When summer comes calling, I love wearing my t-shirts, easy to pull on, easy to wear, it’s a no-brainer, really. When Montreux Fabrics announced on Instagram that they had a very short 50% discount off all jersey deal, I had to get some, despite having bought a decent amount of fabric at the NEC in March, some of it from them! I also had a stripe binge on, I love stripes! And blue. Especially in the summer, when my wardrobe staple colour of shades of greys turns to shades of blues. Once washed, dried and ironed, they languished for a bit while I finished up other projects – and tried to decide which patterns to use.
I have a couple of patterns I’ve bought for tees, and my own block. The fit on the Birgitte Basic tee is hard to beat, for me, anyway. I followed Maria’s instructions for the FBA and have ended up with a tee pattern that’s pretty darned good. So I decided two of the pieces would be Birgittes, one V-neck and one scoop. A couple of years ago I raised that scoop neck when I made some contrast colour tees, I like the height of that new scoop, especially if I’m going to be on the allotment, bending over…
I started with the V-neck, using a blue and white random stripe fabric – no pattern matching required!! Composition is Micro Modal and Elastene, it feels nice and cool to the touch. As all my adjustments were already done, all I needed to do was cut and sew! In hindsight, I should have payed a little more attention to exactly where all those stripes were going, but it’s too late now!
The second tee, scoop neck version was made using a navy blue and white stripe, which also comes in a red/pink. The fibre content is Viscose and elastane, and it’s another lovely fabric, lighter than the first. This time all stripes were pinned, I pinned the fabric together before cutting out, checked the stripes going across and lined up a white stripe at the underarm on the front, back and armhole pieces so it would all line up. I even pinned every second stripe (front and back) together and basted with the sewing machine before heading to the overlocker! Those suckers were NOT going to move…
And it worked! I always pin and then sewing machine baste the neckbands on t-shirts, I don’t trust myself enough with the overlocker to ensure everything is straight all the time, it’s much easier to maintain seam allowance width on the sewiing machine! So I stitch with the machine, then overlock. I use a 4mm twin needle for topstitching the neckbands, it looks better than the narrower one. I have a 2.5mm twin needle that’s used for hems.
All in all, a very successful pair of tees to wear this summer (and for the forseeable future). I managed another three tees, using different patterns, all new to me. Stay tuned to see them and find out how I got on!
ps: The links are just there for you to find what I used, no money has or will change hands! Or fabric…
We’re slowly winding down on summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, not something I’m relishing. I really miss those long southern summers and quick winters that were over just as soon as you were getting used to having to wear a jersey every day. Of course, the end of July appearing doesn’t mean I am ready to show you the last of what I made in the month, I’ve barely scratched the surface, and still not finished what I got up to in June!
But for today, I have an outfit I made for The Monthly Stitch, for Independent Pattern Month. It’s the last week of the fling and the challenge was to sew an outfit of at least two items. I’d already decided most definitely on one item, but it took a while to finalise the rest of the outfit.
I started with the Named Clothing Pulmu Pencil Skirt. In denim. I know, the pattern clearly states a lightweight fabric, but I rather fancied the idea of making it in something sturdy. I cut the 46 and after toiling it took in the side seams to remove the ease. I wanted to use a denim with 2% stretch and wanted a fit a little more like a pair of jeans. I also had to shorten it overall by 8cm. I took out 2 between the waistline and hip, 3 between the hip and the knee and another 3 between the knee and the hem.
In order to have a softer feel around the waist, the facings were cut from linen fabric from the scrap-box. A zip guard was cut from the same fabric and it looks good with the dark denim of the skirt. A decision was taken not to line the skirt. I used the overlocker to neaten all the raw edges and I toyed with the idea of binding the hem and the allowances of the vent edges. In the end I didn’t do it because it would mean using a third fabric and I didn’t like that idea. The hems are mitered with an uneven mitre to avoid any edges showing. They worked out really well. I like the skirt, it’s the first one to live in my wardrobe for about 10 years!
