Holidays, looked forward to with such excitement, they’re always over too quickly! I thought I’d share with you another knit top I made just before my holiday. I decided to give the Tessuti Mandy Boat Neck Tee a try after seeing a couple of versions on Instagram. As a free pattern I figured it couldn’t hurt. I downloaded and printed the copy shop version not fancying taping paper together again. I had only one concern – the one size fits all. After my attempt to make a boxy tee with both the Japanese book, She Wears The Pants and the Hot Patterns massive tee, I was a little cautious. But not that cautious.
I’d bought a couple of metres of a lovely viscose stripe jersey from John Lewis in Solihull earlier in the year, it’s one of those narrow stripes that gives you a strobing headache if you look at the stripes too closely for too long! I had thought to make another Thread Theory Camas blouse with it, but the fabric was making eyes at my newly printed Mandy pattern, so I went for it!
I really like the finished result. I have only two things to alter for next time, and there will be a next time! I need the sleeves to be a tad wider. I checked the measurements before I cut the pattern and thought there’d be enough give in the fabric, but there wasn’t. Then there’s the tendency for these sorts of tops to want to strangle me. I have two similar items I bought from H&M before Christmas that aren’t as bad because their necklines are rounder, but they do still slip backwards & I frequently have to tug them forward again. So I need to recut the front neckline a little lower/rounder.
I think next time I’ll use a contrasting fabric for the sleeves, I like the look of it on the model on the front of the pattern. There is enough of this stripe for another top, and I could use the navy viscose jersey from the Camas Blouse I made earlier in the year. If I want another top that strobes like this!
I’ve worn it quite a lot now, the colours fit into my summer wardrobe perfectly and I rather like wearing it with the trouser form the previous post, the narrower upper leg looks less chunky than the trousers I’m wearing in these photos. We had a late afternoon walk on the beach at Carbis Bay after wandering around St Ives, finishing with sundowners (except there was no sun) in the Beach Bar. They served a killer gin & tonic, just wish I could remember what it was!!
I still need to show you guys the prom dress, I did take some photos on the night with my phone, but Daughter No 2 was rather nervous with her date around and didn’t want to pose for me! Since coming aback from holiday we’ve done a lot of clearing and cleaning out. When you’re in a holiday let that’s all clean and clutter free and lovely, and you come home to a much more full house with much more “stuff”, it’s really tempting to chuck it all out! Of course, we don’t live in a holiday flat, and I certainly don’t sew there!! 🙂
But I have had a tidy and managed to clear a huge backlog of mending this week. We also bought a very cool mid-century sideboard that will be going in my room for taking all the sewing stuff that exploded out of my cupboard and litters the sewing and cutting table. And under the sewing and cutting tables…
I really do need a dedicated, close the door and leave it all out space in which to sew. One day.
What is it about navy and white stripes that gets us thinking all summer and seaside? I’ve been hankering after a blue and white, or white and blue stripey tee-shirt for months now, but never found the right one in the shops. I’d steered clear of sewing my own until I had a decent knit block to work from, and that was taking time to get right too. Then, by chance, I popped into one of the ladies shops in my local town and found a navy and white stripe jersey maxi dress, in my size, and that fitted rather well!! On sale it was a snip at £34, so I bought it, with the idea of lopping off the bottom half so I’d have two tees!!
I should have taken a photo of the maxi dress before it got chopped up, but there you go, I was in far too much of a hurry! It was/is from Scottish company Marble Clothing and can be seen here. The first tee was made pretty easily, I simply put the dress on and marked with a couple of pins where I’d like the finished edge to be. On taking the dress off, I measured down 2cm, then went a bit further down to get a stripe and cut along that line. I used a twin needle to stitch the new hem and ta-daa…
I love it!!!! The neckline is really good for me, the scoop is perfect, just the right depth and width and it doesn’t stretch out while wearing, unlike my Plantain tees.
