Author Archives: scruffybadgertime

Astoria

Double Astoria

Happy Saturday people!  Fancy a weekend project?  You can’t go wrong with the wide selection of Seamwork patterns – all wardrobe builders, downloadable to suit your whim, and sewable in under 3 hours.  Here are two versions of the Astoria cropped sweater.

Astoria

It shall be mainly photos this post.

Astoria

Because they sort of tell the story.

Astoria

It’s an elegantly shaped cropped sweater, that can be made out of knits of all types.

Astoria

I’ve made two versions – one in a sweater knit – this purple I had left over from my Oslo cardigan (another Seamwork pattern)

Astoria

And some lovely jersey left after I made my Moneta dress (another Colette Pattern!).  The jersey, a teal interlock from Plus Addict  has worn so well whilst being soft & lovely to wear.

Astoria Because I am prone to feeling draughts I recommend a full slip or long camisole as a base layer 😉

Astoria

The pattern itself was indeed a straightforward easy sew…..& I made it (last year) camping sewing without my overlocker, so I used a narrow zig zag & hey, I survived!!  And seriously when I am wearing them I forget that these tops are not finished my usual way, that’s how easy it is to sew knits even if you don’t have an overlocker!

Astoria

I particularly like the effect of a cropped sweater like this with the silhouette of a circle skirt.  I’m getting more into circle skirts & am visioning a tartan one ….but this circle skirt was another really quick project (especially because I did not hem it!!)

Happy weekend everyone!  If you are at a loss for a sewing project maybe I have given you some idea about where to look, what do you think? x

Linden sweatshirt

Oh go on then! I’ll have a floral Linden this time….

Oh people I have had some mega sewing going on this last week, but because I was also hugely busy work wise I am a bit behind with my writing – & I have so much to write about!   I have to start with the simplest as some downtime calls (& I’m watching something with subtitles at the moment which means no multi tasking!) So here we go on the next episode of my causal wardrobe, suitable for warehouse work (maybe rather posh for warehouse work in all honesty but I’ll do it anyway) & also for general mooching around looking rather groovy.

Linden sweatshirt

Yes, my attraction to the Linden sweatshirt continues, not having resolved the pocket issues from the green one, but having worn the grey one * very much indeed*, may I present the newest addition to the Linden sweatshirt stable?

This fabric is from the Fabric Godmother (& was provided for me to review)- the floral is a rose pique jersey in blue  (there are two other colourways- pink & purple) & the solid navy is a gorgeous Milano jersey, stretchier than a ponte, thicker than your usual t-shirt weight with something *very* cosy about it, without it being too thick.  I am smitten with it to be honest, & am already thinking of some navy Hudsons – it would be perfect …. just like it is for the sleeves, cuffs & bands for this Linden sweatshirt.

Linden sweatshirt

Don’t you just love the two-tone raglan sleeve top effect?  I love raglan sleeves anyway, but it’s times like these when two fabrics pair so wonderfully that the raglan comes into its own.  I may have been swooning over the navy Milano jersey, but let’s face it, the rose pique jersey is the star.  It works so well in its pattern – bring on the flowers I say!  Sweatshirts can be pretty too!

Linden sweatshirt I ‘ve made this a few times now & it’s a 100% overlocker make – I think it took me about an hour to sew….

Linden sweatshirt

So many photos! That’s because I LOVE this sweatshirt. I’m so thrilled to have made something that is eminently functional but pretty. But I’ve also taken a few extra to show you  a new part of my cottage  – surreptitiously.  This is the upstairs hallway.  To the left is the bathroom & straight ahead is my bedroom.  It has loads of olde features – including these doors with latchy handles (note technical olde worlde terminology).  The camera in in the doorway of the back bedroom (aka sewing room/ office) & both bedrooms are on a higher level than the hallway & bathroom.  Nice step up to both.

Linden sweatshirt To my right are the open plan stairs.  There are a few nooks & crannies including the recess to my left which is a nice little presentation space….

There ends the guided tour of the only non room in my cottage.  Just because you might be curious.  I will bring you other backdrops as time progresses!  And who knows, maybe even more Linden sweatshirts!!!

