A Monochrome Selection

I have tried to inject colour into my wardrobe, but I keep adding more of the basics, black, blue, white, beige and grey.  I guess they’re just too easy to use!  Speaking of basics…

I’ve added two Basic Instinct Tees to my summer collection this year, one I made just before heading off on holiday, the other I made just last week.  This is a tee shirt pattern I really like.  It’s loose enough to be comfy without being tent-like but still has shape, and made in a viscose jersey – it’s heaven to wear!  I like it for all those reasons and more.  For me, it’s the perfect design for wearing while gardening!  Sleeves that cover the upper arm and prevent sunburn, crew neckline that doesn’t allow flashing when bending over and keeps the sun off delicate décolletage and back neck areas, and long enough to tuck in without popping out.

My first Basic Instinct tee this year was made in black viscose jersey – I think I bought it from Fabworks.  The fabric was what remained after making Daughter No 1 two long sleeve tees in December, and was just enough.  It’s lovely to wear, I love the feel and flow of viscose jersey, and in basic black, what’s not to like??  Then last week, I made another.  This time in pale grey marle viscose jersey, again, I seem to recall I might have got the fabric from Fabworks, but it may have been Croft Mill Fabrics – honestly – I cannot remember!

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It’s such a quick and simple tee to make, even with a floaty viscose jersey.  I just love it, I need more of these in my life.  Maybe I’ll find an actual colour to make one in!  I think I’ll have to go down a size now, but the three I’ve made so far will still get use – lots of use!

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Basic Instinct Tee on the allotment

Next on my round up of recent monochrome projects in another LB Pullover from Paper Theory.  I went down a size this time, this is a size 14.  I had been innocently browsing The Textile Centre’s website sale page when an interesting geometric ponte jumped out and hit me in the face, at £2.50 a metre, it was begging me to buy it!  So I did!  It’s a border print, solid black with this grey and white broken geometric print running parallel to both selveges.  And the print is soooo nice!  I took my time deciding where to place the print, it was too easy to pop it straight down the middle.

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LB Pullover from Paper Theory

In the end, I decided to run it down the right of the pullover, as I wear it, but right over, with only some of the design coming up to the centre front.  Then I placed the neckband to be in the same position, and cut the back so the design is mirrored.  That was the easy part.  The sleeves are wide enough that unless they are centered on the centre of the fabric, the all black part, they catch the design.  I didn’t want the design running down the centre of the sleeve, and didn’t want a lot of it there anyway.  I also didn’t really want to “waste” fabric by cutting both sleeves down the middle of the metre or so that was left…

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So I went with just a small section of design on the front part of the sleeve, closest to the underarm seam.  This was the sleeves are still part of something, but not covered in geometric print, thus taking away from the design on the body pieces.  I think it’s worked out rather well, and I like the result!  Only one beef – the fabric is not that good quality.  This was the first time I’d worn the pullover, I’d carried some hessian shopping bags to the supermarket, and this pilling you see is from that.  First time.  I can only imagine how much pilling will happen with regular wear and washing.  Maybe there’s a reason it was only £2.50/m.

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Sleeve details! Apologies for hiding behind the bronze fennel, my photographer had to move me away from there a few times!

Now I have some of this left, but not enough for a Toaster Sweater or a Sauni Cardigan, trust me, I tried!  But – I think there might be enough for a cropped sweater, this Burda one, for example.  I just need to dig out the traced pattern from a file somewhere – I made two of these for the girls in the lead up to Christmas 2017.

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Undercover Super Hero Cape

Everyone should have one, their own super hero cape.  When I was a kid it was my swimming towel, corners wraped around the straps of my swimming costume.  This long cardi is 126 from January 2011 issue of Burdastyle.  Daughter No2 had picked it out earlier this year, and I dutifully purchased 3m of black ponte from Fabworks to make it.

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Then I sat on it, prettier and more interesting patterns constantly jumped ahead of it.  Then finally in August, I put it on “the list”.  Now I had to get on with it!  Only 3 pieces, it was so quick and easy to make, I don’t know why I’d put it off for so long!  The overlocker was put to good use, and the sewing machine was drafted in for the twin needle stitching of the hems and front edge.

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The magazine has two versions of this cardi, one called a coat (126A) made with boiled wool and with a belt, and this one in jersey, as part of their loungewear collection.