I have taken the side seams in a bit since seeing these photos, and I wish I’d cut it a stripe or two longer, but of course, if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to make another tee!
The bottom half was saved for another tee, but this time it wouldn’t be as easy or quick! I’d made a start on a knit block earlier in the year and had to do loads of fiddling, only to make a tee that was too small. So I decided to revisit the block and fiddle a little more. I haven’t documented the process, I just kept changing and tweaking with each toile. I’ve used a lot of jersey in toiles!!! Eventually I managed to come up with a shape that worked and fitted, but course, I’m aware that with every different type of jersey it’s going to be very different, which is what’s annoying about knits…
I decided I’d like a v-neck tee with short sleeves – the sleeves ended up being shorter than I’d wanted, but lack of fabric dictated what I could have in the end.
I started by cutting up the side seams of the skirt and then pinned the stripes together. The front and back were placed to use the existing hem which helped with lining up the stripes on the side too! The sleeves had to be cut separately, one on each skirt half and they had to be squeezed in so there’d be space for the neckband. I had to piece the neckband, there just wasn’t enough length in the fabric to get it out in one shot.
Making up was dead easy and really quick, the only issue was the neckband, getting that point right in the front meant I decided to sew it on with the sewing machine first, after a little fiddling I got it perfect, then went back over it with the overlocker and messed it all up!! grrrrrr I couldn’t do too much with it because – overlocker…. Damn. The rest went together swimmingly, and I got those stripes on the side seams matching like a dream.
I love my new tee shirts!! The fit is fabulous, the jersey itself is amazing. The content is cotton with lycra and it’s lovely and soft.
The only thing I’m not happy with in the second one, is the sleeves. The hems tend to roll up to the outside, I think it’s because they’re quite short and the hem is just 1cm. I might try adding a band to the bottom, I have some white cotton jersey in the stash that may help.
Now for the trousers.. I wanted a pair of trousers with flare/wide bootcut as a nod to the 70s trend this year. There is a great pair in the July issue of BurdaStyle, but it wanted stretch fabrics and the fabric I had in mind was a beige linen – no stretch fibres built in. So I reverted to another TNT pattern, 118 from April 2009. I just love the shape of these trousers, but I do have to shorten them drastically!! 6cm has been folded out of the leg length of this pattern in order for it to fit my short Scottish pins. The pattern goes up to a 44, so I did a little extra grading and made a 46 from hip up. I just don’t go in enough for the 44 to fit comfortably!! I think actually that I can get rid of a bit of this extra though, and take in a little down the thigh. After putting on a bit of weight while I was out of sewing action and very, very bored, I have been able to get rid of the extra flab. This means that I don’t actually need some of that extra ease I built in to the making of these pants! So I’ll run a new line of stitching from the knee to hip and get a better shape for the flare from the knee down. ( Update – I have actually taken the side seams in from the waistband to knee, making for a much better fit and look overall.)
I picked the perfect thread to sew with, you can’t really see any of it in the topstitching. These little front patch pockets and just right, they try to discourage me from having my hands in my pockets too much, but are just the right size for my phone or a little change. I am addicted to pockets, I never really know where to put my hands if I don’t have any! I used seam tape for the hem, another occasion of just managing to fit the pattern pieces on the fabric.
I love how these trousers look with the stripey tee shirts, they’re going to be the first thing I pack in my suitcase for my week in Cornwall!
In other sewing news, the prom dress was finished in time and looked fabulous! I have a couple of photos on my phone, but have yet to persuade daughter no2 to get dressed up again so I can take decent ones for you all to see. We need details! I also downloaded the Mandy Boat Neck Tee from Tessuti Patterns after spotting a few online and seeing Thornberry’s latest versions. I’m obviously not over my quest for a square tee. I made it quickly a couple of weekends ago, mid prom dress, and I’m dead chuffed! So that’s another post waiting for photos.