In the meantime have a very good week & I’ll be back soon with some more – I have a couple more tops to show, some trousers using my block pattern & then a special posh frock that I wore to a bit of a do in London last week…

Disclaimer, the fabric was provided to me free of charge for me to review.  All views are my own.

Pacific leggings feature

Pacific Leggings- floral leggings take 2

Happy Friday everyone!  For anyone who has been following me on Instagram – (thanks new phone :-) ) – you will have seen a few details of my floral leggings.   These are the Pacific Leggings by Sewaholic which I purchased a bit ago, intrigued by the added details from your standard leggings – a crotch piece (behave!) and a zipped back pocket in the waistband.  ooooh!

Floral leggings

Having sewn Sewaholic patterns before I have certain expectations of great pattern cutting, clear instructions and generally some nifty sewing detail.  I was not disappointed.  In fact I have been delighted & will proceed to explain why.

Floral leggings

But first, the fabric.  This is a Spoonflower Sport Lycra and in this design- baroque flowers.   Check out the specifications but this is a breathable activewear fabric with 4 way stretch.  Perfect for leggings.  (I have roadtested them & can assure you how comfortable they have turned out).  Spoonflower’s first activewear fabric is Performance Knit which I have used a few times – my marathon top and running skirt as well as my badger running top also.  BUT this fabric is 2 way stretch and I made the fatal error of making leggings out of some performance knit without taking into account lack of vertical stretch – something that you can allow for in the cutting out – adding more depth in the body & leg length- but I did not & had to learn the hard way.  I would say Performance Knit is much better suited to tops & skirts now that there is the Sport Lycra for leggings.   Want to do a spot the difference?

Version 1 – ‘Legs with nothing but flowers’

Yes, this is the same fabric design – I am heartbroken to have given up on the first pair but people they are at serious risk of ‘builder’s arse’ so short are they in the body.  (I allowed no one behind me when doing post run stretches).  They are also very tight around my legs as well – I think the fabric’s stretch was being pulled in all ways to capacity- I have worn these quite a lot, stubbornly refusing to admit my mistake, but when comparing these to the latest pair- I can let them go as a lesson learnt.

Floral leggings

So I bought a yard in a free shipping sale last year & I am sure I have managed to get a pair of leggings out of 1m of fabric in the past, and whilst there’s a small difference between metric & imperial I had to rethink my plans to get full leg leggings as there was no way this would fit & so I cut the cropped length – but to the length of the largest size.  There is no obvious pattern direction on this fabric (I am sorry if I have upset the designer here!) but I had to cut pieces different ways up.

Pattern pieces

Leggings generally fall into two pattern types- those with one-piece legs & therefore one leg seam – usually inside leg apart from Fehr Trade’s innovative Steeplechase leggings – & two-piece leggings with an outer & inner leg seam.

Pacific leggings fall into the latter category, however the outer leg seam has a nice upper curve to it so that it sweeps behind & over your hips to meet the bottom edge of the pocket.  You won’t really see it with these leggings as the fabric’s pattern is far too busy- but you can see it on the line drawings  & here below you can see the seamlines.

Pacific leggings

Now that pocket.  It is the business- really easy to sew – just remember to interface the folded zip edge before inserting the zip.  (All explained in the instructions).  The pocket fits nicely within the waistband – a fantastic deep waistband – so comfy & providing enough depth for even larger smartphones in that pocket at the back.  The waistband ‘s shape is kept from sagging / stretching too much by some thin elastic sewn into the seam allowance at the top edge.

Floral leggings

I am thrilled with these leggings, seriously.  No that is the zip, not a piercing.

I took them for a spin yesterday & they felt luxurious, well fitted (that crotch piece adds a certain something to the comfort factor) & easy to run in- the running itself may have been a struggle, but it wasn’t the leggings holding me back this time!

Linden

Linden Sweatshirt x2 or just because you can sew welt pockets doesn’t mean you should ….

