Edith Edith Edith

Edith, Edith, Edith

The trouble with having had a summer sewing bender is that I’ve got lots of blogging to do to catch up with my productivity.  I mean, I’m being forced to cluster makes together in order to blog about them before the seasons totally change!  And why is that a problem?  Well, maybe it’s not, but you do end up having lots to read about & even more photos than normal….  Beware!

Edith dress

OK, today we’re talking about the Edith dress or blouse  by Maria Denmark.  Remember I made it previously here as part of my Oonapalooza outfit?  Well so enamoured of it was I that I hastily made up another in white repurposing a white formal ladies’ shirt given to me by my Mum – it has a lovely embroidered “bib” front & the quality of the cotton is too fine to hand over to charity when I could re-use it myself.

The shirtThe shirt

I had thought I would do a simple upcycle to it – maybe cutting off the sleeves, keeping the high collar, but after discovering what an essential style the Edith is, it felt as if a plain white version would be incredibly useful.   Effectively I cut out all of the Edith pattern pieces from an existing garment- there was no refashioning here – just unimaginative pin & cut.  There were elements that needed a bit of imagination to eek the shirt out to provide enough fabric – eg the front facings were cut from the sleeves but in two pieces & had to be joined (but that’s inside & doesn’t show).  The shoulders also do not extend quite as far as the pattern designs them to extend.  BUT I did manage to cut out two fronts with the embroidery placed in the mirror positions of each other.

Edith blouse details

There were not a lot of scraps left over from this shirt.  I even recycled the buttons – the cuffs & the collar both had fancy buttons with some kind of black centre & marcasite style detailing.  But I needed 5 for the front, so alternated them with the plain buttons also from the shirt.

edith blouse

This top delivers as a useful wardrobe addition – a sleeveless white shirt is always handy as a mixer & it’s so summery as well.  It seems to always be in the wash (or being worn).  So a hit there.

After two such successful blouses,  I was desperate to make the dress & raided the stash to bring out some adorable lawn that I had been saving for *the right make* and at last I was able to release it from the cupboard & put it to use.  Bearing in mind you need enough length of fabric to cut both front & back in one piece there was just enough.  It’s just as quick to make it as a dress as it is the blouse.  Just slightly longer seams ;-)

Edith dressEdith as a dress

I rapidly constructed it & eagerly matched some buttons using the turquoise in the pattern to add a little bit of interesting contrast.

Edith dressI love this dress to wear!  It is the most comfortable hot weather dress ever – it looks cute & shapely, yet, since it doesn’t have a tight fitting waist (& remember I avoid waistbands in the heat) it is sooooo coooool.

Edith dress

I am a little disappointed that I made it later in the summer to be honest – as I feel as if I missed out wearing it through some of the hottest days & I would have loved to have swanned around in it more.  I reckon I could get away with this as a work dress too with different sandals.

Edith dress

I can also see this dress in linen, can’t you?  Particularly a lovely navy linen with red buttons?

Edith dress

Now the last Edith is the Edith blouse.  As a consequence of the white Edith success, I thought that another solid coloured Edith would be most useful & found some sky blue linen type fabric that I had recently bought from one of the Abakhan rummage bins.

Edith blouse chambray

You know, there is not a lot to say about this one apart from the detailing I added.  I used some self made bias (out takes from my Liberty Laurel ) to bind the armholes.  I also found some cute white flower buttons to strike a girlie contrast.

Edith blouse details

It’s also maybe come a bit late in the season as we are all surviving plummeting temperatures & rather a lot of rain.  Still, I have managed to wear it.  Now look out!  The following photos were taken by my very own David Bailey (my photographer father who now has a new camera!!)

Edith blouseI’m wearing a shortened version of my polka dot rick rack culottes too.

Edith blouse

 

This pose made my Dad chuckle, hahaha!!

I just didn’t wear them as they were, so opted to lop off the scallops at the hem to make them into “shorts/ culottes”.

Edith blouseHere you can see how the Edith nips in at the waist & has flattering & practical slightly extended shoulders.

Edith blouseGuess what people?  I adore the Edith blouse – it could be my OWOP, but I’m still vacillating ….I love its rounded turn back collar, its sleevelessness – its extended shoulders, its nipped in waist.  It is a doll of a pattern, but in terms of OWOP, I’m anticipating autumn…..  What do you think?

Hepworth dress

Mother’s Pride dress- my second Hepworth- THE summer dress of 2014

Remember last week I said I had two special dresses to share with you?  Well this is the second one.

