Work in Progress Wednesday 3/20

Here we are again!  I’m still working on my coat, taking to heart the idea of sewing slower this year!  I cut it all out on the weekend and spent considerable hours fusing all the interfacing onto the relevant areas and tailor tacking the pattern markings so I was ready to sew.  Tuesday was to be a sewing day!  In the end, I only started just before lunchtime, but as I kept going until 8pm, I recon I still managed to get a full day of sewing in!

When I tailor tack pattern pieces, I also pin pieces together and pin darts to make a pile of stuff that can go straight to the sewing machine, so I had front and back bodice darts, sleeve tabs and hood pieces all pinned together ready to start.  The darts were cut up the centre and pressed open, with the flappy bits stitched down with herringbone stitch to stop them flapping about!

Front darts pressed open and stitched down

Once darts were sewn, the yokes were attached and the topstitching done.  Then I made the sleeve tabs, sewed the inner and outer hood and made up the front band.  After that, I couldn’t put off the pockets and their new opening detail any longer!

Welt pockets with a twist

New detail??  Well, I’m not overly keen on zip-opening pockets.  I know they’re very practical, and they add a “sporty” touch to a garment, but zips are sharp and scratchy and my hands don’t like them very much.  So I decided I’d use a detail from the pocket of my Seasalt raincoat.  The pocket shape is actually very similar.  They have two welts, one narrower than the other, and they overlap.  The detail is suposed to mean water doesn’t get into your pocket, and having had worn the coat in the wet, I can say that’s true.  So I copied that detail.  I’ll do a seperate tutorial on the pocket in another post.

Pockets basted, then topstitched into place

I tacked and basted a lot with the pocket, if you don’t want things moving, and pins aren’t helpful, basting is the only way to go!  Gathering the curved corners of the pockets wasn’t tricky, and makes for a nice smooth curve.  I chose to use ordinary thread for the topstitching, possibly next time I’d use something a little thicker, I’m thinking that Denim thread though, rather than the proper topstitching stuff that my machine doesn’t like.  I’m not unhappy with the finish, but it does disappear into the fabric a bit.

Front interfacing with chest piece

I thought I’d show you the insides where I put the interfacing.  I use Gill Arnold’s weft interfacing on the outer pieces for structure.  I fused the yokes fully and cut a funny shaped piece for the back that continued the line and scooped under the armhole to support it.  The front got similar treatment, except that  instead of just going into the yoke interfacing line, the interfacing scoops up and over the bust area and down the front to support and reinforce that area.  I extended that line of interfacing down the front skirt.  Sleeve heads get interface too, I measure approx 10 cm down from the top point in the sleeve head and draw a curve into the lower part of the armhole from there, always better not to have straight lines here.

Sleeve interfacing

All the hems are supported too.  As this coat has 4cm hems, I cut 6cm wide bias strips of the weft insertion and fused onto the hemline, 3cm from the edge of the fabric.  This means that when the hem is turned up, 1cm of the inner hem has interfacing on it, supporting the fold, the rest extends up the outer fabric and protrudes 1cm above the hem edge.  This is what I will stitch into when I hand stitch the hem in place, not the fabric.

The facings and sleeve tabs, front band, inner hood front edge, and the opening for the pockets were fused with Gill’s fine sheer interfacing.  Those edges still need support, but not as much as the outer fabric, and to cut down on bulk it’s better to use a finer, lighter interfacing.

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Bias cut chest piece

For the fronts, I add a canvas chest piece that helps to minimise the appearance of the hollow in the chest below the shoulders.  It’s a curved piece of non-fusible canvas, cut on the bias, fused to a piece of weft insertion interfacing, also cut on the bias.  I remembered I have photos and a post showing this same step, but with white interfacing, from 2012!!  On each side at the top ( shoulder edge), cut out a section 3cm down, this is to enable you to keep the canvas out of the seam area while you sew front to back

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Shoulder seam pinned, chest piece pinned out of the way

Then the shoulder seam is pressed open and the canvas allowed back, turn the coat to the right side, and, supporting the body pieces, allow the coat to hand over your hand, simulating the shoulder.  Pin the canvas in place through the back shoulder seam allowance, close to the seam.

 

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Pin close to seam

Turn to the inside and pin again through the seam and the canvas, then remove the pins on the outside and stitch the cavas to the back seam allowance close to the original shoulder seam line.

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Pin through layers on the inside
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Canvas chest piece stitched to back shoulder seam

This make such a difference to how your jacket or coat looks, with a decent felt shoulder pad.  This is as far as I’ve got for now, tomorrow I’ll get the hood on, sew the side seams and insert the sleeves.  Then it will be time to cut the lining!

Mustard gold viscose twill lining

I ordered 2m of Mustard Gold interfacing from The Lining Company to grace the inside of my gorgeous coat yesterday, and it arrived this afternoon.  It’s beautiful, the colour like gold, so perfect for the grey!!  If I cannot find a lining “in real life” for a project, chances are pretty high that I’ll find one from The Lining Company.  They have so many different types, and the colours….  I love that they send out 5 free samples, of a decent size, all properly labelled for proper decision making.  And they’re fast…  I just use their standard first class postal service, it arrives the next day anyway!!  (no selling fee here, just my personal recommendation).

