Terrible Tent or Trendy Tee??

Remember that sew slowing from March?  Yeah, I might be rethinking that now!  There are so many things I need to make, patterns to try and fabric to convert into pretty clothes that that idea might have to wait a while.  I still don’t want to race ahead with the self drafted trousers, they need to be right.  In the meantime though I have stuff to make and time to catch up on.

While I was not sewing I was re-stocking my pattern and fabric stash.  One of the pieces of fabric was a gorgeous blue and beige Ikat type print I bought on Etsy from Heather from Handmade By Heather B.  The fabric is gorgeous, I love the print and the colour blue is perfect.  The jersey itself is soft, has a fabulous handle and drapes beautifully. I thought I’d pair it with a new pattern purchase, the Shirt Tail Tee from HotPatterns.

The Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns
The Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns

The pattern was a PDF purchase, no copy shop version, so I was in for a bit of cutting and taping.  Once printed, I noticed there were no borders on the pages, I thought initially that the sizing was incorrect.  It turned out the printing went right to the edges of the paper, I just needed to line the pages up right next to each other.  There are two versions of the front of the tee, a solid front or a front made of 3 pieces all cut on different grainlines.  I went with the solid.  Falling between the 18 & 20 I opted for the smaller size because I figured there would be plenty of ease.

Instructions are pretty simple, sew shoulder seams, fold neckband in half lengthways, attach to neckline, sew centre back seam, hem shirt, sew side seams, sew sleevebands, insert sleeves.  The toile was quick, I used a lightweight jersey from the stash for the job. I was fairly happy with the result, it was baggier than I really wanted, and definitely too long, I decided to shorten it by 5cm but left the rest, I thought as the blue jersey was drapy-er that it would flow better around the body. So I went ahead and cut & sewed.

But this is where it all went wrong.  The instructions do not call for stabilisation of any seams.  I should have listened to my questioning self and added some, but I didn’t.  The jersey I used was so soft and drapey that it stretched while I was working with it, not noticably but enough.  Suffice to say that once I’d finished everything and put the tee on, it was a good 3-4 sizes bigger than the toile!!  AARRGGHH

Fast & Fabulous Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns
Fast & Fabulous Shirt Tail Tee by HotPatterns

It’s horrible!  A huge tent/sack that’s so unflattering it’s just not even funny.  The neckline is massive, the little sleeves hang far too low.  I hate it!  So I took to Instagram to see if anyone had ideas for me to rescue the thing and there were some good responses.  But I was too despondent, I’d just wasted all that lovely fabric!!! I put it aside to sort the next day, but on getting into my PJ’s that night had a bit of an epihany.  My PJs are handmade, remember Karen’s Pyjama Party? I made a couple of pairs then that have been in rotation, and I realised the top I’d made is the perfect style of tee for me.  It has a scooped neck, it’s floppy, not fitted, has a cap sleeve….  Eureka! So the next morning I cut what was left of Heather’s fabric and made a new tee.  Using style 113 from Burdastyle magazine 12/2008 this is what I have now!  Tah-dah…


The colours are perfect for me, I tend to have a rather monochrome wardrobe, greys and blacks in the winter, blues and creams/beiges in the summer.

DSC00041-1The pattern itself is quick and easy to sew, it consists of the front and back, raglan sleeves in two pieces and a neckband.  I lengthened the tee by 2cm, just because I could!  To combat this fabric’s desire to stretch I stabilsed everything!!  Using Vilene bias tape I fused the neckline on all pieces, the raglan seams and the centre sleeve seams.  The only seams that don’t have a liberal application of bias tape are the side seams.  And it’s worked!  The fabric drapes and flows beautifully, and I don’t have to worry that the neckline is going to end up below my boobs 🙂  I’ve decided I may need to make another, there’s a new piece of jersey on my cutting table that I got from Fabric Godmother in my latest splurge and I think it’ll look fab in this pattern.

Neckline detail, 3 small pleats either side of the CF.
Neckline detail, 3 small pleats either side of the CF.

Soooo much better!!  It drapes, it swooshes and I love it! 🙂  What to do with the tent?  Maybe that’ll be a pj top.  But for now I’ve put it aside, I will have a think, it will either be recut or used to sleep in on the hot summer nights.  If we get any…

Trousers – “For me, or not for me?” That is the question!

Grrrr, I have to confess to major irritation with my trouser toiles.  It seems the Hot Patterns patterns don’t suit me.  Not the garments & certainly not the instructions!  I set about making a toile of each of the patterns I wanted this weekend.  When I use a pattern for the first time, I like to use the instructions as printed, then I can see where to deviate (if necessary) the next time.  All was well until I got to the fly zip.  Now I can do a fly zip, 5 minutes & it’s done.  The instructions for these patterns bamboozled me to such an extent I ripped the entire lot out & threw it on the floor for 30 minutes while I stormed downstairs for tea & chocolate!