Hepworth dress

I’d been given some money for my birthday back in February from my parents knowing that I would get most pleasure from buying fabric with it.  How well they know me! It was about the time that Roisin had shown off her Northland Row dress and I swooned over the fabric she’d used (Alexander Henry Golden Garden) .  This has an oriental feel to it- and being a lover of orientalise decorative art sought it out.  Strangely enough I found a one off seller on Etsy, in Canada, that was cheaper than buying it from the UK.  ( I can be such a skinflint sometimes!!)
I chose red because I love red, it is one of my basics, my neutrals.  And the fabric arrived and was kept with reverence, being accorded the privilege of space in one of my fabric drawers.  ( At the moment my stash cannot fit in the drawers I have, and subsequently, recent purchases reside in piles on the floor of my loft room. )

Hepworth dress

Once I had completed my whiteboard sewing programme, I fancied I would be inspired to make something for my youngest son’s graduation.  This was not planned for, it was not on the whiteboard- I had let myself off the hook since I’ve clearly got plenty of choices to wear to a graduation should I not feel like making anything.  Luckily I know myself well enough to realise that given a swatch of time, I would be compelled to make a new frock. And serendipitously the culmination of ‘special fabric gifted by my parents’ and ‘special occasion for a proud Mum’ formed into this dress.

Hepworth dress
This fabric being super special needed a plain fronted style I was thinking.  Possibly a Sewaholic Cambie.  But I didn’t choose that, I chose the Hepworth dress by Sinbad and Sailor.  Since making my first version of this dress I have probably worn it more than any of my other dresses to work as it is the perfect work appropriate summer dress: classic shaping, formal enough neckline, comfortable roomy but flattering a line skirt plus pockets.  And I get compliments every time I wear it.  So with this success in mind, the Hepworth was the ideal pattern to showcase the awesome fabric strewn with cherry blossom and the occasional Chinese character.  And I knew it would look a just a tad more formal for a graduation, but not be too formal that I’d wear it infrequently.

Hepworth dress

I cut the pattern pieces out carefully, with the fabric’s pattern in mind, especially the centre bodice piece ( remember the style has princess seams at the front but darts at the back).  Somehow though I cut the back pieces on the fold. I mean who cuts the back pieces on the fold? It meant that any pattern matching I thought I was doing went completely awry when I cut them up in half.  Thinking about it after the event ( aren’t we all so good at that- realising what other options we had when it turns out to be too late!) yes, after it was too late, I realised I could have had an awesome back and front with uninterrupted cherry blossom twigs if I had moved the zip to the side. But I didn’t clearly.  Which is even more galling considering I even cut it in error on the fold.  Der brain strikes again.

Hepworth dress

So sewing this up was great- I do love the facings, see what I wrote about them last time. I had some alterations to make to the centre back this time- not sure whether I did this last time, or cut it too big this time, whatever was the case, I still had too much going on at the CB bodice as well as a little but too much at the upper side seams.  And let me ask you a question.   Have you ever been caught out by lack of notions at critical points in the sewing process?  I was making this dress up at breakneck speed, only to discover that I had no red dress zips in my stash. What!! No zip?? no time for a special trip to town, I had to look around for a willing victim. A cushion cover sacrificed itself for the greater good, but to be honest,the zip is only just big enough and I could barely get the dress over Barbarella’s shoulders- mine are a little more squidgy, but I shall be swapping it for a longer one when I get the chance.

Hepworth dress

So for the ceremony itself I also paired it with my recent black velvet bolero & was that a match made in heaven?  I had no idea boleros were just so useful, but it certainly suits this style of dress I think.  And the black marabou peps up the special factor even more.

Hepworth dress

And I know the question you are dying to ask me, did I blub as my youngest born, dressed in possibly the smartest suit I have ever seen, with brand new haircut & shiny shoes, did I blub as he strode across the stage to shake hands with the Chancellor & receive his degree?  Well, not at that exact moment, but beforehand a slight moistening to my eye could be detected by anyone looking close enough (but no one did ;-) )  No, for that all important moment let me warn you…do not attempt to take a photograph to mark the occasion.  I fell into the same trap for this time as for my first born – too busy trying to capture the moment (& ending up with a poorly lit blurred back shot) – when I could have just enjoyed the moment itself.  But let’s be honest, that moment is just a symbol of the end point of all of the hard work, development of independence & confidence, new friendships & lots of new skills that studying at Uni 180 miles away brings.  The best part of the celebration was what we did as a family before & after, but it’s always lovely to be part of a little pomp & ceremony, a bit of a do, isn’t it?

