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?

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I’m excited to announce a new sewing challenge hosted by myself and @carlamayfield5 ! It’s the #thegreatmodulesewalong and here are the rules: Contest runs from January 28 – March 24th, 2020. Participants must complete a 6 piece module (one topper, 2 bottoms and 3 tops) and post their finished module by midnight EST on March 24th. Entries need to use the #thegreatmodulesewalong and tag @tomkatstitcherycarmel and @carlamayfield5 . 4 winners will be randomly selected at the end. For more information, head to the channel. Link in bio! Feel free to share this if you’re planning on following along! There will be a TON of support information and help over on YouTube (so make sure you’re subscribed to TomKat Stitchery and Stay Stitching). The more the merrier and let’s create some cohesive closets in the new year! Prizes sponsored by @minervadotcom @sewingworkshop @lovenotions @itchtostitch @figandneedle @cashmerette @seamworkmag #sewingchallenge #sewingvlogger #sewingvlog #modulesewing #caspulesewing #capsulewardrobesewing #fashionsewing #garmentsewing @christieressel

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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.

Top 5 Hits of 2019

I can’t quite believe it’s that time of year again, December, christmas, and the time to review what has worked well, and what didn’t.  The end of another sewing year, this is when I start looking at all those projects that I’d intended to make and haven’t quite got round to.  Joining the Socialists in reliving the best and “worst” projects of the year, I still start on a high!  Of course!

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There have been many highs this year, my favourite pattern has been the Paper Theory Zadie.  Although I’ve “only” made two jumpsuits from it, I have loved wearing them so much.  I’ve actually started making a fancy Zadie for my Christmas outfit!  I don’t usually bother with a specific, purpose made Christmas outfit, but this year, I’ve decided to give it a go.  So my Zadie jumpsuits are definitely on the top 5 hits list!

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The Style Arc Teddy Designer Pants are another pattern that’s hit the mark with me, and having made 3 pairs this year, I really can say it’s a fabulous pattern.  I always get compliments when I wear them.

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black teddy 3

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For Daughter No2, the best loved projects have been the skirts make using 117 from Burda February 2017, again, used three times.  I have a pile of fabrics waiting to be used for this pattern, so I know this is a hit!  Two of the skirts made for Daughter No2 were in summer fabrics and she’s loved them.  Now she has a canvas print that’s good for winter and she loves that too.

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Skirt 117 from February Burda 2017

I haven’t been able to make much for Daughter No1 this year, it’s tricky when we don’t get to see each other that often, so fitting is tricky.  I have, however, managed to make her the trousers so so wanted earlier in the year, although I don’t have blogable photographs of them yet.  But I know she loves them, and when she wore them to work, she got many complients.  And I could have had many orders!

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1987 Vogue 1199, much altered!!

Last has to be my corduroy jacket, the most recent of a whole string of jackets made from the jacket pattern 116 from April Burda 2009.  Everyone loves the colour so much, it’s quite unique in a sea of black, grey and beige in the winter!   Until I get to make my Peppernoot and Tosti and Sienna Maker Jacket and nameless other Burda patterns, this is my favourite winter jacket so far!

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Next up will be those projects that, for some reason or other, didn’t quite make the grade.

 

 

 

 

Reclaimed

A year or two ago, I made a pair of Stride pants from the Merchant and Mills Workbook.  I’d made the largest size and shortened them a bit, but I cannot remember just how much right now.  The pattern was fine and instructions did the job, but I never liked the finished trousers.  I was really disappointed because I’d used a beautiful piece of black and blue plaid wool from Fabworks.  I was annoyed that such a lovely piece of fabric was now a very unliked pair of trousers.  I never even took photos of those pants!

So why didn’t I like them?  They were too wide, too floppy and the pleated front with waistband on the natural waist just didn’t suit me.  And I love wide, floppy trousers!!  So I wore them around the house for the first year, last winter I didn’t wear them at all, and this winter I decided I’d put them in the adjust or remake pile.  I had 6 pairs of wool trousers to make two sizes smaller before I got to these, and at that point I had no ideas of how to make these better.

Then, last weekend, when I was clearing the piles to make way for a visitor, I had a brainwave after dropping a piece of fabric.  It was the toile for Burda trousers 107 08/2019.  I’d traced the 44 – after making the 42 in the last pair of Burda trousers and finding them to be just a little on the small side!  But the toile for these was way too big!  So I needed to go down a size, definitely, and shorten the leg by 3-4cm to get the finished cuff to sit in the right place (to look the same as the model in the magazine).  The adjustments to the pattern were already made & I thought I had the right fabric to make a proper pair.

But – I was sort of reluctant to cut that fabric – see previous post!  The pattern can be made in fabrics with or without stretch, and the one in the magazine is made in ponte (that’s a good idea for next time!)  Back to that brainwave – could there be enough fabric in the Strides to be able to recut this pattern??  So I got cracking with the seam ripper, carefully unpicking all the seams, taking off the waistband and removing the zip.  After a good press to flatten the hems and seam allowances, I pinned the two fronts and two backs together, making sure the plaid was lining up too.  Then I took a deep breath and tried to get the new pattern pieces onto the existing trouser pieces.

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Burda trousers 107 08/2019

The back fitted perfectly, the front needed the grown-on zip facing to be removed, so I cut that as a seperate piece and attached it later.  Pockets and facings were going to be tricky, but, here’s the good part.  I had saved all the left-over bits of fabric from the original cutting out in the wool box!  Woohoo for scrap-stashing!  So, hip yoke pockets, waistbands, cuffs and the fly facing were cut from the left-overs, and a scrap of lining sorted the pocket bags.  I also managed to line up the plaid, high five!  I reused the zip and found a good button in the button box, I bought nothing to make these new trousers.

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Hip yoke pockets are lined with a scrap of lining fabric.

The making went well, instructions didn’t need much altering.  I usually insert the fly zip immediately after making the pockets up, it’s so much better to do without all the extra legs in the way.  The other thing I changed was to sew the pleats in the trouser cuffs first.  Darts and pleats first, whether at the waistline or at the hem!  I just knew that if I left it to the end when the instructions finally have you do them, I’d have lost more than half of the tailor’s tacks, and as both the leg seams are sewn up, you have more fabric hanging around than you’d really want.

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Centre back seam in the waistband to help with alterations (if required) later on

I rather like these!  I’m keen to make a pair in ponte now, I think they’d be so comfy.  They’re admittedly a little loose on the waist still, but I have a secret trick to fix that quickly.  I don’t cut back waistbands on the fold, I add a centre back seam.  Then, when sewing the crotch seam, I leave the last 15cm of the back open.  Then the waistbands are added, in halves (one front and one back).  Add the waistband facings, press, understitch, etc and then sew that back seam, all in one go!  This means that if you need to take in, or let out, the back seam, there’s very little to have to unpick, and it’s so, so easy to adjust!!  Men’s trousers are sewn this way, so why not ours??

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Anyway, I’m off to enjoy wearing this gorgeous fabric now, and I might have to find a good colour ponte for another pair, some secret tracksuit pants!

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Apologies for not noticing when taking the photos that the camera had decided that the teak chest of drawers was far more interesting to focus on than my trousers!!