Work in Progress Wednesday 2/20

Well, here we go with all the coats and jackets!  I traced 5 jackets and coats over the weekend, so I’d have no more excuses to get started, because a toile doesn’t take long to make, given it needs no interfacing and hours of pressing.  They just need suitable fabrics, something sturdy and with a bit of body and weight – you can’t successfully toile a coat using an old cotton duvet cover!

On the cutting table are the following patterns:

I have the main fabric for all of these patterns, and lining for the two Burdas.  The Sienna Jacket and Grace coat are unlined, but I think I might be binding seams on at least one of them, just to make it interesting on the inside.  I also have lining for the Tosti, but am thinking of padding that out by quilting it to a thin layer of interlining, for warmth.  As I’m still thinking about that, I haven’t gone ahead and bought the interlining yet, nor do I have any zips or snaps or anything else to make that pattern!

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Pepernoot Coat from Waffle Patterns

I decided to start with the Pepernoot Coat because I love the big hood, raised waistline and flared skirt, not to mention those fabulous pockets!  Now, I’m the sort who, once a pattern and fabric is decided upon, will put my head down and go, go, go, until it’s finished.  But.  I wanted to slow down this year, take a more considered approach.  Even if it does mean I’m still making coats in the Spring and possibly early summer…

So, I have the most gorgeous, soft, grey cashmere for the Pepernoot, bought 3-4 years ago from Truro Fabrics in Cornwall.  Everytime we’re in Cornwall, a stop at Truro fabrics is mandatory.  There’s always at lease one piece of fabric that has to come home with me! 😀  But, I didn’t really think much about the lining I’d chose.  So I don’t have any, and am trying to find the right colour.  I don’t want grey, black, silver or anything dull.

I figured a day in Birmingham going round the big stores would solve my problem, so I headed off yesterday to visit Daughter No2 and buy lining.  Except that I came home with no lining!  The colours were all wrong, and most of the fabric quality was not what I wanted either, I really didn’t want a polyester lining in my cashmere coat!  (snobby much?? ;))  However, in Fancy Silk stores, we spotted a very pretty jade green Chinese brocade with white and silver cherry brances and blossoms that made me think, a lovely rich green would be nice!  But not that stuff, it was silk (sigh) 90cm wide and £22/m.  Too rich for my little wallet, I’m afraid.

So I turned to The Lining Company instead and have ordered 5 samples of their lovely viscose twill linings, 3 shades of green, one gold/mustard and one copper.  Grey and mustard is lovely, but I couldn’t shake the green idea, so we’ll see what they all look like once the samples have arrived.  I did manage to get the separating zipper yesterday, so I feel I could get started with the shell in the meantime.  I didn’t buy short zips for the pockets, because I have a different idea in mind, but haven’t checked that it works yet!  That’s today’s task.

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Pepernoot Coat toile. On the left (as you’re looking at the photo) is the unaltered bodice front, on the right is the one with the FBA

Along with the pocket opening treatment, I need to finish altering the pattern after performing FBA surgery on the bodice.  My current measurements for Bust and High Bust are 101 and 95cm respectively, so I opted to trace the size 44, based on a full bust of 100.  Once toiled with some lovely old smelly curtains from the charity shop, I decided I really needed more depth in the front, and only a little more width.  So my FBA was a little contrary to the usual method, I decided the length needed and the rest followed!  In the end adding 2cm on length resulted in just over 1cm of width, which has made the front lie straight, the waist seam sit parallel to the floor, and there’s a bit more room across the chest.  I’m not sure why, but the measurement across the chest, armhole to armhole, is quite narrow on this pattern, made a little better when I insert a shoulder pad.  I’m not wide in that area, but do have an upright posture and tend to hold my shoulders back quite a bit, so this seemed a little restrictive.  The FBA has allowed more rooom, but I think I’ll be altering the armhole a little.

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Toile with half adjusted and half not. Easy to see the wavy front on the left belongs to the half unaltered, the nice straight hanging front belongs to the half with the FBA.

Apart from that, I have no issues with the instructions, Yuki always has good illustrations if you’re a little stuck.  I’m going to have to put a marker on the sewing machine for the 1.2cm seam allowance.  I can move the needle over and keep the fabric on the 1cm line, but the tension can go funny if I do that, it’s not the machine’s favourite way to sew!

 

Work in Progress Wednesday 1/20

Jumping right in there with a work post, no hello, welcome to the new year, here’s my catch up and round up post, nothing!  🙂  I’ve been planning one of those, and just putting writing what I’m thinking my sewing will entail this year, but I just haven’t quite got round to finishing that post.  Never mind, here’s something I have finally got back to, the jacket I toiled last year for Daughter No1.

The pattern is jacket 107 from March 2019, the minute I saw it in the magazine I knew it would be good for the girls, and I had just the right fabric in the stash for Daughter No1.  In fact, it had been waiting for this sort of jacket for a rather long time – possibly getting on for 10 years now…  Slow, moi??