Hepworth dress

OK back to the dress.  The good news?  This dress is also getting worn a lot during my work week, just like its predecessor.  Its cut & styling is smart enough for summer office wear & I love it.  So glad that I made it in time for a very special day & then for the rest of the summer.  I think this Hepworth pattern is possibly my dress pattern of 2014 you know …last year it was everyone’s favorite, Simplicity 2444, this year, the Hepworth, judging by how many wears both dresses are getting.

Hepworth dressYESSSSSS!

What’s your summer dress of 2014?

PS apologies about the trashy slip ….clearly I looked a whole heap better on the day!

VNA top feature

VNA Top the third

Hello you lovelies!  Another catch up post- this time for the third VNA top I made but forgot to photograph all those weeks ago.  I won’t up much about it, as that’s already done here.

VNA top

But suffice to say, this is my fave version & I have found myself wearing it the most.

VNA top

It’s got wicking blue lycra paired with non wicking drapey “mystic girl” fabric.  I’ve used this before for leggings as well as a running skirt, & I love its quirkiness.   But both of these fabrics have about the same amount of drape, and they are similar thickness – perfect to pair together from a practical point of view.

VNA top

I cut the top out with regard for how the pattern would be placed – here I have mystic lady on my belly, whilst at the back- butterflies & baubles – I like to think they are crystal balls!

I’ve written about the clever design of the VNA top & how you can get different looks in how you use contrast fabric & even mock piping here, if you are interested in more of the VNA top’s  sewing details.

VNA top

What’s it like to wear non-wicking lycra in the heat?  Well, with a style like the VNA that is sleeveless & racer back & with light weight fabric like this that drapes, I wouldn’t know that the mystic lady fabric is prone to superheat & super sweat.  However, some of my other tops, made out of slightly thicker lycra, non wicking again, fit closer to the body & for me are a tad too hot for the hot days – I like a little bit of air flow around my poor suffering bod.  Those I reserve for less steamy days.

VNA top

You’ll see that this version’s blue matches with my Duathlons – but in a subtle way.  Once again, despite the ability to match this top with the other leggings/ running skirt – that is not how I like to wear it – I can’t be doing the whole matchy matchy run kit.  Well.  Not generally.  But I could if I wanted !!

And I also have to add, that these Duathlons have been my most worn summer shorts- perfect length, I love the pockets in the sides too – just right for iPhone to be crammed in to deliver me my happy tunes.  I reckon my Fehr Trade wardrobe’s doing me well for my running style (groan!)

Oh yes.  I have done something insanely stupid.  I have signed up for three half marathons in September, starting with the Great North Run.  Looking back on it dispassionately to understand just why I did it, It seems that my lack lustre & excuse ridden  training over the summer required me to scare my veritable running pants off myself in order to get my lycra clad a*s in gear & get out there & get running.  It’s worked – nothing like fear as a motivator!

No PB predicted mind you, but hopefully I can be in a good place for training better over the winter this time ….we shall see.

Post post addition.  In response to some queries in the comments, this is where I get wicking lycra from-  Ukfabricsonline who just happen to be my sponsor, but I have been buying wicking lycra  from them long before that venture started – they have a mixture of different types- some solids, some animal print (oh yes!) & some less stretchy stuff that is good for looser t shirts & shorts (not leggings.

The blue fabric used in this top was from the Sewing Chest – also supplies wicking lycra.  The crazy lady fabric is not wicking & I bought it from some European site at a very good price (but memory fails me on that one for links, sorry!)

Feature

Vintage Pattern Pledge: Vintage sari dress McCalls 4007

I am catching up with posting about my summer makes & I have two special dresses to blog about & have finally done the photos…but I struggled to chose which one to post about today.  So I shall go for the one I made earliest!

McCalls 4007McCalls 4007 from the 1990 s. A vintage pattern, surely? One for my vintage pattern pledge. With this pattern you can make a combination of outfits from a wrap dress with different sleeve lengths, converting to a top with elastic waisted trousers. It’s got more than a hint of the east about it.