Before I share a couple of Linden Sweatshirts, I’d like to thank you all for the suggestions about what to do with my boiled wool in the last post.  I will check out all the ideas you’ve left – I knew you wouldn’t let me down!  There are a few ideas for Schnittchen patterns – coatigans/ jackets which are intriguing – never sewn any of these before.  You can bet I’ll keep you posted …

But today I’ve some Linden sweatshirts to show you that I made up this week.  After deciding to upgrade my ‘test Linden sweatshirt’ & putting it in writing to the world the other day, I sprung into action & cut two out.  The first was in the green sweatshirting that I had set aside, an eBay purchase along with the ribbing from Plush Addict.  The second was a lucky extra – I had enough of some lightweight grey marl sweater knit that I had left over after making a cardigan, Simplicity 2154 .

Linden grey marl

But there wasn’t enough to make any of the neck, hem or cuff bands out of the grey so I had to pick some contrast ribbing- also from Plush Addict – & I am so glad I was forced along this route as I am immensely pleased with this particular Linden – I love the way the lighter weight fabric allows a bit of drape & it totally suits the wider neckline.

Linden grey marl (2)

And the pop of turquoise knit rib gives it a definite edge that a plain grey Linden sweatshirt would not have.  I have worn this a couple of days (in the warehouse job with jeans) & oops I see a bit of a smudge on it, so it is now in the wash.  My pink skirt (A Tilly and the Buttons Airielle)  is also victim of tending a woodfire but only revealed to me in these photos.  At least I am living up to my ‘scruffy’ name….

Linden grey marl (3)

As usual I ramble and am talking about the results before the process.  This is OK for the grey sweatshirt because what else do you need to know?  It has worked out better than I hoped & was a great sew.  But I have made more than one, on the same day, but this other is controversial….and I haven’t made my mind up about it yet, and as a result have not worn it outside yet….

Linden with pocketsYes it has pocketses.  Welt pockets.  And I conjured up this plan whilst cutting out.  But here’s the thang.  I do not think it works as a wearable item of clothing.  Isn’t it a bit ….. crafty?  Is it a classic case of ‘just because you can add welt pockets to a sweatshirt, it doesn’t mean that you should …’??

Linden with pockets (2)The cosy side of the fleece (sweatshirting’s wrong side) hosts my hands as the pocket inners.  But that is not the reason I created welt pockets.  The idea was to have a safe place to carry my phone when working in the warehouse (I’ve a new phone & want to look after it y’see).

Linden with pockets (3)Keeps it safe, is just the right size (bigger than an iPhone) & means I can access music on the go too.

Linden with pockets (4)But just because I can sew welt pockets doesn’t mean it’s right.  Is it the contrast ribbing? I am tempted to unpick the lower front half of the sweatshirt and add a kind of ‘kangaroo’ pocket on top of the welt pockets, hiding the original pockets under a more anonymous generic self-fabric pocket, whilst allowing the original pockets to function.  With side hand entry.  What do you think?

What’s funny is that I was so confident in this design detail that I even took photos of the steps along the way to add welt pockets.   I drafted them myself & referred to the instructions in the Colette Patterns Anise jacket to guide me.  I am not going to waste the photos, but share them with a touch of caution – use this wisely and don’t end up in the same dilemma I am in.  Remember the mantra & repeat after me- ‘Just because you can sew welt pockets, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do’

I’m going to note the steps I took – but please don’t treat this as a definitive guide for sewing welt pockets – there are plenty of others about with all of the steps clearly illustrated.  (OMG this tutorial from Workroom Social is just so incredibly neat & clear showing a single stage welt pocket – not separately pieced welts)  This tutorial on Craftsy uses a similar approach that I have taken.  However if you have done a few welts in your time, mine below might serve as an aide memoir … as that is what it will be for me…

So first of all I marked the horizontal placement of the welts pockets, referring to the size of my phone as a guide.  Going forward you might want to draw on stitching lines – above & below these horizontal lines.  Tip – Stitching lines on a single welt are less critical than for bound buttonholes which is like a double welt with two welt pieces that need to meet nicely in the middle.  Single welts do not need to meet anything else – it’s just about how deep you want your welt to be.  So relax a bit.  I did.  My stitching lines were about 1/2″ either side of the original horizontal line.

Linden pockets 1I then cut the welts so that they were longer than the horizontal welt lines (to provide a good seam allowance) & width was calculated by doubling the finished welt depth & adding seam allowances x2.   (But more on welt depth/ width calculations below). I interfaced each welt.