Perhaps, if the weather’s not all it’s cracked up to be next week, I’ll be writing blog posts from our holiday apartment instead of exploring the Cornish countryside with the family. I won’t be taking any sewing stuff with me this time not even patterns to trace! I need desperately to crochet loads and loads of granny squares for daughter no2’s granny square afgan for University, I can’t believe there’s only one month today until she goes! Time flies people…
*UPDATE* I thought I’d posted this particular post before setting off on holiday, then wondered why things were so quiet… Turns out I’m a bit of a numpty and did nothing of the sort. So I have been on my Cornish break, altered the trousers and next week will be adding a band to the sleeve hem of the self drafted tee! I have also made loads of granny squares, and as I add this postscript, have just 12 more to do! Then I need to block them all and start putting it all together. It’s going to take time & Daughter No2 leaves on the 8th of August…..
More stuff to show you all! I’ve made another pair of linen trousers – no, you cannot have too many, they’re like shoes and handbags, didn’t you know?? This time I used a khaki linen from Fred Winter’s in Stratford on Avon and cut another TNT Burda pattern, 102 from July 2008 magazine. This pattern needs no adjustments other than to shorten it by 4 cm, perfect!!
The linen is great, a soft, medium weight that won’t get all crunchy and crisp after it’s washed. As the overlocker was still out from the last pair I zoomed round all the pieces leaving everything nice and neat. It’s a really quick pattern for me, they were done and dusted in a day. They have a straight cut leg and angular pocket, just simple trousers really!
Apologies for the creases, I decided to wear them before photographing could take place, and we all know linen loves to wrinkle. I must learn not to “wear” my makes before showing them off!
To go with them I thought I had to make another of the Burda tees I made in the blue Ikat jersey. I had 1 metre of “shatta” jersey from Fabric Godmother which, although it’s all madly patterned and in a lot of colours I don’t wear, I liked it. It looks great with these trousers and I’ve tried it with darker ones too, with positive results!
I took no chances with the stretch though, ironing Vilene bias tape to every single neckline and sleeve opening edge. This jersey drapes beautifully, is soft and light and was not going to be allowed to get away with being naughty. The stabilisation worked a treat, although I may have overdone it a bit, the stock of bias tape has been much depleted.
I like it so much I’m tempted to order a metre of the blue version in the same jersey!
I have at least 2 more pairs of trousers to make up, in linen of course, but I need to get cracking with Daughter No2’s prom dress first! If you follow me on Instagram you’d have seen my toile progress so far, and I think it’s looking good! So watch this space, sometime before the 3rd July there’ll be a (hopefully) gorgeous dress to show you all.
Whoot, another make, another blog post! I’m on a roll here… This is the eighth incarnation of the Day to Night Drape Top made for the daughters. The fabric is from Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes, swapped in the Sabertooth Swap organised by Anne from Petty Grievances. I knew the minute I opened the parcel what the fabric would be for, I love patterns that require little bits of fabric!
I put it together with my standard adjustments, no clear elastic in the armholes, just turned under and twin needled into place. In fact there is no clear elastic anywhere in this make – not that I was trying to make a point or anything. I had a fabulous sort out of my sewing space in January, re-organised the boxes and storage, brought in a large cutting table and generally made the whole space look a whole heap better. However, I then didn’t do much sewing and as a result now I’ve forgotten where I’ve put stuff! You know the drill, move things because the new home makes far more sense… Where the flippin’ ‘eck is it now?? So I couldn’t find the clear elastic, not even in the elastic box, which is exactly where you’d expect to find it. Ordinary 8mm elastic was called into action instead, and it’s done an ok job.
With the overlocker playing up, I used the sewing machine for this make, one hour and it was done. The jersey doesn’t stretch as much as would probably be preferable for this particular pattern, but Daughter No2 wasn’t overly bothered by the more fitted aspect of it, so I’m not gong to make too much of a fuss. I love the stripes, didn’t make an effort to line anything up as it was rather random and I didn’t have much to play with.