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It’s a great pattern and I really want to make another, or two, one for me and another for daughter no 1 – at least.   I rather fancy one in a nice russet coloured boiled wool.  Just to find the right colour somewhere!  So, made back in August, this cardi was made about a month ago, and one of my entries for that month’s BurdaStyle Challenge.  Given that it’s already nearly the end of September, I wonder when I’ll blog those things I’ve made this month…

 

 

It’s all About the Tees – Part II

More T-shirts!  These are the first of the “new to me” patterns.  I’ll start with the Grainline Lark Tee.  I bought this pattern a year or so ago, but have only made one tee from it, and that was for a friend!  I had the PDF pattern, and sent the copyshop off to the other half to print for me at the office on their nice big plotter.   It was about time to use the pattern for myself, I went with the short sleeve, v-neck version.

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Grainline Lark Tee

I traced the 12, based on my high bust measurement, and made a FBA as described on Maria Denmark’s website.  There’s only one thing that’s constantly bugging me, there is a fold of fabric that ends up looking like I need to dart it out at the armhole.  I have already done that in paper, but the little bugger is still there!  Any tips, tee shirt gurus??  The fabric for this one came from the NEC, I forget exactly which stall.  I love the graduated sizes of the white and black stripes, it’s a viscose/modal jersey, soft and drapey and lovely to wear.

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I’m really happy with how it all turned out, I have to admit I was a little worried going with such a “small” size!  But it worked!  The sleeves are the perfect length, and I like the fit on the body, especially the looseness around the waist and hips.  The instructions are pretty good, the neckband went in very well too.  I just need to remember the seam allowance on this pattern is very, very small, only 6mm!  I forgot that on the first seam, and sewed the shoulders at 1cm instead…  It doesn’t seem to have done any damage, even the sleeve head went in ok.

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The second tee for today is one I know I will be making loads more of!  I downloaded the Basic Instinct Tee from Sasha at SecondoPiano – finally!!  I’d seen lots of versions of the tee on Instagram (just search the hastag #basicinstincttee) and really liked the relaxed fit that everyone was achieving.  While a fitted tee is great, I like a loose one more for the summer.  I had one more blue and white striped jersey from Montreux Fabric to use, this one has a cool double thin white stripe on a navy blue ground.  The fibre content is polyester/viscose, I try not to buy polyester, but the stripe was too good to pass up!

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Basic Instinct Tee

Sasha has written brilliant instructions, and has spent a lot of time making sure her tee can be made with lots of different stripe patterns, and that those stripes will line up everywhere.  If you take the time to do it..  I have to hang my head and say I ignored those bits of the pattern and instructions and just ploughed on (I really really wanted to wear this tee – fast).  I promise that the next one I do I will definitely follow the stripe matching instructions.  The pattern is simple, round neck, short sleeves and relaxed, loose fit throughout.  It’s incredibly comfortable!  I don’t usually go for high necklines like this, I don’t like the feel of fabric so close to my neck, but this is just fine, even for a fusspot like me!

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I made the XL, no FBA, no adjustments – next time I think I’ll size down, see how it goes.  It all went together incredibly well, great instructions and very well drafted pattern.  I highly recommend this pattern, subscribe and you’re in business!  This is the perfect pattern for allotment tees, the loose fit means more comfort in the heat & the round neck keeps the sun off me.  I have to make lots and lots more!  Thanks Sasha, for a brilliant little tee pattern!

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There they go again, I just cannot keep my hands out of my pockets!

I have one more tee to show off, and I still cannot decide on my favourite!  I think I might need to get a few plain coloured tops now though, there are enough stripes!  What’s your favourite t-shirt pattern to make?

 

 

Fade to Grey

I’ve been making lots of grey items this year, it’s a colour I really like, especially for the winter.  It’s going to be overtaken by blue for the spring and summer soon!  Back in January, or maybe even February, I finally made the Lark Tee.  It had been on the list to make last Spring, then bumped to Autumn, and now it’s finally done.

The fabric is a pale silvery grey viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabric, also bought early last year.  It is lovely and soft, with good drape.  I used the copy shop version of the Grainline Studio pattern, this being the first pattern from Grainline that I’ve made.  I chose the scoop neckline with three quarter sleeves.  I made a 3cm FBA, which I now think I could have done without in the size I made – either that or add the FBA to the smaller size.