McCalls 4007
I’ve had this pattern for years.  I bought it new in the 1990s it must have been. I’ve said before how I’ve got a fondness for eastern styling, hence why this patten appealed to me.  But all I had ever made from it were the elastic waisted trousers as pj bottoms.   But it was always the sleeveless knee length dress that appealed to me.   Why I hadn’t got round to making it is anyone’s guess, but for some reason I had lovingly gazed at it, lovingly identified pattern pieces for the dress, but done nothing more except cut the pattern pieces to my size.

McCalls 4007
It was to become yet another component of my summer sewing bender, fuelled by a spontaneous urge to make something new for the By Hand kick starter thank you party. I also knew, deep down, that some fabric that had also resided in my stash a fair few years was also part of this spontaneous sew- Fest.

McCalls 4007
My friend’s mother in law had given her loads of her old saris, so many that my friend had asked me to take some for myself to make use of. I’d used them so far as special linings for work skirts, reserving the shocking pink and gold sari though as I had always imagined it in dress form. This sari is silk, AND this sari is pre-loved, vintage if you like and has its own story.

McCalls 4007

Much like Dawn O’Porter is encouraging vintage virgins to embrace the history buying vintage brings by refashioning and altering clothes that used to belong to participants’ grandmothers, aunts, mothers.

McCalls 4007

I was also feeling the history this sari brought me.  I had met its owner on a few occasions and she was a big family energy, happiest cooking up huge Spicy Indian feasts for feeding people brought together to celebrate significant events. This sari would have seen similar action I felt: it shows wear marks where some of the fabric is thinned and the odd marks on it too, like pen perhaps.

McCalls 4007

I wonder how many birianis it’s already seen.  This fabric needs looking after: in some places the interfacing shows through the thinning fabric. It is gentle and this type of wrap style dress showcases the beauty of it without forcing it into shapes that will strain the fabric and put it under a stress that it couldn’t cope with.

 

McCalls 4007 Although I have used parts of other saris, I’ve never made anything as long as a dress and it was interesting to discover the design of the sari’s pattern along the length of the fabric with one highly decorated fringed and golden horizontal edge – the end that would be on display when worn over the shoulder. In between this end and the other, less embellished edge, there is a pattern of woven golden suns/ dots , but interestingly the density of the rows, the distance they have between them, gets wider and wider the further you travel from the highly embellished edge.  You can see in the pic below, but I didn’t think to take a picture of the fabric before cutting it up.  What a der brain.

McCalls 4007
The sari is also woven with fancy borders along the selvedges, but all I could use these for were the ties used around the waist for the wrap belt.

So the fabric is special, and had meaning, I think I’ve established that.  I’ve also shown that the choice of dress pattern whilst being eastern in styling, also suited the fabric’s fragility.  What was the sewing like? Well, it all came together very quickly.  The dress is made up of a single back piece and two fronts. The front neck edge is on the bias and needs stay stitching – but that’s about the extent of the challenge.  It has an interfaced collar to which the waist ties are attached.  The armholes are also faced with self bias, which works so well for a delicate fabric such as this.

I used French seams throughout.

McCalls 4007

But managed to leave the gap in the side seam for threading the belt tie through.  I wasn’t sure if that would work, but with some care, it is possible to locate the gap then poke the tie through it without bringing too many raw threads to the outside world….

I managed to sew it in a couple of hours, mostly in one evening with just a bit of handsewing the next morning.

McCalls 4007

It’s a gorgeous dress to sew and I really like the style to wear- straight down and cool and cute for summer.  I like the idea of wearing it with flip flops, it’s one of those classic summer dresses that doesn’t matter which decade it was sold in.
I particularly love that it is the perfect style for this very special fabric.  The dress showcased the gold spotted cerise sari in its simplicity. A true gem.  It is a precious dress – I even hand washed it (gasp!)  Unheard of for me who has a washing machine with a handwash programme …

Has anyone else sewn this pattern?  I’m intrigued.  Let’s look at it again.

McCalls 4007

From the pattern pictures it looks as if you can achieve a boxy look by not tying the tie completely around your waist, but that would look total pants on me.  I also LOVE the longer black version.  Doesn’t it look the height of elegance?

Guest post at Handmade Jane on scarf styling for OWOP

Hi de Hi !

Just a little signpost to something I’ve put together after an invitation from the lovely Handmade Jane in the lead up to OWOP.  I was asked about writing something about my personal style, & as you know it is rather eclectic, but contains red, turquoise, stripes, florals & polka dots for cohesion :-) .  I chose to approach scarf styling & how scarves are my outfit-saver when feeling drab or un-cheeky.

 

Have a look if you haven’t already.