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Jacket 107 Burda March 2019

I traced and toiled the 36, the smallest size in October on the afternoon she was due home for a weekend visit, along with a number of other pattern, intending to do a mass fitting!  The jacket was met with great approval, most of it was fine, but there were going to be alterations due to the fact that she’s petite and should probably really have the size 34.

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The toile made in October

So, alterations:

  1. Sleeves 4cm too long
  2. No pockets…!!!
  3. Shoulder length too long, and
  4. Sleevehead not fitting where it should.
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Line indicating where the armhole should be. I know, it’s a little feint…
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We demand pocketsess!

No massive jobs there, but I found other projects that were more interesting than altering a pattern and got a bit distracted!  If you follow Stephanie at Sea Of Teal, you’ll know that she’s running #SewYourWardrobeBasics this year (more info in another post).  No fancy sews, just those things you really need in a me-made wardrobe that can get overlooked by pretty, flouncy stuff.  This month’s theme is denim, and it was the push I needed to get another pair of jeans made (post still in the works).  But as we’re only halfway through the month, I thought, what else can I make using denim?  That’s when I remembered the jacket.  It’s time.

Today’s task was to do the alterations and get started on a new toile, I want to make sure the fit is right before cutting my denim.  First was to shorten the sleeves, which was quick and easy, just remember when you do this alteration to true the seamlines afterwards.  When adjusting a pattern, I always note the original stitching line, and any ajdustments I do, ie. how far I moved a line, the direction I moved it in, and the date I did the deed.  It helps when you come back to it later.

For the shoulder adjustment, I had to cut the yoke at the shoulder line (it has a dropped front shoulder line) and then do the rest.  I made the adjustment in the centre of the shoulderline and slid the outer section in 1.5cm.  Then I trued up the armhole seamline and raised the underarm by 0.5cm.  I walked the sleeve head along the new armhole lines just to make sure it all still fitted ok, and we seem to be in business.

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Armhole and shoulder adjusted, with notes on how far I went and the date

Next up, pockets.  You do need pockets in a jacket, especially one that’s pretending to be a posh biker jacket.  I’d marked with pins on the toile where she wanted the pocket to be, and how wide the opening was, just needed to work out the pocket bag size.  Simply put, the pockets need to fit a hand (possibly with gloves on) and a phone.  She’d also decreed a welt flap at the opening would look nice, so I now have those pieces all drawn and ready to go.

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The shape and size drawn onto the pinned together front pieces. I was careful to avoid the hem stitching area!
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New pattern pieces, pocket bags and a welt.

Now I need to toile and wait until we see her again to check the fit – unless I just post it to her and we do fitting from a distance!  Thank goodness for the internet!

 

 

Work in Progress Wednesday 9/19

Phew, another week has flown by and I actually have another work in progress for you! To be fair, I’ve managed to complete that work in pogress by now, but I thought I’d share some of the making process, just for interest sake. The work in question is a pair of True Bias Lander Pants. Or Lander Pant, as they’re described. Now I don’t know about you, but this term gets me, it’s like referring to scissors in the singular. It’s a pair of scissors, and a pair of pants/trousers/shorts! If you only had a pant, you’d be arrested for indecent exposure! And you’d be cold…

Anyway, that’s just me – I think. So, I had bought this pattern about this time last year, intending to make a pair for myself, and for Daughter No1, who wanted a pair of pants that really fitted closely to the hip, then almost flared out, culotte-like, to a cropped 7/8ths length. Finally tracing the pattern on holiday in September, I thought I’d start the experiment with a pair for myself, as you do! I traced the 0 for Daughter No1, and the 12 and 14 for me, not being 100% certain which would be better. Upon toiling and double checking measurements, I decided to go with the 12, because there’s a massive 2.5cm seam on the outside leg for adjustments. The hip measurement of the 12 is 2cm wider than my actual measurement, but the waist is a fair bit narrower, so I wanted wiggle room!

The toile showed me the straight 12 would be fine, even the length was good! That’s a small miracle in itself – I was fully prepared to remove up to 4cm. In hindsight, and this would have showed up if I’d used a stiffer fabric for the toile, I should have shortened the crotch depth by 1cm and possibly gone down a size at the inner leg seam. I’ve made those adjustments on the pattern for the next time.

Now, the instructions… Hmm. I bought the zip version (you need the original version before this will work…) because I knew I wouldn’t do the button fly, and it’s not Daughter No1’s bag either. So there are duplicate instructions for most of the making, and you have to slot the zip instructions into the order of work, which is fine. But I have never seen front fly instructions like it. They’re almost as weird as the ones for the Peppermint wide Leg pants! I have no idea why some pattern makers make inserting a fly zip so complicated when it’s really not necessary.

The other thing I have a real problem with are the Imperial measurements used throughout. There are people in this world who have no idea what 1/4 of an inch is, how big it is and what it looks like, nevermind having something on a machine to measure that. So the first thing I did was to convert all the bits of inches throughout the instructions to metric. Seam allowances are 1/2 inch, which in metric is 12.7mm. I do not have that marking on my machine, or my rulers. So I had to borrow a quilter’s gadget from a friend with all those little bit of inch markings on it to use for turning up edges and marking topstitching distances. This all takes time and delayed the completion of the project. Please, pattern makers, please just be more inclusive and include more universally recognised measurements!