I decided against a woven for the top, going instead for a softer look with viscose jersey. I had some lovely soft grey viscose jersey left over from a project completed earlier in the year and decided to make the Birgitte Basic Tee from Maria Denmark. I can always do with more tee shirts! Going with the v-neck, short sleeve version, I thought I’d need to do something a little “more” with it. The morning I cut the tee out I’d needed to look out some sequin ribbons for a friend and I found a scrap of gold sequined fabric salvaged from a dress made ages ago. I thought “I wonder if this is useful, what would it look like on the grey?” and then, “ooo, I can put it on the shoulder!” I picked the left shoulder because if any bags are going to be carried, they go on the right.
The Birgitte Tee is very quick and easy to make, so it was only a couple hours work. I slightly stretched the jersey when I laid the sequined fabric on top so that it wouldn’t be pulling against the sequins once made up and being worn. Then I pinned the scrap in place and tacked within the seam allowance. I removed the larger sequins from the seam allowance and got sewing. I quite like the finished result, understated and simple, but with a bit of bling/sparkle.
To round off the outfit I actually bought a piece of fabric! Clothspot have this gorgeous black and silver striped ponte for a pretty good price. I had the Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing in mind. Originally I wanted to make it in a woven – I have a piece of black and cream silk that would look fabulous in the Saunio’s shape, but there wasn’t nearly enough of the fabric to make it work. The pattern is so quick to make! Even with making sure I had pins in every second stripe, it took a couple of hours in an afternoon to complete.
I widened the sleeve because I have “sturdy” arms(!) and knew, from the measurements, that this ponte would never have enough stretch to make the sleeves comfortable. I love the finished length of the sleeves, I usually push all my sleeves up, but these finish at the perfect spot! This is a great addition to my wardrobe, the colours go perfectly with everything else and I love the boxy shape and cropped length. I’m going to wear it loads with my Birkin jeans!
So there you have it, my outfit for the Indie Royalty category. I will try to catch up on the remains of June’s makes and the July stuff that didn’t fall into the Indie Month categories as soon as possible. I seem to really have got cracking with the sewing since getting my own sewing room, but the stash isn’t going down quite as quickly as I’d hoped. Best I get a move on then, Mr Not Compulsive has been dropping hints about never getting anything made for him and I have a good stash of Paul Smith shirtings!
Last month’s sewing, planned, executed and only slightly delayed in being blogged and shown off! Most of my plans have been to make more tops -for me. My stash had a few pieces of grey viscose jersey, all slightly different shades, ever so slightly different in handle and weight too. In addition to this, I’d got two grey fabrics in South Africa, one a knit with a texture in the knit. So you could call this my shades of grey adventure, but I’m not going there….
First up is a grey stripe viscose jersey knit from Croft Mill Fabrics, bought at the end of September. I opted to make the Maria Denmark Birgitte, using the three quarter sleeve and v-neck option. This really is a quick pattern to make, about an hour or two of your afternoon should suffice. My adjustments from the original pattern are simple, shorten the body by 3cm, and add an FBA.
Next, the textured sweater knit. I suspect this has a fairly large man-made fibre content, given how static it becomes with wear! The pattern I chose is 107 from Burdastyle January 2015. It has been on my to-make list for some time, one of those waiting for the perfect fabric, as always. This might not be the perfect fabric, the pattern probably really needs something with a bit more body, but this is what I had and I wanted to use it up!
I liked the shape, the neckline and the dropped shoulders. The pattern itself is simple, only 3 pieces. It promised to be another quick make! Now, if you really want to make it quick, add hem allowances to the sleeves and body pieces, and make a facing for the neckline. I wanted a contrast, both in texture and colour, so wanted to use the binding to add detail. I used some of the fabric left over from a previous (and again, unblogged) top.
It took a little while to get the binding on, but oh boy was it worth it! It wasn’t tricky, just needed time and concentration. I love the contrast and the way it highlights the curved detail on the sides and the neckline. That neckline is perfect for showing off a pretty pendant. I made this without any adjustments, deciding that there was enough ease in the pattern to make it fit, but completely ignoring the fact that the other half of the FBA adjustment still needed to be made. What was that about concentration??
