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.

ash slim 1
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!!

ash slim 4
I like the fit, but they do get a little loose as the day goes on!
wp-15807534902741163592542968428398.jpg
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.

wp-15807534764785771995765627776540.jpg
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…

wp-15807541648102626079552830118010.jpg
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.

ash slim 3

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??

ash slim 2
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!

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.

DSC_0086_1
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

DSC_0089
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.

 

DSC_0092
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.

DSC_0094
Pin through layers on the inside
DSC_0095
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!

waffle patterns pepernoot coat
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.

wp-15796976276162947737198498518077.jpg
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.

wp-15796976269306699031802940553493.jpg
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!

 

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!

 

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??

1170x1470_bs_2019_03_107_front
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.

wp-15791034756617052957416602866217.png
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.
wp-15791035017484107291387420127922.jpg
Line indicating where the armhole should be. I know, it’s a little feint…
wp-1579103515996895058938888407411.jpg
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.

wp-15791035695675120331712099707237.jpg
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.

wp-15791035419436438355743749348191.jpg
The shape and size drawn onto the pinned together front pieces. I was careful to avoid the hem stitching area!
wp-1579103554062856897396125298985.jpg
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!

 

 

What did I do?

xmas zadie 3

I made an outfit almost exclusively for one or two days wear.  A bit of a waste?  Well…  Hopefully not!  I’ve seen people making Christmas and Birthday dresses on Instagram for ages now, and I never really saw the appeal.  Sure, I might wear something recently made on the day, but it wouldn’t have been made specifically with that purpose in mind.  So why did I do it?  I had just over a metre of sparkly sequin fabric leftover from a 1920s dress I made for a friend a few years ago.  And every time I looked in the special fabrics box for other things, this sparkly sequin fabric said “Hi!”.  And I love a bit of sparkle.

xmas zadie 7

So I hatched a plan – use the sequin fabric for the top part of something, and go plain on the rest.  I cannot see myself wearing a fully sequined getup anywhere!  I just don’t lead that sort of lifestyle.  I had in my mind a jumpsuit, and the Zadie fit the bill rather nicely.  I wouldn’t need to try to hem or face edges, and the leg part of the jumpsuit is nice a wide, so a flowy fabric would work perfectly.  I took a leap of faith and ordered 2m of black crepe from Croft Mill Fabrics and stashed the lot until I had the time to think about working with sequins again.

xmas zadie 8

Of course, when not planning things out properly, something is always going to go awry.  The leftover sequin fabric was’t nice and neat, and the pieces for the Zadie top are big, especially the crossover front.  I just couldn’t get the front, back and sleeves onto the remaining shape of the sequins, so the back had to go.  Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, from the back you’ll still see sequinned sleeves, and it might be more comfortable to wear as a plain fabric.

But that meant I needed space on the 2m of 150 wide crepe for two lengthened (by 10cm), wide trouser legs, one (the front) with a crossover extension.  And the pocket bag, tie belt and bias strips, and the bodice back.  It just didn’t all fit on, so I decided to forgo self bias for shop-bought black satin bias, and to echo that, and bring in a bit of texture contrast, to cut the pocket bags from some leftover black crepe-backed satin.  A bit of tuxedo vibe, if you like.  To line the sequin front bodice pieces I dived back into the special fabrics box and found another leftover piece of fabric, this time a lightweight piece of dark grey satin that worked perfectly under the sequin fabric.  The sleeves are unlined and would be finished with black bias instead of being hemmed.

xmas zadie 5

With everything cutout and marked up, I then proceeded to have endless fun flicking sequins around the sewing room.  They had to be removed from the dart area on the bodice front (FBA) and in all the seam allowances.  To be fair, I tried not flicking the sqwuins too far, I needed to keep some for reinstating along the seam edges to fill the gaps.  However, two weeks later, I’m still finding the little sparkly buggers under and behind things, and nestled in the pile of the carpet.

xmas zadie 9

I used a narrow zigzag to sew the seams of the sequin fabric as the mesh has some stretch, then the seam allowances were zigzagged together and pressed – carefully- to the back.  I herringbone stitched the seam allowance onto the back bodice so it wouldn’t be flapping around.  The grey satin lining was attached to the front sequin pieces after the darts were sewn and the two treated as one.  The sequins did end up making the pleats on the waistline a bit bulky, but I really couldn’t have removed any of them.