Linden pockets 2

And then I cut pocket bags about the same width as the ribbing welt’s long measurement.   Have a play with the folded pocket bag to make sure it doesn’t poke out underneath your hem!  Adjust if necessary.

Linden pockets 3Next, make the welts – fold in half right sides together and sew each of the short ends.  Turn right sides out and press & baste the open long edges together.

Placing the welts to attach to the sweatshirt requires a bit of thought- the welts are sewn at the lower stitching line (upside down) & because I was feeling relaxed about the precise size of the finished welt, I placed the raw edge alongside the original horizontal pocket line.  However, if you are more specific about the finished depth of the welt, you need to make sure that the depth of the stitched folded welt is equal to the desired finished welt depth plus the distance between original horizontal pocket line & stitching line on the sweatshirt front.  I would trim the welt to this depth before I attached it so that I could place the raw cut edge against the original horizontal stitching line.  I would also transfer the stitching line to the top of the welt to make sure I sewed along the right line.  (Does that make sense?)

Linden pockets 4Now onto the pocket bags.  They are attached ‘upside down’  to the stitching line above the original horizontal pocket line.   You want to attach them so that this new stitching is slightly shorter than the attached welt pocket (see my vertical pins that mark my start/ stop lines).  Think about what you want to be the inside of the pocket bag – in this case I sewed the wrong side pocket bag with right side of sweatshirt body & will end up with the fleece on the inside of the pocket bags – this can show up, you may want to sew right side of pocket bag to right side of sweatshirt.

Linden pockets 5Next is the cutting in between these two rows of stitching.  This is what it looks like from the inside.  Only cut the sweatshirt (not the pockets or welts) & cut diagonal snips close to the edges/ corners of the stitching.  Pull pocket bags inside through these cuts & place the welts to sit in their intended final position, right way up.  You’ve got some neatening to do next – like sewing the triangles at the side of each cut line (caused by the diagonal snips) to the body of the sweatshirt.  The welts also need to be topstitched down at each short edge, and the top of each pocket bag needs to be sewn to the seam allowance of its welt.  You can then settle the pocket bags, pin & sew to form the pockets.

Linden pockets 6Sort of like this.  Then make up your sweatshirt as normal.  (I used a regular machine with a straight stitch for most of the pocket stitching even thought this is a knit fabric.)

Linden pockets 7But the question remains…will I hide these or not?

January 2016 sewing plans

Why hello there everyone!  I’m eager to get back blogging again and even more keen to get sewing.  This is the first day of my ‘new’ work-life balance,  and am feeling very refreshed & insanely happy after a fab ski holiday with my family.  Yesterday I was working as a casual in a warehouse but now have a couple of days (kind of like a mid-week weekend- sorry– I am not trying to make anyone jealous here) before I go back to earn more beans.  Still very early days in my thinking & planning about how I meet my bills but the short term at least is sorted.  And now I have time to think & plan. And sew and blog. Yay!!!!!

A wonderful Christmas gift - Liberty Pincusion

A wonderful Christmas gift – Liberty Pincushion

So I want to dive in which means ignoring the catch up on 2015’s sewing outputs & reviews- that will have to wait.  Today I am going to share my thinking with you and ask for any suggestions you may have.  This is for January.  (And remember I still have some Christmas presents to make – a pair of boxers and two shirts).

Of most excitement then for me is having time & space to sew – in my new cottage.   And I could go completely wild & sew completely spontaneous projects.  But I have been sobered by the unpacking & re-packing of my stash of fabrics.  I have also been made sensible by having to home the clothes I make- I no longer have spare wardrobes.  Oh no.  And I have underbed storage (these from Ikea are pretty good value & do a wonderful job) to keep out of season clothing.  If I can’t store it, I can’t keep it (or I have to get rid of something else to make way).  This is finally enabling me to make considered decisions about what I *need* & therefore what I shall be sewing. Hurrah.  At last I have grown up a bit!

[Cough] these shelves are supposed to contain my fabric stash - but they don't yet- there is another cardboard box....