So thanks Kat for the fabric, and to Anne for the organising of the swap!
ps, I did eventually find the elastic 3 days later – in the bra making stuff box. Please tell me I’m not the only one…
Three Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape tops, cut out together & sewn on a “production line”. There was a much more relaxed atmosphere in the sewing room when these three were made up. Although I picked tricky jersey – no natural fibres in sight – I was at least prepared for bad behaviour!
After the two I made last week & the success of the black cotton top, I decided to omit the clear elastic from the armholes altogether and only used it on the back neckline. There is still a bit of pulling, but much less than before. I used one of the suggestions in the comments of that post and stuck a bit of masking tape to the bottom of the presser foot when applying the clear elastic, and was pleased with the result.
The jerseys I’ve chosen for these tops are man-made, two completely polyester & one poly-viscose. There is more stretch in the poly-viscose and it has a much nicer drape. Daughter No1 commented that it feels like wearing a swimming costume. The fabric was bought from Rosenberg’s stand at the NEC last year, or the one before and was intended to be a wrap dress of sorts for her. We’ve never found the right pattern and I decided this was it, time to be used! There is enough left for something else, but probably not a dress!
The other two have less stretch and I think I’d have to make an adjustment if she wanted more tops using this particular fabric. Daughter No1 is satisfied with the look, but if they were my tops I’d be uncomfortable with the pulling over the bust. I do like how the drape hangs on the poly-jersey tops and the colours are perfect. Of course, now Daughter No2 wants one in the blue for herself…
Next on the cutting table will be (hopefully) a black & white marle wool Honeydew skirt & a self drafted pencil skirt in caramel stretch cotton sateen – both for Daughter No2. I say hopefully to the Honeydew skirt, because we hauled out some leftover wool from previous projects & she asked for the Honeydew in that fabric, but I haven’t checked to see if it’s enough yet… I will line it with a nice coloured lining & put a zip in the side seam like I did with this one.
Daughter No1 goes back to University today, I can’t believe it’s her last year – how time has flown! She’ll be taking a fair few handmade garments with her & I hope they get to be worn as much as her charity shop bargains!
Wherever you are, have a great weekend – I’m teaching some of my favourite people on Sunday, I’m expecting great projects on their sewing tables! 🙂
This has been a day of extreme frustration for me. It started all well & sunny by unpinning the drapey jersey I’d cut out last night for a Day to Night top by Maria Denmark. I’ve wanted to make this for ages. I bought it earlier in the summer & decided Daughter No1 would get first crack at it. I read the instructions re FBA etc, knowing I’d need one here. Can you believe I’ve never done one? That’s because all the tops I make for myself & No1 are self drafted!
Anyway, I was slightly suprised to note the pattern doesn’t go down to her size, unlike the Kimono tee – but the smallest size is 1cm wider at the bust than the measurements I had. A decision was made to wing it for the toile & see just exactly what and how much I’d need to adjust. The fabric chosen was from the stash, I’d bought copious amounts of this drapey poly-jersey some time ago. I found a couple of packs of clear elastic in the elastics stash too, no idea what I’d got them for initially!
A quick read through the instructions left me feeling confident, lets face it, there are only 2 pieces to this pattern, it’s hardly rocket science. However. My old Bernina refused flatly to have anything to do with the clear elastic I was to sew to the back neckline to stabilise it. I begged, I pleaded. Eventually it gobbled up the first 2 cm – fabric, elastic, the works. Cue much cursing & frantic tweeting – help!! Obviously there was a “tutorial” which wasn’t much help. If I had a teflon foot apparently all my hair pulling & scaring the birds outside my window would go away. I. Don’t. Have. One! Trying to find one for a 42 year old machine is pretty nigh impossible too.