I also reversed all the zip instructions, because, just like the Ash Jeans I made last week, the zip opens the wrong way. Luckily, while doing that, I was able to alter the other zip instructions so they were less complicated and wouldn’t have the “you won’t be able to get all the way so there’ll be a hole, but that’s ok” moment. So, the work in progress post will go over the revised zip instructions! Phew, let’s get started.

Number one, don’t sew the front and back legs together at the inside leg seam, nor do you want to sew the entire front crotch seam from the zip stop to the upper centre back before you’ve put the zipper in, trust me. It’s a fiddly job at the best of times, especially if you have a stiff fabric, so there’s no way you want to be wrestling with all that excess fabric when it’s completely unnecessary. My instructions will be for the fly as I have sewn it, on the opposite side to that in the pattern. If you like your zips opening the other way, simply reverse the lefts and rights.

Make up the pockets and do all the topstitching and then you’ll do the zip. You’ll need both front pants pieces, the fly facing, zip and fly guard. You want the front pieces to have the fly extension marked, as well as the centre front and the zip stop. Use chalk or tailor’s tacks, whatever works better for you – or both like me. I cut off the right fly extension along the marked line and then overlocked both front seams. At this point you can also overlock the fly facing and make up and overlock the fly guard.

Sew the two front pieces together from the zip stop marker to about 2cm before the end of the crotch seam, along the front seamline. Now pin and sew the fly facing, right sides together, to the right front, go right up to the zip stop. Press that seam onto the facing and understitch, stitch all the way past the zipstop to the end of the facing. Turn to the inside and press well. Pin in place. (I use a lot of pins!)

Press left fly extension to the inside

Fold the left pants piece in along the fly extension line and press well. Pin the zip with the head of the zip 19mm (3/4 inch in the instructions) from the top of the opening to the fold, keep that fold tight up against the zip teeth. Pin and BASTE. I rarely baste, but for inserting zips, this step cannot be ignored. With the zip foot, stitch up from the bottom, close to the edge of the fabric. You’ll find you cannot get past the zip head smoothly, so stop about 3cm before the top of the zip, with the needle fully down, lift the presser foot up and push the zip tab down to past your presser foot. Now put the foot down and continue to the top.

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Sew zip to left front

Line up the right centre front with the marked centre front on the left, I pin along this fold, through all the layers. You’re now going to sew the other side of the zip tape to the fly facing on the other side.

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Pin centre front lines together, but you don’t need the perpendicular pins shown on the left. The facing needs to be free

Fold the right front on top of the left so that the zip and facing are together. Pin the tape to the facing, baste and stitch, with a zip foot.

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Pin zip tape to fly facing, baste and stitch

From the right side now, measure approzimately 3.5cm from the centre front on the right. This will be the line you’ll use for your fly topstitching. Now, normally I’d wait until I had the fly guard on to do this step, but it does work this way with a thick fabric. If you attach the fly guard now, and then topstitch, you’d have to pin the guard out of the way of the stitching, which means making a lumpy bulge at the base of the zip. This would interfere with the topstitching. If you were using a linen, I’d wait and do this step after the fly guard is on because it’s a less bulky fabric..

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Mark the topstitching on the right

Pin perpendicular to the marked line so you’re catching the fly facing to the front of the trousers, you don’t want them shifting as you stitch. Now load your topstitching thread and stitch along that line, or either side of it, if you’re using two lines of stitching.

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Layers pinned together, ready to stitch

I used a denim twin needle – a little cheat, but so worth it for even, parallel lines of stitching. This is the reason why I topstitched now rather than later, because I didn’t want to mess up the curve or have extra stitching showing.

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Fly topstitching

Now, remove all the pins on the outside and turn to the left fly extension and zip tape. You’ll need to sew the fly guard to this section. Fold the trousers over eachother so the extension and zip tape stick out and pin the fly guard overlocked edge to the seam allowance, sandwiching the tape between the guard and the fly extension. Pin and stitch, using a zip foot. Pull the fabric of the trouser piece well over to the left so you can stitch as close to the fold as possible.

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Pin the guard so the zip tape is sandwiched

Now, because we have topstitched the fly facing already, you won’t be able to get all the way down, but it really is ok this time, because we will be catching the guard in in other places, so this won’t be flapping about. Just go as far as you can.

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Finshed fly.

Now, on the right side, and with a single needle and topstitching thread, stitch for about 1-2cm along one of the lines of existing stitching to catch that guard to the right front. Then you can sew the front and back pants pieces together along the inside leg seam and then sew the remains of the crotch seam. Press that seam to the right side in this case, and topstitch it down. The topstitching past the fly stitching will secure that end of the fly guard, so there you have it, no flappy guard, and a zip in without all the excess fabric and trouser legs! You can now sew the outside leg seams and finish the trousers as per the original instructions.

I hope that was all as clear as mud! Really, once the fly zip is in, the trousers are quick to make up, depending on how much topstitching you’d like to do! I wanted to have double topstitching along the waistband but didn’t want to use the twin needle because of how it would look on the inside. However, despite my Bernina being quite happy to use this new Denim thread from Gutermann in the needle, it didn’t like it very much in the bobbin. I spent ages messing aroud with the tension, thought I’d cracked it, but when the stitching was done on the waistband, it wasn’t good enough. As I really didn’t want to unpick it, I tried to make myself think it’s ok, no-one else will see it, but it didn’t work!