And as for OWOP (One Weel One Pattern).

I am being rather silent on that, but will be taking part.  I have just got to decide what to go for as the one pattern I wear all week.  It’s a toughie – I can tell you it’s going to be between:

Maria Denmark’s Edith blouse & dress

Colette Patterns Laurel dress & top

Sew Over It Ultimate trousers. 

Lonsdale

Minerva Make: Sewaholic Lonsdale in Gingham

Yes you heard me – a Sewaholic Lonsdale in gingham!   That was my plan for my August Minerva make.  And what’s even more of an achievement is that we’ve had a Lonsdale kind of summer (well in parts!)

I got the making of my August Minerva make just in time for some Cornish wear. And that often means that I can ask my Dad to be my photographer. I know he loves taking photos with his posh camera but rarely has any willing subjects. I like to oblige ;-) & so try to keep a new make to be photographed by him when I visit. So thanks Dad – your photos are ace!

Lonsdale

OK, onto the dress. This is the Sewaholic Lonsdale & it is the first time I have made it. I chose some simple purple gingham from Minerva’s vast range – with a small enough check that didn’t need to be matched (hands up for laziness) & gingham is such a light fabric I knew it would make a great summer sundress. Purple? Why not. I know here in UK gingham can be associated with summer school uniform dresses, but I have never seen purple…..in my very limited experience! And I like purple of course!

Sewing the Lonsdale was a treat – I love Sewaholic patterns as they are always well illustrated & steps are described with just the right amount of detail. I think there is an online sewalong as well…but I didn’t need that.

Lonsdale

This dress has a self lined bodice (as the straps are part of the bodice which are knotted & any contrast lining would show). The straps tie at the centre front & create the amount of gathering you need at the top of the bodice for fit & modesty (genius) & are designed to go over your shoulders & slide into loops & tie in a bow at the back.

Lonsdale

Well, I did not order enough fabric for the bow, but wanted the straps to be fixed & sewn into place. It also has a floaty flared A line style skirt with front pockets & a centre front seam. You can make the Lonsdale dress with shorter straps, like me, with 3m of 112cm wide fabric.

Lonsdale

I whipped this dress up easily. I have changed shape since my last Sewaholic dress & forgot that Sewaholic’s patterns are designed for the pear shaped woman. I think I am still a bit in between two sizes for top/ bottom but did not actually need to take in my usual wedge out of the CB seam allowance. This was an alteration I had to undo (after these photos were taken) Fancy that!

Lonsdale

This dress is so comfortable to wear – it is the perfect summer dress! The fabric really is cooling & all that skirt floating is light & breezy.

Lonsdale Look at that blue in the sky ….heavenly!

I also love having my shoulders out….I can honestly say I don’t have another dress like this, & I love it.

Lonsdale

And don’t you think the gingham gives it just a semi retro vibe?

Lonsdale I’m telling you what- it’s being packed for my next long weekend in Cornwall this summer …

Ultimate trousers

Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers x3

Boy you’re in for a bumper blog post today!  Not one, not two, but THREE new makes – from the new  Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern.  I will be showing you the “test” shorts, a looser fit linen pair of Ultimates & then my favorite ditsy floral Ultimates.  So let’s begin.  I’m afraid it is a longer than normal post with even more pictures.  Can you stand it?  maybe not.  You can always tune out :-)

Ultimate trousersUltimate trousersUltimate trousersI was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the Ultimate trousers by Sew Over It.
When I saw the design I was ever curious, after my Colette Clover fitting histories how would the Ultimate Trousers measure up? I noticed that unlike the Clovers, the Ultimate trousers do not require stretch fabric.  Hmm. Interesting I thought.  And to be honest, I couldn’t wait to be let loose on them, thinking that the shorts would be a good test make and potentially offer up something for my holidays.

Ultimate trousers

Never being over cocky with trouser making I opted to make a test pair of shorts out of some striped drill that I’d used to make my Vintage vogue ( Butlins) jacket.  Shorts are ace- they do not take much fabric at all! Bargain!  I whipped these shorts up, and tried them on before adding the zip and facing.  How strange. They appeared to fit with the exception of needing to take out a mini 1″ long wedge at CB and CF.  Putting the zip in next, trying on before adding the facing, all was looking good still.  I was floating on a cloud! They really are the ultimate trousers for me. I like the way that they sit an inch below your belly button.  The crotch line is *my* crotch line. I wouldn’t assume that it will be right for everyone but it works perfectly for me.  I went ahead and got the shorts made up to hem them.  They have cute turn ups which means that there is a big hem allowance to enable this.  The only thing that didn’t work for me with the fit of these shorts was the width of the leg, at hem line, with the added bulk of the turn up.  Clearly my over muscular runner’s hamstrings ( !!!!!) made the leg width at the point at which the turn ups sit, too snug.