Never mind, I have a cosy, comfy sweater I like to wear, and a stripy tee to wear under it! My grey tee shirt adventure will continue, I finally made a Lark tee!! That and more, next time, there might even be an update on the new list for March.
This is me making up all that jersey bought in March! One of my not-New Years Resolutions for this year is to make fabric up when I buy it, and not let it disappear into the stash, only to be found years later when I either no longer like it, or no longer need/want what I’d originally bought the fabric for!
So here we have 3 tees, two using Maria Denmark’s Birgitte tee and one a Burdastyle pattern. The first was hard on the eyes to make! I had seen an IG post by Wendy Ward of a black and white tee shirt, stripes, of course, where she’d used two stripes, one black and white & one white and black, in the one shirt. There is a diagonal seam across the front of the tee and all the stripes appear to line up because of the single use of colour. This gave me a good idea to use for the black and white viscose stripe jersey I’d picked up at the NEC.
Using the v-neck version of the Birgitte, I drew a line across the front from the right shoulder point to the left seam, about 10-15 cm from the hem. Then I gave that line a slight downwards curve, because we’re not flat. I added a line marking the top of a black stripe on the right front, and another on the left front to I’d be sure to cut the pieces on different stripe.
When it came to getting the stripes to match nicely along that diagonal line, I questioned my sanity a bit! I marked the seamlines with chalk and pinned each and every black-to-white stripe all the way down. Then I basted by hand and checked from the front. There were a few strpes that had moved, so I unpicked and re-basted those areas. Then I used a long stitch on the sewing machine and stitched with a narrow, long zig zag stitch. I had to shift a few lines again after they’d don a little walking, but overall the method seemd to work! Then I used the overlocker and went over the seam again, but overlocked slightly away from the stitched seam
I love the way the line jumps down the front, the lines on the right side seam have the same jump as on the front line, and they match perfectly on the left. I’m really happy with how this turned out, it could have been a plain stripey tee, but now its something that makes your eyes blink!
The second is much more straight forward. Again, it’s a piece from the purchase at the NEC but I can’t remember which stall I got this fabric from! I just used the v-neck version of the Birgitte tee and it was made with no fuss in a couple of hours.
The last of the quick makes was really a toile, now I guess it’s a wearable toile! I have a lovely piece of pale grey marl viscose jersey from Croft Mill Fabrics and I didn’t want to waste it on a pattern I decided I didn’t like in the end. I got this pale pink-silver viscose jersey at fancy silk Stores during the Easter hols to use as toile fabric, but as I kinda like the resulting garment, I might dye it a little darker.
The pattern is the top of Dress 105 in the March 2016 Burdastyle magazine. There are various versions in the magazine, different lengths, neckline treatments and fabric uses. I wanted a slightly longer, tummy covering version! This looked good in the photos, so I thought I’d give it a go, but lengthened the front a bit, just in case!
I’m in two minds about the outcome. I think the sleeves aren’t narrow enough, certainly not the last 10cm as they end up flapping around my elbows by the end of a day. It’s maybe a little too long and wide for my shape. I can see a slimmer person looking fabulous in it, just as it is. Or maybe this jersey is just too drapey. Or maybe the colour is just too pale, perhaps a quick spin in the washing machine with some grey dye would make it better.
I have worn this top twice now, and I don’t mind it, but it’s not a piece I’d be desperate to wear as soon as it was back in the wardrobe either. At the end of the day, it’s a decent wearable toile, I’m just not convinced I’ll use my lovely Croft Mill jersey to make another.
So the Birgitte Basic tee is turning out to be a very good basic tee-shirt pattern to use, I like the fit, it’s so quick to make up & it doesn’t require too much fabric! I bought the Lark Tee PDF (copy shop version, of course) to compare, but I haven’t got round to making anything up just yet. Perhaps when I’m back from my holiday with some fresh jersey.