In the end I managed to bully, cajole, persuade (you pick the right word) dear old Bernina to zigzag the elastic to the neckline. Reluctantly it obeyed but I was gifted skipped stitches & pulling where there shouldn’t be any. This didn’t get any better when turning the elastic over & stitching the seam allowance down on the outside. I tried the suggested zigzag again & ripped it out almost as soon as I’d started! In went the twin needle & things were a bit better. Bernina was still sulking & skipped stitches in revenge. The same happened with the armholes.. By now I was thinking this whole thing was jinxed. Shoulder & side seams were fine, the overlocker behaved perfectly.
I put it on the dress form – I don’t think this will fit Daughter No1 over the bust. The waist & hip will be fine, probably even slightly baggy, but the bust line looks pretty darn snug. By this time I was pretty fed up. A walk in fresh air and some loud music in my ears was in order so I left it for a couple of hours.
It fits Daughter No2 fairly well. You can see all the pulling from the neck & armholes clearly and again, it’s snug over the bust. This is the size I’d have made for her, without adjustments. She rather likes it & would be happy to wear it, but there’s no way I’m allowing that thing to see the light of day! I haven’t done such a poor job on a garment since I was 14 in Home Ec!
On coming home from my “clearing the air walk” I thought I’d make another one, but with a different jersey. This time I used some back cotton/lycra blend, also from the stash. Applying the elastic at the neckline was much better, without the slippness of the other jersey, the elastic was easier to control. I still got some skipped stitches but it was far better, as was the twin needle top stitching. I left the elastic out of the armholes all together, just turning under the 1cm seam allowance & using a twin needle to stitch it down. The hem was also stitched with the twin needle. I don’t think I have to say how much better this one has turned out! No swearing, no scaring the birds or wishing for the death of the fabric!
I still need to see if it will work on the missing Daughter No1 (still away visiting the boyfriend) but it looks good on No2.. Will I make another? A proper one? Yes, but I will be oh so careful about the fabric choice! Drapey stuff feels good, and looks good but is a pain in the be-hind to sew & I really don’t need the aggravation. If I buy more fabric to make this top again, it will definitely be of the controllable sort & I might try to source some fold over elastic & give that a try.
Has anyone else had any problems like this with fabric/elastic/etc? How did you overcome it or did the project end up flying out of the window?
The final instalment of Indie Pattern Month is the Fan-Girl, Ultimate Level. Now I don’t know about ultimate here, but I have managed to make up two Sewaholic patterns. Initially I thought about this combination, but then after all the other competitive sewing I wondered if I really needed to enter another competition.
I’d bought the Gabriola skirt pattern after spotting the most beautiful bird print chiffon from Croft Mill Fabric. I had great plans for this fabric and Daughter No2 draped herself in it when it arrived! The grey jersey for the Renfrew is from Croft Mill too, Caroline helped me greatly in chosing the right stuff, so a big thank you there!
The Renfrew tee has been made up by me a number of times now, this will be the fourth for Daughter No2! I cut the 6 on the shoulders, grading to a 2 at the waist and then out to a 4 at the hip. I also had to lengthen the shoulder by 2cm. She didn’t want the waistband part of the tee, so I ran a line of twin-needling 1cm from the raw edge and didn’t turn up a hem. The Renfrew, as always goes together well, it took a couple of hours on the overlocker, perfect for a quick make.
The Gabriola however, was a completely different kettle of fish. The print ran across the fabric, so I thought I’d cut the pattern pieces on the cross grain. This was not one of my brightest ideas, as it turns out. It was slippery as heck to cut and even worse to pin together. I used French seams everywhere except to attach the skirt pieces to the yokes. There I used a flat fell seam.
I wasn’t sure what to do with the waistband – at first I didn’t want to make it too stiff, but I was concerned that the chiffon wouldn’t be strong enough with just a fine interfacing. After asking for so ideas from Tashia on twitter which weren’t forthcoming, I decided to start with interfacing with the fine sheer polyester fusible. I bought a length of white 4cm wide grossgrain ribbon and handstitched the waistband to the ribbon with a herringbone stitch. This has worked out quite well & now I can be sure it’ll be secure enough with the button & buttonhole too.