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Horrible, messy tension in the bobbin thread on the waistband.

So I ripped it all out (sob) and replaced the denim thread in the bobbin with normal thread and just settled for one line of topstitching. It doesn’t look wrong. The button is a leather one from the stash, I think it’s from a charity shop originally, as I only have the one.

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New single line topstitching, much neater!

So that’s that! I now need to get some proper photos of the Ash Jeans and these, and Daughter No 1 has promised me photos of a pair of trousers I made for her last month. They’re gorgeous, by the way! Can’t wait to show those off! Now, I’d best go and make dinner, someone’s getting hungry…

Work in Progress Wednesday 8/19

I’m making jeans!  I haven’t made a pair of jeans since 2016, when I made 5 pairs of Birkins!  I did some research on the current favourites, as well as patterns that have been around for a while, and, despite the fact that I already have the Ginger jeans pattern – and have yet to use it, I bought something else entirely!  I’m not that sold on the Gingers.  I traced them while on holiday in September, and the more I traced, the more I realised this was not the pattern for me.  The shapes weren’t right for me!

My choice for this year is the Ash Jeans pattern from Megan Nielsen.  I dithered a bit over the Dawn, but realised I wanted jeans with stretch, so that meant the Ash.  I like that there is a choice of 4 leg types, and a very decent size range.  I toiled the 31 – which, according to my measurements should have been just about perfect, but they were waaaay too small!  I made the slim leg, but they turned out like leggings, all over…  I actually couldn’t close the button.  So I went back to the size tables, compared the Birkin Flares and my Burda measurements and the Ash measurements to get an idea of what I should have done with this new to me pattern company.  In the end I retoiled using the 35 at the waist, going to the 32 at the leg.  That’s a big jump!  And they were a little baggy, so in the end I’ve got a 34 waistband, moving quickly to the 33 just above the hipline and merging into the 32 by the crotch level.  The only thing that’s close to my measurements is using the 34 at the waist the other sizes should technically be too big.  Here goes nothing!

I re-arranged the order of work slightly by making up all the small bits first.  I overlocked the pocket edges, pocket facings, fly pieces and belt loops, then ironed the turnings and folded over the top edges of the pockets.  Then I topstitched all the pocket edges and made up the belt loops.  Now they’re ready for use when I need them.

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All the small pieces ready for overlocking and topstitching

Next I attached the back yoke to the back leg overlocked that seam and topstitched.  Then I attached the back pockets.  This means less changing of topstitching thread.  Then I overlocked the centre back seam and the outer leg seams of the back and front pieces.  The centre back seam was next, followed by topstitching.  Now the back is ready.

Next was zip.  I reversed the zip so it would open to the left, like all my other trousers.  I guess it’s a hang-over from when jeans were exclusively menswear, but I don’t like my zip opening the “wrong” way.  I chose a green thread for topstitching, just an ordinary thread.  My Bernina will do a lot I ask of it, but it baulks at topstitiching thread, whether in the top or the bobbin.  It just doesn’t like it.  I didn’t change anything in the zipper instructions, apart from reversing the sides to sew things to.  But I did chalk on the centre front line on the left, and pinned the right CF to that line before attaching the zip tape to the right fly facing.

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Fly done, topstitching complete

Front pocket bags are cut from the back of one of hubby’s shirts.  Don’t panic, he’d managed to wear through the collar and get holes in the sleeve where the cuff joins, so it had already been relegated to the “re-use for something else” box.  I unpicked the back darts, gave it a good press and cut the shallow pocket.  I’ve used French seams for the bottom hem of the pocket, it should add strength.  Once the pockets were done and topsttitched, I overlocked the outer leg edges.

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Attaching the pocket facing and coin pocket to the pocket bag – made from a Ted Baker shirt!
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Pockets done, outside leg seams to go

Now to sew the front to back along the inner leg seams, and then overlock those seam allowances together.  At this point you’d usually press to one side and topstitch, but I’m going to skip that step on these jeans.  If I decide I really need topstitching, I figure I can get in there and topstitch afterwards as the legs are fairly wide.  It shouldn’t be that tricky…  The side seams are now sewn and the top section topstitched to keep the seam to the back.  And that’s it for today, I’m hungry!  Somewhere along the line I kinda forgot about lunch.  So tomorrow I’ll attach the belt loops & waistband and do the button and hems.  Fingers crossed it all works out!

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Pockets finished, seams done.  Where’s dinner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work in Progress Wednesday 7/19

I have been making progress with the sewing for everyone, mostly tracing patterns and toiling so far, but I have one decision made.  The trousers 115 from May Burda 2019 were pronounced the “wrong thing” for both daughters, after I’d traced and toiled the pattern, but before any of them had managed to try on the toile!  Anyway, I still like the look, so quickly “tried on” the 36 – by which I mean I put one leg in to see where the length got me – and decided to shorten the pattern in the leg by 3cm to get the hem where it hits the model, and cut what I very much hope is a wearable toile for myself!