Ultimate trousersUltimate trousers

Once I took the turn up off, they were fine.   So even with no revisions to the leg width they would make a cool pair of almost Bermudas too?!  But not in this fabric.  I will be making them with turn ups & adding a smidgeon to the lower width of the leg as I really like the length with the turn up & they are such a good fit.

Ultimate trousers

And not as a suit. Hahahaha

So what did I make next? Why, a pair of longs! I made them out of some kind of linen mix bought with Rachel and Jane at an off the beaten track drapers near Goldhawk road.  Exceedingly cheap and dispensable should it not work out.  It’s got a nice stripe to it, and it was initially going to be a BHL Victoria blazer….

Ultimate trousers

But then spontaneity kicked in & they were destined for Ultimates!

Ultimate trousers

Due to a. My runner’s leg discoveries as shorts and b.being linen I didn’t want the trousers to be too tight and bag and sag in an unsightly fashion, so when I cut them out I added a little bit to the leg width from upper thigh all the way down.

Ultimate trousers

And made these trousers as per instructions.  Except using a lapped zip as I didn’t have an invisible zip. I think they’re great. Once again, even though the fabric has a different quality, is thinner and less robust, the crotch line works for my ‘undercarriage’ ( that is such a granny phrase, isn’t it!!)

Ultimate trousers

I realise I have made them with a looser leg, but that is by my design and I still think they look sharp- I didn’t want a tight pair of linen trousers, remember.

Ultimate trousers

And I am loving what the striped linen pairs with. This is my Liberty top which I love wearing because it always reminds me that the fabric was a gift from my boys….

Now for those Dandy trews shown at the very head of this post. My latest pair of Ultimates. And boy are they groovy – I’ve made them tighter in the leg & they are dandy with a capital “D”! Party pants!

Ultimate trousers

I made these using some ditsy floral twill I scored on Ebay yonks ago, thinking at the time that I’d make a Colette Ginger skirt or a floral jacket with it.

Ultimate trousers

And then came along the Ultimates. This fabric is light weight enough for summer to early autumn wearing, but firm enough to get a bit closer in the leg without suffering from too much strain.

Ultimate trousers

It was a case of fit as you go – sew them, try them on, pin a bit more out of the leg until happy. And I am happy. Boy am I happy with these funky pants.

Ultimate trousers

And what gets me is that they fit so nicely, are tightly fitted trousers, but have no lycra whatsoever – yet are supremely comfortable. It is a revelation I tell you.

Ultimate trousers

Now if you are a little cautious about making trousers this is a simple pattern to make up, & what’s more there is a sewalong on the Sew Over It blog guiding you through each stage. Might make it easier for you to take the plunge!

Me? I see many more of these to come- I am thinking a solid colour for work, & maybe using some bright blue denim- it has lycra in it though, so I may reserve that for trousers that need it! Plenty of time to think on it though…..

feature hudsons

Rural Hudson Pants

Gawd When I saw these casuals appearing across Instagram even during pattern testing I went weak at my (rural) knees. Is it the unfulfilled dancer in me that could imagine looking all hip & super caj in sweats with style? I envisioned Irene Cara style off the shoulder cut off sweat top (ironically emblazoned with “RELAX” perhaps) & some of the coolest sweats adorning my undancer’s pins.

hudson pants These Hudson pants have been created by   True Bias, who describes her blog as “urban sewing” & therefore I guess in the case of True Bias “urban” reads “uber cool”, because she is.  She has what I think of as nonchalant style – she doesn’t look as if she has to try – to look amazing  – & in inspirational handmade clothing too.  Anyway, in case I appear sycophantic, I’ll move on!

