the Great Module Sewalong.  I made a pair of trousers to go in the module, but although they’re comfy and all, they aren’t right.  Why?  Well…  Let’s leave that for the next post, shall we?

In the meantime, let’s see if I can get that denim jacket done by the end of Saturday!!

 

Sew Alongs and Sewing Challenges

Hellooo!  It’s been a little quiet on this front lately, but rest assured, the sewing has continued!  The cashmere coat is finished, I just need to get photos that do it justice!  Standing in my sewing room with my phone propped up on a pile of books just isn’t doing any good.  And, there’s another coat to show you now!  I’m making good progress on shrinking the coating pile – at last!  Again though, I need some nice sunny weather and a helper to get some decent photographs.

With the coat and jacket sewing, there’s good focus, but I need little, quick projects to break it up a bit.  That’s partly why I thought signing up to Stef’s #SewYourWardrobeBasics would be a good idea.  There’s no pressure, you participate in that month’s challenge theme if it suits you, and don’t if it doesn’t.  So far, so good.  This month is stripes, and if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that that’s my favourite sort of pattern!

I decided to splurge on Tees for the challenge and bought some cotton lycra from a proper fabric shop to make a Basic Instinct Tee, and a couple of pieces online from Montreux Fabrics for a Stellan Tee and a Lark Tee.  This will top up my summer tee pile quite nicely, but I wanted to squeeze in other projects too.

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Trousers 107 Burda August 2019

There’s an interesting pair of trousers in this month’s Burda that I’m keen on and might make in a linen, I’ll have to check the stash to see if there’s anything suitable.  I also rather liked one of the tops in the magazine.  However, when Fabworks posted on Instagram that they had a pistachio viscose ponte as their fabric of the month this month, and that was just £3 a meter, I gave in.  I knew right away that I wanted some for another pair of the trousers I remade last year, 107 from August 2019.  I imagine they’d be perfect secret pjs!  And to go with them?  That top from this February’s issue!  Under it the stripe tees, and over the top, one of the coats still on the list!  Sounds like an outfit on the way to a mini wardrobe – yes?

This is when I decided I might sign up to a bigger challenge, The Great Module Sew Along.  The idea is to sew 2 bottoms, 3 tops and a covering/jacket.  So far I have plans for all of the garrments, and don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to make the deadline for the challenge.  And best of all, it gives me focus to make those quick projects in between the bigger coat and jacket projects.  Oh, and there’s also the sewalong challenge in the Facebook sewing group I’m part of.  This month is bottoms, so two pairs of trousers it will be!  🙂

 

 

Ash Jeans, slim leg or skinnies??

Just to keep you on tenterhooks a little longer with the big coat reveal, here are the jeans I made a few weeks ago, and have worn almost constantly without getting any photos.  Oops!  I guess that at least by wearing them contstantly, you can infer that I rather like them and am pretty happy with how they turned out.

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Ash Jeans, slim leg version

So, after the debacle of the last pair and its toile, I made the same alterations to the pattern for the slim leg jeans and got cracking.  The fabric this time is black denim from Croft Mill, I can’t link to it because I got the last piece, mwahaha!  It has much more stretch than both the toile and the fabric used for the wide leg version of the Ash jeans.  Which means that I could, in hindsight, have made them tighter from the hip up. Is it a problem?  No, not really.  Certainly not enough of a problem to have me unpick the topstitching and re-do anything!!

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I like the fit, but they do get a little loose as the day goes on!

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Pocket detail and topstitching

I used a deliciously contrasting thread for topstitching this time, not denim thread (because I didn’t have enough left and was too cheap to buy more), but a similar colour to the denim thread I had.  It looks pretty good against the black of the denim, and so I needed a button that would go with it too!  Luckily for me, I’d had a good raid of the local charity shops a couple of years ago and had built up a collection of military buttons.  The old gold/bronze colour of a particular set matched perfectly.

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Old buttons are the best!

Pocket fabric this time comes from another one of the other half’s shirts that have got all holey in the wash.  How do you guys keep your man’s shirts from getting holey along the collar and cuff edges?  I swear these shirts aren’t all that old, but they’re all going tatty and definitely unwearable in polite company.  Under the car or in the garden is a different matter all together…

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Shirty pocket bags

There’s only one thing I definitely need to change about this pattern – the leg length.  Remember how I said with the wide leg pair that they could do with being 2-3cm longer, but that it would be ok with the narrower versions because you can get away with shorter on tighter??  Well – you can’t!  Or at least, I can’t!  I’m constantly using my feet to slide the fabric down to where it should be, so a definite alteration for all versions needs to be the addition of 3cm in the leg length.  Not something I thought I’d need to do, but there you go.