The instructions are clear and concise, there’s not much to making a tee really!  The shoulder seams were stabilised with iron on tape, and I feel that this fabric could have done with something on the neckline too, but not the iron on stuff, it makes it too stiff.  But without any stabilisation the neckline tends to drift downwards during the day.  Fabric with good drape will droop!

This is also the first time I’ve attempted blog photos myself.  Without any daughters at home and a hubby who just doesn’t “get” what I’m trying for, I’ve tried doing the photos on the self timer on my phone.  Nothing like taking millions of pics of yourself to make you feel self-conscious and a bit silly!

Another top that had been on the sewing list for a while is from last February’s Burda magazine (103 2/16), it has a hi-low hem, woven in the back and jersey in front and on the sleeves.  I had thought it would be good in a linen jersey that I got from Ditto Fabrics, either last year or the one before, with some silk left over from a previous project on the back.  But before I committed my nice linen jersey, I definitely wanted a toile!!

I cut the 44, adding a small FBA, and due to fabric shortages had to cut a yoke for the back, with the pleat falling from that, rather than from just below the neckline.

I’m fairly chuffed with it, probably will shorten the back hem a bit, you end up sitting on it so it gets all creased and crumpled – not a good look in pretty silk.  I’d also need to enlarge the sleeve in the bicep area for the linen jersey.  In this pale grey from Fancy Silks in Birmingham, the sleeve is ok, there is enough stretch, but the linen hasn’t got as much give.  I need to drop the darts a couple of centimetres and might also make the FBA a little bigger – just in case!  It must be right for the linen and silk!

I’ve worn this top loads since it was finished back in early-mid March, so that must mean it’s a successful toile – and very wearable!

I’ve managed a few more self-timer photos of some other tops made this month, hopefully they’ll be online soon.  I want to make a pair of Morgan Jeans for the summer, started a toile this week which wasn’t altogether great, so I’m working out the gremlins there.  I already have the fabric – bought it last year with the pattern when it first came out…..

Three Strikes…

Three strikes and I want more!  This is my third Longley Cardi by Wendy Ward, previous versions here.  I had in mind to make a stripe version of this cardi for a while, I pictured wide stripes in either a sturdy or drapey jersey.  This particular stripe jersey is from Ditto Fabrics, the last of the pieces I binge-bought back in January!

I saw the picture, registered the size of the stripe and added 2.5m pretty much immediately to the basket.  I didn’t read any further.  You know what’s coming….

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Wendy Ward Longley Cardigan

So when you don’t order samples and don’t read the fabric description properly, sometimes the fabric that arrives is a little bit of a surprise!  The stripes run the length of the fabric, opposite to what I thought they’d be.  I was expecting your typical viscose jersey, in feel and handle.  What came felt rather different.  It’s described as having a “silky feel”.  To be honest, when it came I would have described it as full on polyester.  So  procrastinated, wasn’t even sure I liked it.

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One thing I really don’t like is waste, and not using this fabric felt a whole heap like wasting.  So I just got on with it.  I wanted the stripes to line up going up and down across the bands, so I made sure to cut the hem and neck bands very carefully to line up with the back piece on the fold.  I couldn’t get the front band stripes to match both the back and front, and as the front has lots of drape it was decided it would be more forgiving to non-matching.

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Matching stripes!

After all the kerfuffle and uncertainty, I’ve decided I do rather like this cardi, stripes, fabric, the lot.  It counts towards my Sew Seasonal Wardrobe and being a staple blue and white, will go with pretty much everything already made and those pieces yet to be sewn.

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Birgitte Tee, Birkin Flares & Longley Cardi. Silver trainers from La Redoute.

I like the way the stripes change with the drape on the front, horizontal stripes on the front neck band contrasting with vertical stripes on the sleeves.  It’s a more interesting cardigan than I thought it was going to be!  No bad thing there.  So it’s a success in the end, have you had doubts about a project, only to have it turn out ok on the day?

No Sewing, Plenty of Shopping!

Well, not no sewing at all, but I haven’t got much to report right now as I have no photos! I have a blue viscose tee and blue and white herringbone Burda trousers and a new pair of gorgeous Birkin Flares.  But nowhere to be seen.  What I can show you though, is fabric shopping….