I overlocked the crepe trouser pieces and satin pocket bags before starting to sew, and French seamed the bottom seam of the pockets.  As always, the Zadie goes together really easily, it’s just choice of fabric that might take time…  I took this project a little slower than normal, I had no intention of trying to use a seam ripper on a mesh seam!  I used just under 2 rolls of black satin biasbinding, I like the definitive edge it gives to the front, and the sleeve edges.  On trying the jumpsuit on to check the hem length, however, I realised it was the right length as it was!  Damn, should have lengthened the legs by 12cm!  But that would have given me other issues with getting the pieces on the fabric.  Anyway, it wasn’t a disaster, I just used the bias binding as hem facing, sewing it on the bottom edge with 5mm seam and turning it in to make the proper hem.  It’s worked ok, and the length is now right.

xmas zadie 6

And now I have a very sparkly outfit, fit for Christmas, birthdays, New Year and just about any wedding (evenings only) we might get invited to for the next few years!!  I’m glad I only needed to buy the crepe and bias binding, and that the sequined fabric now has a use, rather than sitting in the stash.

xmas zadie 2
Merry Christmas!!

 

La Dee Da

I have another dress in my winter wardrobe!  I finally got round to making my second Assembly Line V-Neck Dress, in that lovely rusty windowpane wool I bought at the end of the summer.  This takes my winter dress total to 3!  Woohoo!

I made a couple of adjustments to the pattern this time.  I stayed with the size I made the first time, the large, which fits well enough and I like the feel.  The first change made was to narrow the shoulders.  I took the shoulder line in by 1cm and gradually shaped the armhole line back to the original line by about halfway down.  The fit across the shoulder is much better now, so that’s an alteration that’s staying.

The Assembly Line V-Neck Dress

Now, the first dress I made with this pattern, fabulous as it is, has a small problem.  Although other people have told me over and over again that it’s fine, I still feel akward abaout it.  It’s the depth of the V.  I keep pulling the dress back so the v isn’t so low, or, now that it’s chilly, I wear a jersey vest top underneath.  This just keeps me from feeling that it’s too low and I’m showing a little too much.

The new neckline is perfect!

Sooo, I decided this time to lift the V by 5cm.  I traced the existing neckline, and taped paper to the front to extend the centre front line up by the 5cm.  Then I just taped the traced line so that that front point lined up and tilted the new line until it lined up with the existing line at around the shoulder point.  A bit of truing to make the line nice and smooth and it was all done.  Then I traced that and made a new facing.  I’m much happier with this new line and height of the V, it still has the shape intended, but leaves me feeling more comfortable wearing it.

Now for the fabric!  I bought it from a little shop in Kenilworth, Karen Delahunty Sewing & Knitting Centre.  It’s a lovely, soft, draping wool, and is very comfortable to wear.  I am glad I’d bought 3m originally, because with the shapes and length of the dress pieces – and trying to line up the pattern, you need almost all of that!  There’s very little left.  As it was keen to fray, I overlocked everything before starting to sew.  Now, as for the instructions, they’re dead easy to follow, plenty of images for those who prefer pictures to words!  You end up with a very neat inseam pocket too, which is always nice.

So, I’m happy with my new dress, I just need to figure out a good colour of tights to wear with it.  Initially I thought grey would be good, but now, seeing these photos with the black tights, I’m thinking navy….  And I need better shoes!

Scrapbusting Projects

I had a nice big collection of leftover pieces of denim from this year’s denim projects, and some I’d kept after making my Birkins.  I had an idea to make something from the proper scraps as well as the larger pieces that weren’t big enough for something on their own.  I started with all the really small pieces, thinking if I just sewed them all together to make a “piece of fabric”, then I could make something out of that.

DSC_0088_1

I made piles of the different colours and weights and literally just grabbed a piece, tried to see if there was another that I could fit the shape into and topstitched them together.  I used a combination of the demin thread and ordinary navy thread to give some contrast, and some stitches were just zig-zag, others were from the decorative stitches on the Bernina, which aren’t anything like the fancy stitches you get on a modern machine!

DSC_0087_1

I mixed up the colours a bit, and tried not to get too caught up in making sure the fabrics were equidistant from each other.  I tried not to think too hard about it, just get sewn up, otherwise it starts to look “planned” and I wanted to try for an organic look.  That’s something that’s not easy for me!  Eventually I figured I had the right length of “fabric”, although now I think maybe I could have made it a little deeper.