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Also, what should be the difference between a slim leg pair of jeans and skinnies??  Because these feel like skinnies to me!  Is it just that I have chunkier calf muscles?  Should they fit looser?  I cannot tell, having gone down a rabbit hole on google images with this pattern and got nowhere.  Can anyone tell me if this is how they’re supposed to fit, or do I need a full calf adjustment??

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Excuse the wrinkly bits, it was mid afternoon before I managed to get the other half to take these photos, and they just emphasise that I really should take these jeans in!

And so I’ve completed the first instalment of the #SewYourWardrobeBasics from Stef at Sea of Teal.  February’s theme is stripes – challenge accepted!!  You just cannot beat a good (or bad) stripe!  Is anyone else doing this “challenge”?  I’m going to make a Basic Instinct Tee with my stripe fabric, I need more tees for the allotment, and I can’t wait until it’s already warm to get making!

2020 – already!?

This is the post that should have greeted you at least a week and a half ago!  😀

Well Christmas went fast this time, didn’t it?  Presents wrapped, food ready, party clothes prepared…  And now we’re a week into January and I feel I haven’t quite touched base yet!  The visitors went home just before New Years to celebrate with their friends, leaving us oldies to drink the rest of the wine and eat the remaining mince pies on our own.  I had grand plans to do some sewing, but they never got started!

I have decided that this year I really do need to actually do some of the things I’ve been saying for years that I will do.  Like make that *^&%££%*&) coat!  Correction, THOSE coats!  (I have a pile of patterns I want to make, and the fabric is sitting in the stash.  We all know how much space coatings take up, so I’m very keen to get them out!)  And join in with other online activities.  And learn something new.  And crack on with the stashbusting.  Further to that I bought myself, at a special price, two quilt patterns for my birthday.

Quilts??  I hear you gasp!  I’m not talking traditional quilts here, although they’re very nice and all.  They’re just not me.  I think it’s more the patchwork side that’s not me than the quilting.  But I do love the modern quilts, all geometric and dramatic and bold.  So when I saw a new quilt pattern on Instagram, I sort of fell…  Soo – I have made a patchwork quilt top, still need to finish the rest of it, and I’ll show you all that later.

On the joining in side, Stephanie at Sea of Teal has launched a project to Sew Your Wardrobe Basics.  It does what it says on the tin, to act as encouragement to get those “unexciting” projects sewn.  I say unexciting, but when you’ve made a new pair of jeans, it’s pretty exciting!  This month’s theme is denim and I really needed to get more jeans made.  After last year’s slim leg Ash jeans debacle, I’m ready to give them another shot, and hopefully this time I’ve got the sizing right…

So here we go, into the new year with promise and purpose!  See you on the other side!

 

The Misses of 2019

To be fair, there haven’t been that many items I made this year that haven’t made the grade, for whatever reason.  So this might be a short list!  Of course, if the project was that bad a miss, there won’t be photos, or many, and maybe not even a blog post…

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The first project that springs to mind is the black and white gingham top made back in January.  I have not worn that top.  At all.  In fact, I cut it up and turned it into a cute little dress for a 3 year old.  It was a case of wrong fabric, wrong pattern and wrong adjustment.

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Second is another top, and another case of wrong fabric for the pattern.  I’d thought the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory would look good in viscose.  I was wrong.  And the pattern wasn’t for me, I had liked the colour and thought I could get away with the pattern because of the colour, but it felt all wrong to wear.  It felt like it was wearing me, rather than the other way around.  It’s another project that’s been cut up to make something for a cute little girl.

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That’s the only photo I have of me wearing the top.  And that’s only because all my other clothes were in the wash after coming home from 3 weeks away!

And the only other fail I can think of is the pair of Ash Jeans I made at the end of November, in the wrong size!  But are they really a fail?  They made up really well and looked good, and I managed to sell them to someone who (hopefully) was the right size.  So I’ve bought replacement denim and plan to make another pair as soon as.

It was at this try-on stage that I realised things weren’t going as well as I thought.

Honestly, they’re the only projects I can think of that fit the fail bill, I seem to have had good luck this year!!  How about you?  Has it been a plus or a minus year for your projects?  I do enjoy looking back over the year at everyone’s projects, and seeing how you all feel about the projects you’ve put your time and effort into.