My favourite annual fabric shopping opportunity happened this week, Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC.  I always go on the Thursday, the first day.  You get the best picks first thing on day one!  I went prepared, a wad of cash in my wallet that was all I was allowed to spend and two large carrier bags in which to stuff my purchases.   I was meeting with an ex-student whom I hadn’t seen in about 2 years, so it was going to be a good day!  We had a fabulous time catching up and buying pretty things.

I started at Rosenberg & Son – the only place to start.  As usual there was a crowd 3 people deep all trying to get access to the front to feel and grab precious bolts of fabrics.  Some people have sharp elbows…  Anyway, once I finally reached my destination I bought 2.5m of floral printed twill for a friend (who’s making a dress), 1.2m of blue and white geometric print John Kaldor viscose jersey and and 2.5m of the prettiest green and blue parasol print poplin.  My plans for the jersey is to turn it into a tee of some sort – no idea which pattern just yet.  The parasol print will be the trousers from the pantsuit in the plus size section of the April issue of Burdastyle magazine.  It’s going to look good on the beach next month!!

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First purchases from Rosenberg, Viscose jersey, print twill & print poplin

From there I found Doughty’s.  All 2-3 stalls.  Why so many? Anyways, one of their stalls had a majority of quilting cottons, the others had a mixture of good fabrics, including a decent selection of ex-designer fabrics like Paul Smith.  I bought a metre of pretty navy and white seaside print cotton to make baby things for a friend’s soon to be born little girl.  February’s issue of Burdastyle has some really cute patterns for baby clothes.

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Seaside print cotton from Doughty’s Fabrics

They always have lots of lovely fabrics, this time I managed to buy from two of the stalls.  On 2 different trips I bought 2 metres of washed linen in grey and white (looks like a cotton & linen blend) and 1.2m of black and white stripe viscose jersey.  I have a pretty good idea the linen will become a pair of floppy trousers, although a friend suggested an unlined jacket, and the jersey is destined to be a tee.  Again, pattern undecided.

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Linen & viscose jersey from Doughty’s

 

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Montreux Fabrics

I found a new fabric store at the show this time, Montreux Fabrics.  They haven’t got their website up and running just yet but they did have plenty of gorgeous fabrics! I particularly enjoyed rummaging through the “remnant” baskets.  Their selection of jersey fabrics was really good.  I ended up only buying 2 pieces, 1.8m of plain blue viscose jersey, again it’ll be a tee of some sort, and 1.4m of white viscose jersey that’s destined for Del.

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Beautiful blue jersey from Montreux fabrics

Just when I thought I’d done all my buying, daughter No2 turned up!  My friend wanted to go back to Rosenberg’s so we tagged along.  Bad decision!  Or maybe not.  Two more pieces of fabric were added to my bags!  Daughter no 2 liked a piece of Liberty lawn for a vintage blouse and then fell for a large floral print stretch cotton for another blouse.  I will wait for her to come home for the Easter hols to pick the exact patterns she wants.

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Cotton prints from Rosenberg & Son

I killed a little time at the Bernina stand, I still wouldn’t swap either of my old machines for one of them.  The overlockers look even more involved than mine!  I looked at the coverstitch though, it has three needles and costs a mere £599.  To sew hems….  Twin needles are much cheaper!

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Overlockers at the Bernina stand

I browsed the patterns stands, picked up one Burda trouser patterns but on the whole I left the commercial patterns alone.

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Looking out bargains at Doughty’s, Interesting print choice & lots of commercial patterns

So all in all it was a pretty fabulous day.  My wallet was empty, feet only a little sore and fabric bags full!  It was all so worth it and I have plenty to sew in the next 4 weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Unselfish Sewing

and a little fabric shopping

I got tempted by the new Sewaholic Vancouver range of patterns on their release earlier this year and bought two patterns in the 2 for 1 launch special.  I liked the Fraser sweatshirt to make for myself and the girls, and I got the Cypress running cape, definitely only for making for the girls!