Linen. It’s one of my all time favourite fabrics to use. It’s definitely put a spell on me! I bought this gorgeous sky and white herringbone linen from Ditto Fabrics in January for a pair of trousers. Unfortunately they don’t have any left for me to direct you to! I decided not to use one of my usual patterns with wide legs as I had two in herringbone already. I went with a tapered leg style, number 103 from Burdastyle magazine April 2013.
I overlocked all the pieces before working with them as the linen frayed quite badly. I made the 44, grading up to a 46 from the hip upwards. I like the pressed pleat down the front and am pretty happy with the shape of the leg, although I might still shorten them a bit. They’re already 6 cm shorter than the original pattern.
The tee is a modified Maria Denmark Birgitte tee. Fabric came in the same parcel from Ditto Fabrics as the linen, it’s a lovely soft navy blue viscose jersey. For the pattern adjustments, I flared out the sides by 3cm and added a shaped hem. Then I cut a back yoke and cut the lower back on the fold with enough to add a small inverted pleat in the centre. It’s just enough to have a bit more movement.
But I wasn’t happy with just one pair of trousers. Oh no, I had to order plain blue navy linen from Fabworks Online to make another pair to wear with patterned (striped) tees!
Worn here with my self drafted cowl drape tee, this is exactly why I made the plain pants! I realise I hadn’t gone into any detail about this tee, you saw it first back in January with my first pair of Birkin Flares. I’ve not worn it until now, but it’s going into my suitcase next week, along with the blue trousers. Both pairs of trousers and the blue tee form part of my “Sew Seasonal Wardrobe” for the Summer.
The tee is from my tee shirt block, I’d made the cowl drape pattern back in November last year to make something to wear to the dreaded wedding. This is the same pattern, but with short sleeves. The jersey is really something, also from Ditto Fabrics and from the same parcel as the blue jersey and sky herringbone linen! Of all the fabric I ordered on that occasion from Ditto Fabrics, I have nothing left to find its way into my stash. Nothing but scraps, it’s all been made up now! Yippee! Now what to make with the left-over bits…
I’ve been sewing up a storm – all the fabric bought from Fabworks has been made up! This is the last piece, a really nice jersey, although I’d call it a knit rather. I had thought it would make a fab tee, loved the colours and digital type print. When it arrived I realised it was thicker and weightier than I had pictured. I’ve still made a tee-shirt, but this will be more of a cooler weather tee than a hot weather one! I am most definitely counting it towards part of my Sew Seasonal Wardrobe.
I reverted to the Maria Denmark Birgitte tee, v-neck with three quarter sleeves. These particular sleeves are 4cm shorter than the pattern and 3cm narrower at the cuff. I find the pattern as drafted is a little too wide at the cuff, and I prefer them a little shorter too. I really like this pattern as a quick make, the fit works for me.
I am sorry the fabric isn’t softer and drapier than I imagined. However, if you were thinking of making a cardi, in particular the Wendy Ward Longley cardi, you could definitely use this!
This summer looks like it will be made mostly in blue and white, which is no bad thing. My colours in general tend to be blue, black, grey, white and a bit of beige/camel/tan thrown in for warmth. They all go together well and remain pretty classic. I know some people will think it’s all a bit boring, but I like it! 🙂
One of the items in my huge pile of goodies to make this season was an idea to use up some of the smaller, left over pieces of jersey from my original Birgitte and the Tessuti Mandy top. I had in mind a sort of double layer tee, with bits of the under layer peeking out from the upper, but an investigation of the remaining bits of fabric showed there wasn’t enough for my plan. So I thought of something with a “yoke” instead.
I was really happy with the fit of the Maria Denmark Birgitte, so decided to use that as a basis for my fiddling. I went with the scoop neck nee this time, lifting the neckline by 5cm in order to create the yoke area. I had to keep in mind there wasn’t much of the ivory jersey left, so couldn’t go too deep. I ran the line across the sleeves and back, keeping it all straight. It does mean that actually, when worn, the line on the sleeves angles upwards, but I’m good with that. I paired the ivory jersey with the remaining stripe – I obviously forgot what that tiny stripe does to my eyes!! It has a lovely drape so I thought I’d use that in this tee. I flared the tee out at the sides by 5cm at the hem, creating a slight Plantain silhouette.