The fabric is a piece of wool I found in a charity shop locally last year, grey with hints of pale blue in a windowpane check.  Fingers crossed now!   Based on the fact that I’m still taking in my trousers made before in size 44, I’ve taken a risk and gone for the 42 this time.  Now I really need those fingers to be crossed.

I made a certain attempt to get the checks to line up, if I really am going to be able to wear these, I’d prefer it for the stripes and checks to at least attempt to match!  The instructions were only slightly ignored – well, I didn’t ignore them, but I did re-organise them.  The darts and pleats and pockets were constructed as per instructions, but I changed the front opening details a bit.  Only because it’s tricky doing all that work with extra trouser pieces hanging around, so I left off the back pieces.  The instructions for actually constructing the button fly are dead easy, it all goes together in the absolutely right way.

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Constructing the front fly

I sewed the straight part of the back seam next, and added the back waistband. Then the front pieces got their waistbands and the out and in-seams were sewn.  Finally I finished the crotch seam and, with many fingers crossed, put my new pants on.  oooo, did I need to breath in!!!  Just goes to show when you get cocky, the sewing fairies bite back! 🙂  I might be taking my size 44 trousers in all over the pace, but with this particular style, I am not yet ready for the size 42….

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Front, back and side. Overall, not bad, but definitely too tight in the waist! Please ignore the no-smile face! 🙂

Thank heavens for that side seam sewn all in one with the waistband!  I hadn’t sewn the inner waistband down yet, so all I did was change the seam allowance to a mere 5mm on the waistband, and graded/tapered that new seamline into the original line by about 10cm below the pocket.  They’re more comfortable to put on and pin shut now, and I recon when I put them on in the morning, they’ll feel even better! Of course, the checks lined up so beautifully with the 1.5cm seam, and now things are a little off.

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Let out in the waist, they’re more comfortable to wear now!

This fabric has no movement in it, so no stretching during the day.  I think I might get away with wearing this pair, I will definitely need to trace the 44 from around 10cm below the hipline up to the waistline, and there needs to be a slight adjustment done in the back, there are some draglines under the bum that will need to be fixed for the final pair.  But these are useable…  I have buttons that are suitable, so just need to get that waistband finished off, make buttonholes and get the hem done.  But what fabric to make the final pair in?

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Choosing the colours and placement of silk strips

In other scrapbusting and stashbusting news, I have finally done something useful with a bit of cross-stitch embroidery I did, around 2 years ago.  I’d wanted to do something with it, but wasn’t sure what, or how.  I didn’t fancy a picture, mounted and framed.  Last week I had a brainwave – raid the silks box for brightly coloured bits of dupion silk and make a patchwork of sorts.  Then make it into a cushion cover.  I started by deciding how big the final embroidery piece would be, then worked out the strips of different colours based on the overall size of the cushion.  I wanted asymmetry with the piece, but not massivly so.  So the strips of silk on the left are slightly wider than the one of the right, and the strips on the top are deeper than that on the bottom.  I love the combination of silks, they pick out the colours of the blue tits and blossoms really well.  It’ll be going to Daughter No2 to brighten up her living room.

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The finished silk cushion. Do I really need to give it away??

Work in Progress Wednesday 5/19

More sewing getting done!  Must be the weather, April showers have arrived just on time! 😀 I have moved indoors this week due to a couple of rainy days chasing me off the allotments.  I have less than 2 weeks to go before we’re off to South Africa, so there’s a lot to do, both sewing wise and gardening.  As I knew the bad weather was on the way, I cut out 5 projects on Monday afternoon/evening and started the sewing on Tuesday (yesterday).  But I’m not going to show you what I made yesterday just yet.  Today I made a Kabuti Tee in viscose, and started on a dungaree dress for Daughter No2, which I spoke about in my last WIPW.

The Kabuki Tee is one of those boxy, loose fitting tops that looks so completely different in a drapy fabric.  It’ll be lovely and cool to wear in the summer.  It’s a pretty simple pattern, the only tricky thing is getting those sharp corners sharp!   I always pop a bit on interfacing on the fabric that I’m snipping in cases like this, just to reinforce the fabric and support that snip and spread.  It definitely helped with this viscose!

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Supporting the fabric for the corners

Next up was the dungaree dress.  This is one item that Daughter No2 is rather keen to have in her suitcase for the holiday, so I HAVE to finish it!!  The fabric is stretch cotton twill from Fabworks Online, chosen by Daughter No2 herself.  It’s a lovely, cheerful green, perfect for spring and summer!  The pattern is 115 from April Burdastyle magazine 2017.   It’s also not a tricky pattern just has a few pieces to get together.

I started with the front bib and pocket and added the loops for the d-rings.  The front and back bib pieces are all done now, and I’m ready to get the waistband bits on and start on the skirt and pockets.  I hope it’ll all be done by lunchtime tomorrow, when I need to get to the allotment to plant my Mother’s Day present, a Bramley Apple tree!  Can’t wait to make apple pie with my own home-grown apples!