Floral hudson pants

These pants have two lengths: full length & calf length with neat front pockets, wide waistband & leg cuffs. They are described as “The piece of clothing that you will wear all of the time.” (Agreed) and have an “urban fit”.   Being from the West Country I wondered if I qualified, if I could carry it off. Coming from the West Country therefore I brought a rural them to my urban Hudsons. Yep. I went floral.

hudson pantsI went off map a bit & used some light weight jersey that I had bought ages ago from Birmingham’s Rag market. It was destined for a wrap dress that was never fulfilled.   The instructions advise using a mid weight knit with 40% stretch so I knew that I was taking a risk as this could potentially be a bit too light. I think I got away with it though. I’d say the waistband is a little fluted & could do with being made out of something more robust, but I’m not bothered…

hudson pants

I was overjoyed at how easy they are to make. Even including the pockets they whipped up in a couple of hours – but with details like this look far more involved. I used my overlocker for everything apart from the top stitching along the waistband (performed using a narrow zig zag).

Hudson pants

I fancied contrast bands, & originally made these up with a nice flash of red at the top of the pockets (retained) & at calf cuff & waistband. But that only made them look like pyjamas & definitely not “urban” – more nocturnal!

hudson pants

I hastily took off the offenders & replaced with black. I think they look a lot better for doing that (despite fluting mentioned above). I’ve threaded black grosgrain ribbon through the waistband as the waist tie & fasten with a bow. Because.

hudson pants

But am I wearing these all the time? You bet! They have become my go-to change from work garb, my getting up at the weekend but not quite ready to put running clothes on yet garb too.

They are exceedingly comfortable – having a bit more room around the low slung bum than leggings, & with a slightly more relaxed fit than leggings around the thighs too. Worn with my Drafting Top I feel a spot of street dance brewing. And you would be seriously scared (heebie jeebies guaranteed) if I told you the acrobatics I avoided doing when wearing with a simple vest (tank) top!

hudson pants

This is the first time I have brought out my tacky (plastic) boots to wear them with though- just for the photos you understand. Trying to look more …..”urban”.  Just for the poor quality pose.  Normally?  I’ve been wearing them bare foot, padding around the house. Or with flip flops….

There will be some more of these I promise. I will make some up in ponte next, long length for the winter, & by virtue of more limited colours & designs available in ponte they are likely to be more urban (oh dear- I am mixing my definitions of “urban” here, confusing perhaps with “industrial”?!) & less rural. But I shall see what I can do to bring a touch of the country to them J

Have you succumbed yet to these pants/ trews?    What do you think?  Aren’t they just the business?!

making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

How to make a scarf using your overlocker / serger’s rolled hem

If you have got some lightweight fabric left over from a special make, have you ever thought about getting even more pleasure from it and make it into a scarf that you can use to spruce up an outfit?

How to make a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

You need fabric that is light & floaty – from silk, chiffon, satin, polyester, some viscose/ rayons – you will know whether it will behave well as a scarf or not!  I recently made a wonderful scarf back top for a work’s evening event & so loved the fabric I made it out of. But as it’s a bit of a posh top I won’t get to wear it very often.  Using remnants to make it up as a scarf brings it out in the open a bit more often & I can enjoy it in the day!

Now there are all sorts of tutorials for using rolled hem feet on standard machines (the By Hand girls’) (see this one too by Miss P) & even sewing rolled hems by hand (by Colette Patterns).    I like to use my overlocker which has a lovely neat & tidy rolled hem stitch- no special feet, just a few tweaks to the settings from using a normal overlocking stitch.   The benefits of using your overlocker?  That’s easy in my view – it produces the loveliest narrow hem that cuts the edge, rolls it under a narrow wrapping of thread that looks neat & professional.  All in one go.

The hardest part is turning the corners & getting neat right angles, but I’ll show you how I do it – & also give you a back up plan.  What I would advise is that you have a practice- corners & all first on some scrap fabric.  I find I need to try two or three test corners to get warmed up!

So let’s get started .

You’ve got your fabric – what size do you have and how does it compare to a scarf that you already have?  I would say that the smallest scarf I use is gents’ pocket square size – 45cm x 45cm so wouldn’t make a scarf smaller than this.  I tend to opt for a square shape, but have been known to make larger ones at whatever size my fabric is.

With using your overlocker you will lose a smidgeon off each edge- possibly 1/8 “ or so.  I would press your fabric once you have cut it to the size that you want it to be.

1 Rolled hem scarf

I use a three thread rolled hem – one of the standard stitches offered by my overlocker.  I have to set my machine up a bit differently to do this but it’s relatively easy- take out my left needle & twiddle a few dials – I always have to follow my quick thread guide!  It lives under my machine :-)

2 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Three spools of thread – I am sure you can get different results using different types of threads, but I have not experimented much to feel in a position to advise on options!