For the sleeves, I used the long sleeve from the Birgitte, but then shortened it to the 3/4 length. The reason why I ddn’t just use the 3/4 sleeve is the shape – the given pattern has a slight trumpet shape which I didn’t want this time. Just straight sleeves for this version.
I’m pretty happy with the result. I think I’ll take the sides of the scoop in more next time, possibly raise the back neckline by a couple of centimetres too, but these are not earth shattering alterations. I’ve worn this tee loads already and it’s really fitted in well with my current wardrobe. I have quite a few other tops to show off, somehow the sewing has completely taken over the reporting of the sewing! There are some tops I made back in September in a rush, fearing I wouldn’t be able to touch a sewing machine for ages after my wrist operation, like the last time. Thankfully a different surgeon has meant a totally different experience and I was back to sewing within a week!! Miracle! So stay tuned, there are more tops coming this way…
With my sewing plans all laid out for easy viewing, I decided pretty quickly on what I wanted to start with. It will come as a surprise to you that it is neither a Burda pattern, nor a self-drafted one! In fact, what I wanted to start with wasn’t even a piece of fabric that had made it onto the pile this year, nevermind the season. So much for not getting distracted!!
I’d given in to purchasing the Merchant & Mills workbook after seeing a couple of items online that I liked (and a couple I wasn’t entirely sure of). I checked images and some blog posts, looking at some of the reviews of the book itself, not just individual patterns. The one thing I couldn’t see was the sizes the book catered for. They state the patterns go to size 18 and I managed to find some published photos of some sort of measurements, but they were never clear enough to see exactly what they were. I thought I’d take a gamble & get it anyway, figuring if it wasn’t going to work for me I could always sell it.
I rather liked the wrap top, called Heron. Wrap tops don’t always work terribly well on fuller busted figures. I’d seen this post while conducting my research and figured if it worked on this lady, it wouldn’t look too terrible on me! I also decided on a linen to make it in. Deep in the fabric cupboard, in the linens box, languished a beautiful, light weight, warm grey linen. This is one of those pieces that has a slight sheen to it, no slubs and the most perfect smooth texture. It’s been hanging around for about 8 years, too gorgeous to make just any old thing from, but perfect for the Heron top.
The book arrived and was immediately devoured. There are patterns I will make, others that I shudder at. The overall asthetic is a bit arty teacher who doesn’t own an iron, but each to his/her own! I did spot a problem though. On each pattern page there is a helpful table of finished measurements, diagrams of pattern pieces, fabric requirements etc. Nowhere could I find a size table. Nowhere. Please tell me what the point is of providing finished measurements when you have no starting point??
I checked the Merchant and Mills website, perhaps it was there on the patterns you buy individually.. Nope, only finished measurements. In frustration I googled “size table for merchant & mills patterns” which lead me to a PDF I could download and lo and behold, sizes!! Am I going on too much about this? Perhaps, but it annoyed me that it wasn’t in the book.
Apart from that, this isn’t going to be a review of the whole book, I have only made one pattern so far!! From the size table and finished measurements of the Heron I chose the 18 & made a toile in a lightweight calico. I wasn’t worried too much about the fit in this exercise, but the look. Sometimes wrap tops feel too enveloping and claustrophobic. It seemed ok but I needed to make the ties longer, much longer!
The patterns are easy to trace, nothing like the Burda mazes. Markings are shown with little rectangles and seam allowances are shown as notches. Most are the standard 1.5cm but on this pattern the side seams are 2cm to allow the armhole openings to appear neater when topstitched. It’s a really easy pattern to make, not taking long at all. I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer polyester interfacing on the front facing and shawl collar piece, this gave the fabric just enough body. The ties were short for me, I lengthened the short, left piece by 10cm and added that length to the right piece.