 

Work in Progress Wednesday 4/19

A blog post!  Finally!  You guys have probably been wondering what on earth happened, radio silence for ages now!  Well, I’ve had my head down making kid’s clothes for a friend, and to help me to clear out those stash boxes of left over fabrics, and the weather lured me out of doors!  We had such beautiful, unseasonally hot weather at the end of February that I just couldn’t resist the siren call of the allotment!

It was luck that I hadn’t, to be honest, because now, at the beginning of March, I’m ready to sow seeds and plant stuff.  Even if the weather has reverted to it’s usual windy, rainy self.  So, now that the inclement weather is back, I’m back in the sewing room!  Last week I had a proper sewing day and made 7 Rowan Tees by Misusu Patterns!  It’s a free pattern for kids.  I traced the sizes from the 98 or 3 year old, up to the 7 year old & raided my stash of leftover ponte, double jersey and quilted jersey.  I made 3 of the smallest size, and randomly chose fabric and other sizes so I’d have enough for growing into, as well as fitting the older kid.  Those were all the remains of the fabric after making Toaster Sweaters, Talvikki Sweaters and the LB Pullover.  I’m very happy with my little pile, and will be distributing them amongst 3 kids.

 

 

 

But back on the sewing for normal humans – grown ups!  I suddenly realised that daughter no 2 would be home this weekend for the week – reading week at uni, and I’d promised a bunch of toiles ready for fitting!  Some patterns were ready to toile, others still needed to be traced – oops!  So I’ve made a start with a pair of shorts, and today cut the toile for a dungaree dress, 115 from Burdastyle April 2017, and traced and cut the toile for the blouse, 111 from February 2018.

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Dungaree dress 115
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Blouse 111

I also cut a top for my mum from her favourite Burda pattern (the fifth one this year!) and decided to experiment with viscose and the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory.  I toiled that pattern in February in the size 18, but decided I could afford to size down one.  So, we’ll see if it works in viscose!  I’ve seen plenty of cotton, nani iro, double gauze and linen versions, but ot viscose.  Fingers crossed…  By the way, has anyone seen the announcement that Tara is releasing a new pattern – a jumpsuit – either this week or next?  I’m waiting with baited breath for this one, I really like the look of it when she made a version last summer.  Let’s just say I’m on tenterhooks, waiting to pounce and hit that “pay now with PayPal” button as soon as it’s live! *edit* it’s live!  Here’s the link if you’re remotely interested…

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Fifth version of Mum’s favourite top pattern to be made this year.
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Kabuki Tee in viscose. Mad or inspired?

It’s due to rain tomorrow, so instead of getting really, really muddy, I’ll stay indoors and start sewing those toiles!  I already have the fabric for the Burda patterns, so if I get those made up next week after fitting, it’ll be a good stash bust.  I also found the #sewbibs hashtag on Instagram this week, a good push to make that dungaree dress, and possibly to finally trace and toile the Burnside Bibs for myself??  I already have the fabric for those too…  It would tie in nicely with the other hashtag, #sewthatpatternnow.  And of course, #makeyourstash.  But I’ve been doing that one for a while now, and I’m only making very slow inroads into the stash boxes!  Mostly because I keep hoarding the leftovers!  Send help…

 

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My first daffodil! Well, Narcissus, really. So pretty!

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I’ll leave you with a picture of the Narcissus blooming on my allotment last week, before Storm Freya hit and flattened them, so I cut them and brought them indoors.  My first harvest from the cutting garden this year!

Work in Progress Wednesday 3/19

I’ve got a little something different for you all today.  No clothes…  Well, not for people, at any rate.  Interested??  I’ve been sewing for toys.  But not just any toys.  I’ve been bitten by the Luna Lapin bug.  I bet half of you haven’t the faintest idea what I’m talking about – right?  Well, Luna Lapin is the creation of Sarah Peel from Cool Crafting.  She’s a little rabbit made from felt, with a wardrobe and a bunch of friends, all of which can me made by buying the books, or the kits from her website.  I’d seen images on Instagram for a while and Sew Manju made the prettiest little coats for her rabbits.  I knew there and then I needed to make my own, but not necessarily for me.

I know of a little girl and boy in New Zealand who would love a pair of rabbits to play with, so I’m starting with one for each of them, with a nice wardrobe of clothes to go with them.  I’m also going to make a rabbit for my grand-nephew.  Yeah, I have one of those!

I started by tracing all the patterns from the book (for now I just have the original Luna Lapin book), then I made the T-shirt dress and the little shirt from left over scraps of fabric.  This is the other reason to make the rabbit and wardrobe – to use up those bits of fabric that are too small for kid’s clothes, but perfect for bunny clothes!  But I still needed to make a bunny.  I didn’t want to be spending any money on this exercise, so that meant no fancy wool felt.  But I did have a merino wool jumper that didn’t fit, perfect for felting!  I tossed it into the washing machine & let it do its thing.  It hasn’t felted as much as I though but would but it will do.

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Silver embroidered linen footpads!
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The little rabbit head, and those devine ears!