[Cough] these shelves are supposed to contain my fabric stash – but they don’t yet- there is another cardboard box….and I haven’t finished with the sorting and organising yet by any means….

And what else I need to take into account is lifestyle – no more office clothes, a much more casual wardrobe.  OK, so after reading about my new ways of thinking, let’s see what I am thinking about making this month/ next month maybe.

Tops & jumpers- getting practical. 

I need another Linden sweatshirt (or two) in my life.  I have some green sweatshirting & various coloured ribbing- perfect for warehouse work & snuggling in the evenings.  I wear my first Linden sweatshirt a lot and it is decidedly a test garment made with fabric that has fade lines in it.  Making the green sweatshirting up will probably provoke more experimentation….

Sweatshirting

Sweatshirting

I have really enjoyed wearing my cowl neck fleece Renfrew – it has jumper status & is great for this time of the year & can get away with being a ‘fleece’ because it has more style.  I will investigate options to make another using some thicker knit (or even fleece) from my stash.

I also need more Coco tops.  My Breton striped Coco is in hardly even in my drawer- either in use or in the wash.

Tops of a more pretty kind:

I will show you later a top that I am going to make from a French magazine I bought on holiday.  But in addition to that I am fancying a chiffon Orla top and have a few options in my stash.  I also feel another Sew Over It Pussy Bow blouse coming on…in polka dot chiffon for sure.  Why the enthusiasm for chiffon? Well it’s easy to look after (first thing!) – I don’t find I need to iron it- plus I have some really cute options in my stash already.

I have also got a couple of pieces of fabric that I plan to make into the Mila shirt. (if I have enough …)

Another gorgeous Christmas pressie - Liberty swoons on

Another gorgeous Christmas pressie – Liberty swoons on

The great trouser ‘mind palace’ (hahaha – just watched the latest ‘Sherlock’ and was reminded of that phrase).  I have been living in my Ginger jeans and need another pair of trousers- my green Chinos are great, but I think could be elevated if they were made out of some fabric with some stretch so I am pondering that line of attack.  However I am determined to get my trouser block at peak performance so that I can whip up a pair of trews that fit me perfectly in next to no time.  Fabric choices are still up for grabs- I do need to investigate my stash however.  And then I have whittling away at the back of my mind how much I love my Hudson trousers & that a seasonal pair could be good for warehouse work too.

Dresses

I have a huge urge to make the Sew Over It Joan dress in a double knit.  Maybe something from Girl Charlee?   I have been dying to make a Joan ever since it came out.  Could the time be right now?  Also a Rachel wrap dress from Maria Denmark– another knit dress.  And I have already pointed out that New Look 6298 is in my possession and on my radar …

A Vintage Shirt dress perhaps?

A Vintage Shirt dress perhaps?

And I bought this fabric in the John Lewis sale with a Sew Over It Vintage shirt dress in mind – will I make it a long sleeved version?

Spectacular excuse for something special

And if you were being lulled into any sense that this badger was turning overly practical, have no fear.  Top of my creative thoughts is what to wear at a fancy London Awards night that I have been invited to.  Last few times I wore this outfit, but I feel as if something new is needed (especially as the skirt may be a bit tight at the moment following holidays & less running than usual).

I am considering a cocktail dress – either the Martini from Capital Chic Patterns or else something from a vintage pattern I will unearth as I unpack my sewing room & organise it.  I don’t think I can bring myself to be flamboyant enough to invest in 7m of taffeta for the full skirt in Simplicity 1099 but the long straight skirt & top or knee length full skirt & top could also be an option.   Fabric though?  ?  I need to look at my stash but suspect that I will not have anything this special as I don’t tend to hoard posh fabrics….I am dabbling with these from Fabric Godmother but don’t know if they would be OK for the Martini dress.  This peachskin and this crepe backed satin.