I had it finished just in time to wear to Daughter No1’s graduation ceremony in Birmingham at the beginning of September. I wore it with a plain white Marks & Spencer tee underneath and my pale linen trousers made just before I went on holiday. After lots and lots of sitting during the day, here it is just before lunch…
I had thought it would look pretty good with a longer sleeved tee underneath, I think black, grey or white would work pretty well, so the next item to be made from the table of goodies was an off white viscose jersey. I chose the Maria Denmark Brigitte tee, bought with a birthday discount. A standard tee, nothing fancy, I chose the 3/4 slightly trumpet shaped sleeves and v-neckline. It needed an FBA to fit across the bust but otherwise was just fine. This is the first time I’ve made a Maria Denmark pattern for myself, & I’m hoping to use the sleeves from this pattern for the Day to Night Drape top.
Putting the Heron & Brigitte together works fabulously well, and even better with my wide legged black linen Burda trousers!
Ok, I know it could be longer, especially in the front, and Kimono sleeves always look funny on the fuller busted, so I don’t think I’d get it too much better than this. But I’ve worn this top a few times now and can’t really complain about anything. It also irons really well, & with linen that’s a massive bonus!
That’s the Brigitte tee sticking out, I like these sleeves very much, and may only change the length of the body of the tee. For me I feel it’s just a wee bit too long, around 5cm or so could easily be lost from the length. I do want to make anther tee to wear with this top, one with long, tighter fitting sleeves, probably in black. I might also make another Heron top! I found, buried deep in the ironing basket, a piece of dark grey wool with a fine mustard/gold pinstripe that would look fabulous in this pattern! (Heaven knows where – or when – I got that fabric!)
Two out of 21 there, my next project was already chosen! Here’s a glimpse…
More wrapping, we’ll see whether it works on my frame or not!
Round 2 of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month competition is in full swing, this week it’s separates. I had considered all sorts of things for this one, but as I’d started cutting a Gabriola for Daughter No1 before my operation (and got no further) I decided I’d finish that and whip up a suitable top. She loves the Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top and as her sister appropriated the other grey jersey version I made, it made perfect sense to sew up another.
This is the first Gabriola I’ve made for Daughter No1, I got her to try on Daughter No2’s Winter Gabriola for size, and it nearly fell straight off! Ok – size 0 with adjustments then… I made the smallest size and then took in an extra 3cm from the waist, grading down to just past the hips. The Sewaholic patterns are drafted with more hip ease, but it was not needed here. Other adjustments were to shorten the waistband – naturally, but I think that next time I’ll make it narrower too. You’ll see in the collage that although I made the waist considerably smaller, the skirt still sits below her natural waist, causing drag marks at the back. I might even draft a shaped waistband, it may fit better. I also needed to shorten the skirt. I took out 12cm in the length and I think it’s perfect, long enough to be a proper maxi, but not so long that it’ll drag in the dirt.
The fabric she’d chosen is cotton lawn with a “hippy” print, a muted colourway with paisleys and half moon shapes. It was bought from Stitch Fabrics at the NEC earlier this year, with the specific intention of making a Gabriola. I love the colours and print, it’s going to look great with a number of tops from her wardrobe and has that washed out, faded summer look. It’ll also soften with washing and I think it’s going to be well worn this season!
As far as the Drape Top goes, I just cut the pattern exactly as I’d done before as I’ve made a fair few versions of this pattern now. The fabric is a dark grey jersey from my stash – never ending jersey! I never use the elastic on the armholes, it just doesn’t work with my sewing machine! As it is, the application around the neck is about as much as the poor old thing can handle. Now I thought I’d try an FBA this time around, but on checking the instructions for doing on on the website the measurements weren’t different enough. But when I look at the garment I’m sure it needs one. Daughter No 1 is happy with it though, the drag lines don’t bother her at all.
So there you have it, a bit of a stashbust and a quick sew, that’s my entry for the Separates category.
Up next is a bit of fun with a super stretchy viscose jersey, it took all my patience!!
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…