It’s a nice grey wool, and instead of floral fabric for the feet and ears, I cut some silver embroidered linen.  I like the effect with the wool.  I decided, as it hadn’t felted as much as I’d have liked, not to have the seams exposed, so sewed everything on the machine, using 5mm seam allowances where marked, and 3mm everywhere else where the oversewn areas would have been.  It was fairly easy to do, because the wool stretches easily.  So the legs were sewn up and then I folded them down in half to stuff them.  The only problem when stuffing something that stretches, is that it stretches!  So it can’t be overstuffed, I’d have had a very fat rabbit!

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Rolling the leg down like a sock to get the stuffing in!
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Sewing the head to the body
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Don’t worry people, this rabbit’s ‘armless… 😉

The sewing process was simple, the book is clear with good diagrams, so no getting lost or confused.  I’m so chuffed with how my rabbit turned out, I’ve decided it’s a boy rabbit, and have called him Bay.  But he needed a friend, a sister.  In the stash of toile fabrics, is the left overs of some wool I’d got from the charity shop, and felted in the machine.  I had thought I could use it for coats, but it didn’t turn out right.  That’s why it’s in the toile stash.  It’s pink, but I don’t see why we can’t have a pink rabbit, can you?

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Rosebut footpads and a pink wool body
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The head and ears are much firmer this time round

This time I’ve used a cute rosebud print cotton for the ears and footpads, it has relevance – this rabbit’s name is Rose.  But she’s not as easy to sew.  Again, I didn’t want exposed seams, but this fabric has no stretch, is stiff and thick, and doesn’t like turning!  I managed to stitch the bottom part of the seams on the feet and attach the footpad on the machine, then I turned that through to the right side.  Once stuffed it gave me something to hold.  From then on, I needed to handstitch the leg seams, 5cm at a time, stuffing as I sewed.  It took time…  The head is much better on this bunny though, because the fabric was firmer.  The ears stand up better too.

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The grey bunny in a dress, but it didn’t look right.
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Now we’re talking! What a snazzy Liberty shirt! And the grey bunny said he was a boy bunny, so I called him Bay.

Once the legs were done, the rest was quick, the body shaped up well and the head was attached firmly and securely.  All I still have left to do is the arms, which I’ll have to do in the same way as the legs – yay! 😉  I have raided my stash boxes for suitable scraps to make more clothes for my bunnies, and I have an idea to make another in denim – but we’ll have to see.  Given how this wool sewed up, I think I’d have to have the seams exposed.  So maybe I’ll just make another in the grey wool.  In the mean time, I have bunny clothes to make!  They’re so cute!!

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Rose’s turn to be ‘armless, she’ll get her arms and eyes tomorrow, after my eyes and fingers have recovered from today’s work!

Work in Progress Wednesday

It seems I’ve been posting more of these “in progress” posts this month than showing the finished items!  I must get some photos this weekend, if it’s not too rainy.  So, what am I making today?  Well, I decided on the spur of the moment last night to use a piece of wool that a friend had found in a charity shop and gave me last month.  It’s navy blue suiting with a pinstripe and herringbone weave.  It was about 1.2m in length, so was never going to be a full length pair of trousers.  That made it easy to pick a pattern, I could use my favourite cropped pattern that I’ve used 5/6 times, or a newer one, used just twice so far.

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Everything cut out and tailortacked, ready to sew.

I picked 120 from July Burda 2018.  I have made it earlier this year, in the summer, using a linen and cupro blend.  Definitely time to make another.  I got pretty much all of the pieces onto the wool, except for the pocket lining piece.  I was slightly tempted to add the ruffley thingie on the pocket opening, but there just wasn’t the space to cut the bias piece.  Actually, it was just as well, it would only get in the way of my shirts and no-one would ever see it anyway.  I cut the pocket lining from a piece of scrap cotton print in the stash.

I cut the 44 but had graded it before from the hip to the waist to the 46.  The leg has been shortened by 4cm, this was a good length in the previous pair.  I started by tailortacking and then overlocking all the pieces.  In order to make my sewing time really productive, I pinned the darts, pocket linings to the openings, and pinned the lower front and back trouser pieces to the main pieces.  These were then all sewed up.

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Overlocking

Pockets were sewn and everything well pressed, then the front and back centre seams were sewn to just above the crotch curve.  The waistband needs to go on before the zip can go in, so that was interfaced and the front and back pieces attached to the trousers.  I didn’t have a dark navy invisible zip in the stash, but the brighter blue one I chose will do just fine.  The waistbands lined up rather well, usually I need to unpick at least once to make the seamlines line up better.

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All pinned so I can sew as much as possible in one go!

 

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Invisible zip time! Thankfully invisible zips are mostly hidden, so I can use a more zingy colour…

Next to do was all the side seams, making sure the perpendicular seamlines lined up nice and neatly.  On the whole, it worked out rather well!  I decided to handstitch the hems insead of machine them because I was using thread from the stash and they didn’t necessarily match the colour of the wool all that well.  I then decided I’d handstitch the waistband on the inside too.

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Seams lined up properly the first time! Not always the case…

I finished the trousers by 3pm, having started cutting out at around 9:30 and taking an hour break for lunch.  So I’m chuffed with that, I have a new pair of trousers in the cupboard and one less piece of fabric in the stash!  I’ve also used the remains of three reels of blue thread and taken another zip out of the zip box.  Eventually I’ll get all these “stashes” down to more acceptable levels!