Jackets

Now this is where I need your help.  Another John Lewis Sale purchase, this boiled wool.

boiled wool

I  would really like to make something out of it to wear now- a casual jacket/ thick cardi of some sort – nothing formal – a good to throw on with jeans would be really useful.  I like the idea of something like this.   But am not sure if a mid weight boiled wool would work.  If it is a jacket it is clearly unlined because you don’t need to bother with linings or even seam finishing with boiled wool- & I wouldn’t want to miss out on that opportunity.   Would New look 6351 be good for it?   I was wondering about a zipped biker jacket, but it is a mid weight not that sturdy? (Any recommended patterns?) I haven’t bought enough to make the Clare coat, maybe I  should have thought that through as I do like the idea of pull on shoulder fastenings & snuggly collar big time. Do you have any other ideas for using boiled wool?

At some point I am also going to start my test jacket before cutting out my Tweedy – going to rock that country look don’t you know?!  So that is also in my plans.

Did I call this a plan for January?  I don’t think so somehow!  Let’s just say that this is the dump of my winter sewing thoughts.  There will also be some running wear – for me & a friend (I owe her a pair of leggings!).  As well as a dress for a friend in time for Spring.  And surely other things will crop up.  But there you have it.  Thank you for the opportunity to write this post as it has helped me work out just what my sewing priorities could be over the next few months with some kind of structure.  Any thoughts welcome!

IMG_4816

Happy New Year my friends!

Oh my gosh!  It’s 2016 and I hope that it brings you all the very best of everything, but that it includes heaps of sewing fun, of course!

IMG_0155

The best stocked fridge comes with moving house and leaving your job!

I have been on a non stop deadline driven December before finally finishing my job on 31st.  It is only now, on the 2nd January that I can look back & recognise that this has been the most stressed I have ever been- moving house three weeks before Christmas, leaving my job of 15 years – but not the relaxed ending I had imagined – still to experience ‘gardening leave’ – & then as a maker, Christmas is usually a time of making gifts.  What pressure we put upon ourselves!

This year I could not make everything I wanted and had to give fabric – the wonderful potential- & the promise to make…January plans.  I did however make a few pairs of posh boxers & even made this pair out of Liberty lawn on Christmas morning!

Liberty boxers

I have sewn them all with the label on the front waist – to avoid any scratchiness but I also thought it looked cool.  Oh I got grief!  The recipient didn’t take that perspective!  But in a joking way.

Here are some of the others.

All of these were made using Simplicity 9958 & various sizes from small to large & using my fabric reducing trick, all took only 1m of fabric.  There are a couple more to make as part of my January gift-sewing catch up!

I also made a few things out of gorgeous brushed cotton/ flannel from Croftmill.  Remember Simplicity 1502 was one of my ‘Year’s supply of sewing patterns’?  Well I made the nightie out of it, using this fabric.

Simplicity 1502

It’s a size large & I followed the instructions to the letter except for using a self bias neckline facing & sewing it so that it showed on the outside as a nice contrast.  It was a really satisfying make- quick to sew.  Sadly I didn’t have enough fabric to match the checks, but that just made the sewing quicker ‘;-)

And finally a quick pair of PJ brushed cotton/ flannel shorts for the hubbie of the nightdress.  He wears shorts a lot around the house & I thought he might like these- plus with the elasticated waist you don’t have to be so precise with making the right size.

PJ shortsSee the label on the outside again ?

So folks, that’s it on my makes.  Are you interested in January sewing related sales?  Well Weaver Dee is one of the many to be offering some tempting discounts across the range – fabric, patterns & habbie.  Remember to use the code ‘SCRUFFY’ to get a further 10% off….

And a brilliant summary of where to find other sewing related sales is here at the Foldline. Me?  I have had to keep it clean.  I have been buying lounge furniture & after seeing how much fabric I have in my stash (pictures to follow, I promise- I need to confess!) I need to reduce that first …oh, but what am I like?  I did succumb to the John Lewis fabric sale when out furniture shopping…Am I beyond help?

So I am going to leave it there & wish you all a happy new year.  I am taking a much needed holiday so when I come back it really will be a new start- for work, for running and most definitely for sewing & blogging.  What a lot of fun we are going to have! PS what this means is that I really won’t be able to reply to any comments or queries until I get back xx

 

Happy Christmas to you all & the sales are starting!

Hello everyone!  Just a quick one – I am waiting for my work systems to come online (have they broken up for the holidays?) & so was fiddling about with some things on my blog & wanted to wish you all a fabtastic Christmas & any other holidays you might be celebrating & however you may be celebrating them- or not!