I don’t know who the instructions are written for, but they made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  One I’d calmed down I returned to the scene of the crime & inserted the zips my way.  Done.  Then to put them on – yeah.  They don’t sit right, & I don’t like them – either of them – at all!!  Apparently they’re “really easy to make following all the tutorials on youtube”.  I don’t want tutorials on youtube!!  If you cannot make the instructions clear enough on the item I paid money for, I’m not interested!  gggrrrrr.

So I recon it’s back to good old Burda for trousers – at least I know they fit, & I know where I need to alter them!  But I cannot decide from the pile of magazines with marked “possibilities” which to start with.  My Smarty Pants selection is going to have to change.  So in the truest sense of procrastination ever – I started something else!  🙂

Trousers 110 from BurdaStyle 111/2013
Trousers 110 from BurdaStyle 11/2013

Daughter No2 loved this pattern when she spotted it in the BurdaStyle magazine back in November.  I have some beautiful damson stretch twill with a satin finish from Croft Mill Fabric that will look fabulous made in this pattern.

Working drawing & gorgeous stretch twill
Working drawing & gorgeous stretch twill

I traced the pattern this morning & made a toile in some spare fabric, a madly printed cotton.  I used it because it was the only piece I had that was the right size & roughly the right feel for the finished garment.  I reconned without Daughter No2’s wacky taste.  The minute she saw them she thought they were the “real thing”! You’ve never seen such excitement – & then disappointment when I said it was just a toile!

Toile fabric
Toile fabric

As you may have already guessed, I have succumbed to the request & will be making these “wearable” once I have finished the twill version!  She’s nuts, but I wouldn’t swap her for anyone else!  🙂

On my sewing table this weekend

I can’t believe it’s another weekend & February is well on the move!  I have another blouse on the pattern table…  This Wardrobe Architect is already coming in really handy, my Pinterest board is pretty full of lovely goodies to copy inspire me & after last weeks post, I have now added Polyvore to my “this takes up all your time you should be spending sewing” problem that I only had with Pinterest up to now!  It’s such fun!

The blouse I’m working on is based on Deer & Doe’s Airelle.  No point in me buying the pattern, they don’t do my size & I really cannot be arsed to do all the adjustments that would be necessary to make it fit me.  I’m doing my own, but please, if you fit the sizing, go ahead & buy a copy, cause I think it’s rather cute.  There are loads of variations on tinternet.  I found this from Asos, & immediately thought of the Airelle.  So I am doing a combination pattern.

Asos blouse, has the bones of the Deer & Doe Airelle
Asos blouse, has the bones of the Deer & Doe Airelle

I love the tucks down the centre front, and also on the yoke.  I thought I’d use the tucked band as a concealed buttonband, rather than pull the thing over my head.  Here is what I was thinking during the week.

Sketch for my version of the Airelle & the Asos blouse
Sketch for my version of the Airelle & the Asos blouse

As you can see from the notes, I think I’ll be making this in a dark blue georgette from the stash.  The Sewcialists are sewing blue in February, a colour I adore so have no problem fullfilling this particular “challenge”.  I have been working on the pattern today & have only made one alteration.  I am not making the deep cuff, but sticking with the narrow sleeve band I’ve used for the previous two blouses.  All the pattern pieces are done, the pieces with the tucks gave me a small headache!

Working out the tucks for the button band
Working out the tucks for the button band

The toile is all cut out & ready, I’m going to get on with that on Monday.  I also have a “new” pattern for jeans/trousers to toile.  I say new in inverted commas because I have had it a while – 2 – maybe 3 years…  Not good.  It is the “Metropolitan Slouchy Trouser Jeans” from Hot Patterns, & I am really looking forward to how these turn out, because they are perfect according to my silhouette research on Polyvore & Pinterest!  🙂  If they are a success, that will be the Smarty Pants Challenge over at The Monthly Stitch sorted!

I just need to get them traced & toiled, I bought a new pair of curtains from the charity shop today for just that purpose!  Then I need fabric, I am on the hunt for a denim that’s more linen like, something that will enhance the floppy-ness of the style.  Happy Sunday sewing, I’m off to a gathering of my students (a full class this time!) in Alveston for our monthly class tomorrow.  So far I know there’ll be 2 pairs of guys trousers in the making, one wrap-over dress and a Renfrew.  Heaven knows what the others are going to spring on me, but I’m happy.  🙂

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