Obviously the skirt needed to be lined, but with what.. The more common linings wouldn’t be suitable here, I couldn’t use an acetate or cupro and silk would have been too expensive and not suitable for a teenager to wear every day. I bought some white cotton muslin for the job, and used it for the toile too. This I constructed using Mock French seams so that I could alter it quickly and easily if I had to.
The cotton does alter the hang of the chiffon, the skirt would have been far more drapey with a more fluid lining, but Daughter No2 likes it as it is, and I am not unhappy with the result. I let the skirt hang for a day to see how much dropping there would be and had a pain of a time evening up the hem! In some places 6-7cm had to come off, and in others it was fine. I did away with the 2.5cm hem idea too, just using the rolled hem foot, but hemming the lining properly.
Daughter no2 loves the skirt, it’s so pretty and feminine and she cannot wait to wear it out & show it off to her friends! I love how it looks with her biker jacket and the grey for the teeshirt has worked so much better than the predictable blue would have.
*** UPDATE ***
Voting is now open and will close on Friday 5 July at midnight UCT. Click on the button below to go to the voting page where you’ll find all the entries.
Here we are, “P-Day”!! I got all garments finished last night, and all have been well received! So here they are, in no particular order…
Daughter No 2:
I used a turquoise and white floral print cotton and some vintage white lace with a heart design for the shorts, pattern cut from the trouser block. I used Ann Hagar this time, as I hadn’t used a block form her book yet. It was interesting… I have drafted so many trouser blocks from Winnifred Aldrich, and Ms Hagar does hers so completely differently! The top is drafted from the close-fitting bodice block, fullness added at the centre front and back and darts left un-sewn, naturally. The fabric is white cotton poplin, again with the vintage lace. To identify the fronts and back, I sewed on a small length of white ribbon to the front of the shorts to tie in a little bow. The top has a grouping of sequins and beads.
Daughter no 2 is presently re-re-re-reading the Twilight series, and is halfway through Breaking Dawn. The whole series has been very popular with her and her sister.
Daughter no 1:
For these pyjamas I used black cotton jersey for the top, with a length of black crochet trim from my ribbon box. The pattern was drafted from the close fitting bodice block again, with pleats added to the front neckline at 2cm intervals to add fullness. On reflection, I could make these wider than the 2cm I used, bit for now they’re fine. This top took a while to get right, as the trim needed much manipulation to take the various curves!! She is so pleased with it she’d like more – to wear out! In public! 😀
The shorts are made from a black, white and red cotton print left over from lining a handbag… The black lace with little circles matched the print quite nicely, and is also from my stash, and is a piece of vintage stuff I got from the Ironbridge Victorian Village a few years ago. Leave it to me to find the teeny tiny sewing shop!!
Daughter isn’t reading fiction at the moment. It’s crunch time for finishing A-level coursework and projects, so her reading material is for her Art coursework and her Extended Project Qualification.
And me…. I used a black and white paisley print cotton I liberated from a student at a fabric swap we had at our Sewing Sunday at the beginning of April for the trousers, and black cotton jersey for the top. I haven’t added any lace or other trims. The trousers were adapted from the trouser block from Winnie Aldrich, but for the top I had to use a Burda pattern. Just not enough time! I used Style no 113/4 from Burda 12/2008.
The top has pleats on the curved front neckline and raglan sleeves. Because I had no trim I used the overlock stitch on my sewing machine to make a little “picot” edge on all the jersey hems.
The pleats on the top make it really comfortable, and not too full. 10/10! Thanks Burda!
Natalie Bray is on the list because I want a new jacket pattern and I fancy a Kimono sleeve. She has the best instructions! Paper, Metal & Stitch is just to get some creative juices flowing.. I never have any time to actually play with this stuff! Hope you all have a fabulous pyjama party, and thanks to Karen for being such a great hostess!!