On a recent trip to Birmingham and The Fancy Silk Store, I bought a fabulous fleece lined jersey in charcoal.  As Daughter No2 was with me at the time I got enough for both of us to have a Fraser sweatshirt.  She didn’t want any of the fancy stitchlines, just a plain one please, with looong sleeves.  She has rather long arms and battles to find bought tops that stay anywhere near her wrist.  Everything ends up looking like it should be 3/4.

The fabric doesn’t have much stretch, it’s pretty sturdy, so I hope it fits….  I made an adjustment to the shoulder width (1.5 cm wider) and lengthened the sleeve by 4cm.  She won’t mind if it’s a little long but will be very disappointed if it’s short.  I used View B for the front and back and added length according to the sleeve for View A, but used B…  Make sense?  I started with the size 4 on the top part and graded to a 2 at the waist and hip.  Funnily enough, in Burda (and almost everything else) patterns she’s one or two sizes bigger in the hip than the waist, but with Sewholic we need to go down by 1 size.

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Sewaholic Fraser sweatshirt, View B with long sleeves

The pattern itself is pretty easy, especially if you’re doing View B!  Basically, think Renfrew in a sturdier fabric.  The construction is the same.  The only thing I would change about the order of work would be attaching the cuffs to the sleeves.  Because I sent down to size 2 on the sleeve (skinny arms) it was nigh on impossible to get the cuff on after the side seams had been sewn.  Next time I’ll attach the sleeve cuffs and then sew the sleeve and side seams, turning up the cuff and just attaching with the sewing machine.  Although I still won’t be able to get the ends over the free arm.  But overlocking it was damn tricky!

I hope that when she comes home after her hockey tour in the Easter hols that she’s happy with it.  She’s seen some photos but it still needs to be tried on.

So, riding high on a quick easy make, I decided I’d make another.  But not my version.  I’d had a little splurge this weekend buying fabric online (I know, I’m supposed to be clearing the table of stashed fabrics) from Ditto Fabrics, Fabworks and Croft Mill Fabrics.  Bad.  I’m hopeless.  Anyway, I wanted to be sure the fabrics all got used up as soon as they arrived, so on Tuesday the Fabworks delivery arrived (as well as the Ditto stuff, but that’s for later).  I’d ordered linen, of course, and two pieces of jersey.

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Sewaholic Fraser sweatshirt View A – details

The one I wanted for the sweatshirt is blue with circles and flowers, sort of reminds me of delft tiles, and I wanted to use it to make something for my Mum.  I decided to go with View A, although I wasn’t going to use a contrast fabric.  This time I didn’t need any pattern alterations, my Mum’s measurements put her firmly in the size 12.

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Two new sweatshirts, one new favourite pattern.

Again, construction was simple and straightforward, the only part you need to watch is the triangle point insertion.  It was done in an afternoon and I’m pretty happy with it, although on close inspection I know I missed centering the top front exactly, but I don’t think anyone looking casualy will notice, and no, I’m not unpicking it!!

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So to round up the pattern stuff – Sewaholic have delivered a quick make with clear, concise instructions alongside plain talking illustrations.  I can see a whole stack of these being made, and as you have such a plain canvas, whose to say there won’t be many hacks on the horizon for those so inclined?  Already the Renfrew had been hacked into so many different things by enterprising sewists.

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Fraser View A, pointy details.

Now, Fabworks.  I’d spotted them on Instagram, someone I follow had bought something yummy, so I took a look.  They have a good selection of fabrics, and lovely, interesting jersey fabrics.  The prices are pretty good too.  The ordering only lets you pick whole metres, which means for a tee shirt you’re either going to be short, or have too much.  So I emailed them asking if I could have a custom order and they were very helpful.  So if you like what you see there but don’t want 1 or 2 metres (or more, who’s counting) email them for a custom order.  Postage is a flat £5, but it comes the next day!!  So for impulsive shoppers, that’s not bad.  So far I’m happy with the pieces I’ve ordered, I will see how the fabric behaves in the long term before I can judge the quality of their offerings, but on customer service they’re sitting pretty on my list of online shops.

I have only one purchase from Fabworks left, I made the linen up yesterday, so I need to get the last piece of jersey cut up and sewn today!  I also need to allocate patterns to the jerseys I got from Croft Mill and Ditto.  I promised myself that if I bought all of it, I’d use it up within 2 weeks – nothing to stash.  This might just be a promise I can keep…

If you’re sewing this weekend, have fun!