Ready to roll it?  Start at one corner of your fabric, placing it so that your overlocker blade will be trimming away about 1/8”  (it doesn’t matter if you trim away more – it just means that your scarf will end up being smaller).

3 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Sew your first edge with a rolled hem

4 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hemSee the hem forming behind your foot?  Stop with your needle in the last thread of the fabric – ie before you run over the edge.

5 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Leaving your needle down. Lift the foot up, pulling the stitches that make up the final fraction of the rolled hem just sewn, backwards off the “stitch fingers” (but not too far back)  and pivot the fabric 90 degrees.

6 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem(I’m showing you this having taken my foot off so that you can see those stitch fingers – the two prongs at the back ) .  See this tutorial for another view of the stitch fingers.

I find you get a neater corner if you can balance the amount of “pulling back” off the stitch fingers with making a nice snug start to the beginning of the next rolled hem edge.  The further you pull your fabric back off the stitch fingers, the more loose threads there are hanging around at the beginning of the next corner.  The ideal is that you pull the hem back enough to pivot, but without adding excess threads through too much pulling back.  This is why I always practice first – to get a feel for the right amount of pulling back!

7 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Away you go & sew the next edge, stopping as you did for the first corner with your needle down in the very last thread of your edge.  Keep your needle down, lift your foot up & gently pull back off the stitch fingers & pivot.  Keep the corner nice & snug to the start of the next edge & carry on as above.  This is how you do the three corners.

9 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

By the time you reach the fourth corner, just keep going, running 90 degrees over the first edge that you hemmed & create a nice long chain.  You will have sealed off the corner & now have a chain to darn back into the rolled hem (on the underside of your scarf).

There you have done it!  Pleased with what you’ve just achieved?

10 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Back up plan: Finding the continuous corner approach a bit of a faff & giving you inconsistent unreliable results?  No problem!  All you have to do is to sew each edge separately, running over the end so that you have a chain and darning each chain into the four corners.

I hope you found this easy enough to follow!  Now enjoy wearing your lovely hand made scarf.

11 making a scarf using your sergers rolled hem

Do you think you will now try giving a new lease of life to some special fabrics or even to some of your outfits with swanky new accessorizing?  You could also use rolled hems for making napkins too.  Go ahead & try it – make a scarf using your overlocker’s rolled hem!

Julia cardigan

Perfect summer cover up: Julia cardigan

One of my most worn newly mades this summer has to be a cap sleeved Julia cardigan.  After making a lovely fluffy long sleeved Julia cardigan & loving its style lines, its ease of construction & well, being able to whip up a cardigan without having to develop knitting super powers I had ear marked this as rather a useful pattern.  So if you want to make one this is the Julia cardigan, Mouse House creations, available here on Etsy.

Julia cardigan

As part of my summer wardrobe plan I had planned to make the cap sleeved version – a lightweight breeze inhibitor- out of some very light weight jersey.  Yes, photos of me wearing it were taken on location :-)

Julia cardigan

Now as well as sleeve options, this cardigan also has hem options for the massive circular piece of hem/ collar that envelops the cardigan’s body.  You can either cut two of all hem/collar pieces to make a  double hem (ie it is self faced) or using a single layer, make other arrangements for finishing the raw edge.   I didn’t have enough fabric to make a double hem so I had to go for the single layer & use my overlocker’s rolled hem stitch to finish the edges.

Julia cardiganRolled hem along the front of the collar

I really like the result for such a light weight fabric actually, but top tip if you choose to do it this way – think about the construction of your circular “hem” pieces.

I realised that the collar’s centre back seam needed to be wrong sides together, as it folds over when you wear it.

Julia cardigan

The side hem seams I put together right sides together.  Do you see what I mean?  Looking at the pic below – the cardigan’s collar CB seam is at the top – you can see the edge just curling over, but apart from that you are looking at its right side.  To 5 o’clock & 7 o’clock you can see the side hem seams- wrong sides showing.

Julia cardigan You need to construct this circular piece before attaching it to the cardigan body, so it helps to have this in mind.

Apart from thinking that through, the Julia cardigan is such a dream to make – a quick make- all overlocked seams.  I like this capped sleeve version too & am thinking of making it up as a present for someone in a knit knit for a spot of autumn layering over long sleeved t-shirts.

Julia cardigan

I’ve worn it loads over the ever present Maria Denmark Signer halter dress & tops.  I’ve also used it as a little more layering over sleeveless dresses at work & love that look too.  This has proved to be a wardrobe essential- are you tempted?