But for now, I sewed the short ends together to make a tube, but without doing it the normal way, with a seam allowance.  I simply laid the ends over each other and topstitched with a few rows of fancy stitch.  Next I sewed the bottom closed, with the seam allowance on the outside.  The allowance was pressed open and I decided a width of around 10cm would be good.  I marked the sides, which would eventually be the middle of the 10cm wide side “panels” and lined those side lines up with the seam line on the bottom.  By sewing across this and making a triangle (with the baseline of 10cm), I made the “gusset” or width of the bag.   Then I folded those triangles up and topstitched them in place.  I quite like the look of everything on the outside for this bag, no hiding the construction!

DSC_0090

But, I was worried that it might not be terribly strong, so I rifled around in the scrap bag and found two pieces of linen, green, but different greens.  There wasn’t enough of each to be full linings, so I have two colours of lining, constructed in the same way as the denim outside, but with the allowances all hidden this time.  The handles are just long straight pieces of one of the denims that had enough for me to use!  I left a 20cm gap in the base of the lining and then sewed the lining to the outer bag around the top, catching in the handles.  After a quick press I bagged it out and stitched the gap closed.  I’m rather happy with the finished bag, although I do think I should have made the fabric piece deeper, the proportions aren’t quite right.  But seriously, no train smash!!

DSC_0085_1

I managed not to use any of the bigger pieces of the denim scrap for the bag, only the small scraps.  That means, of course, that I will have to find something else to use all those bigger bits for.  Maybe another shopping beg, maybe a cushion cover.  I can’t see myself making an item of clothing, I just don’t think I’d wear it, although I love the idea.  It just wouldn’t be me, and that would be a waste.

But wait, the title is for projects, and I’ve only showed you one so far!

I’ve also found a use for all the rest of the small scraps from my cutting table!  Earlier this year I started to see poufs on Instagram all made using the free pattern from Closet Case Patterns.  That lightbulb moment happened, and I started to save those little bits instead of putting them in the bin.  No more fabric going to landfill in my house!  I filled a bag, well compacted, from the Fancy Silk Store, which isn’t a small bag!  Once it was overflowing, I thought I had enough, and started to assemble my pouf.

dsc_0027-011128484456480404305.jpeg

First I needed the pattern, so I signed up to the website, which gives access to various free goodies and advice sheets.  Pattern downloaded and printed, I traced the triangular pie shapes for the top and the rectangle side pieces so I’d have more to pin on to the fabric.  I had 6 of each, so I could easily place and cut many at a time.  I decided to keep it low key and muted, so cut some leftover linen in dark green, olive green and some lime green leftover from my Teddy Designer pants made this year.  I cut four of each and sewed them together symmetrically.  I didn’t do the piping, not enough scrap for that!  The base is also a bit patchy, one piece of linen and one of a thick-ish cotton.  I’m not bothered with that, it’s the bottom, no-one’s going to see it!!  The zip wasn’t quite as long as that required, but I figure it’s long enough, and it’s from the stash.

dsc_0030-01128370805753541912.jpeg

But – I realised I’d need a bag to put the scraps into, if I ever needed to wash the linen outer pouf.  This I made from the pillowcases of a duvet set that has finally given up the ghost.  I used the bottom pattern pieces and cut 4, there’s no way I’m cutting 12 triangles from pillowcases for the inside bag!  The side is also made from bigger pieces than the original 12 rectangles, long strips from the pillowcases did the job.  I used a small zip from the stash just big enough to stuff the scraps through.

dsc_0031-014923260321650447588.jpeg

Now, as the zip in the outer bag doesn’t extend all the way across the pouf, I put some of the scraps into the inner bag and then put the inner bag into the outer.  I finished stuffing scraps into the inner bag while it was in the outer bag.  Possibly completely negating the whole reason for making the inner bag in the first place!!!  Oh dear.

dsc_0029-016025003572555940875.jpeg

And then I realised I didn’t have enough scraps!  How??  I was sure there was enough, but nope.  So I added the stuffing of a lumpy nasty cushion, a couple of hubby’s shirts that have been cut up to make jeans pockets, and two jumpers that he’s put his elbows through and won’t let me patch, but it’s not enough.  I can’t believe I need more scrap fabric!  So I’ll just keep adding fabric as it turns up, eventually the saggy baggy elephant impression will go, and I’ll have a nice big pouf for the living room.  It’s already made itself handy as somewhere to put the laptop, Good Food magazines, and my feet!  But I don’t think I’ll be making many of these, given how much they need to fill them up!

 

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…

2

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.

puff 2

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.

dsc_0016-018542431791976271645

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!

6

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!

grey zadie 5

blue zadie 9

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.

grey teddy 2

black teddy 3

green teddy 6

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.

holidays 4

leaf print 1
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!

img-20191110-wa0004-011433151707412555952.jpeg
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!

spice 3

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