I am so looking forward to the break myself having felt in such a never ending spin, what with finishing my job (next week ) & moving house & Christmas- I will be glad for the break & some decent sewing time & sewing room organisation.   Thank you to everyone who’s visited my blog & put up with the semi hiatus in productivity over the last couple of months.  I will be a renewed sewster & blogger after Christmas & hope you enjoy sharing my new adventures.

I was updating my images on my side bar with a promotion for a fabric sale at the Fabric Godmother & thought it worth highlighting here

Fabric godmother sale

You know- a kind of treat for all your hard work getting ready for the holidays?  The Fabric Godmother sale has 8 pages of discounted loveliness ….enjoy!

MIY skirt (4)

Me, my garden & MIY Tapton skirt

Curious to see my new backdrop (or one of them) now I am installed in my new badger burrow?  Welcome to my garden.  And please meet my MIY Tapton skirt.

MIY Tapton skirt

I take no credit for it whatsoever.  Having lived here for two weeks now I have not even needed to sweep leaves or tidy up the weeds.  This is all the wintry legacy of the previous careful owners.  I am all expectant to find out what pops up during the Spring, but for now am really enjoying the birdies & the sound of the strong winds we have been experiencing.  And whilst I have not been sewing *much* (with sooo many Christmas present plans that have fabric bought but really not enough hours in the remaining days) I have managed to make myself a quickie but as a tester for a gift you understand.  I have made the MIY Collection Tapton skirt – a ‘Comfy fold over waist skirt of the asymmetric variety.

MIY tapton skirt

I bought the paper pattern whilst I was in my temporary home, quite rightly thinking that access to printing would not be my priority during my move.  I spied it as a potential gifting pattern as a knit skirt is not only a quick make but arguably pretty easy to fit without having the person there.  A good estimate of size is all you need & the fabric can do the rest & forgive lack of specifics.

MIY Tapton skirt So I made me a quick one up to understand if the A line, non asymmetric version would be suitable for the person I had in mind.  I also needed to understand how long it would turn out to be.  I made the Tapton skirt in this black/ purple floral viscose Liberty jersey from CroftMill & am very pleased with it.  Lovely quality, quite light – exactly what you’d expect from a viscose jersey.

MIY Tapton skirt

I made size small but with the length of the XL & did not hem it- for info.  (I just overlocked the bottom edge for neatness & a bit of weight).  Now you may be thinking that asymmetric is rather an unusual style for me & you are right.  But when  saw the photos on the website I was rather taken by the way it looks with the asymmetry, or the ‘tail’ at the back like a bustle.  It reminded me of the gorgeous Clothkits bustle skirts.

MIY Tapton skirt

The skirt’s tails are made really easily & there are two of them!  But the drape of the fabric gives the impression that there is just a cascade & it takes the breeze or walking very fast to create the flow that shows that there are two of them.  But you can wear the tails to the side or at the back.  I am still experimenting.  I think I want the ‘tails’ to be a bit shorter in relation to the hem of the rest of the skirt so may play around with it some more.  But I have worn it a couple of times now.  When you wear the tails at the back, there is a centre front seam- something you may want to take into consideration.

MIY Tapton skirt

As it says on the packet this really is a very quick skirt to make.  I think I made mine in less than an hour, easily.  The A line skirt was even quicker.  I made the A line skirt a lot longer as I know that’s how she likes it & unfortunately it was all too much of a rush to take photos.  Sorry!  Enjoy the Liberty jersey.

The MIY Collection patterns are printed on white paper and have an A4 booklet of instructions with a sturdy A4 printed paper bag to keep them altogether.  It’s not cheap at £15 but I felt the investment was worth it for the two skirts I have made so far & the others I have in mind – for other friends actually.  (And maybe another for me perhaps…..!) I can’t stress that this is a really easy skirt to make – straight lines & three pattern pieces.  It really is a joy to wear with its deep fold over waistline.  I feel however that I am lacking a Nettie to wear with it – I think it has something of the ballet look about it?  And speaking of MIY collection sewing patterns, check out Zoe’s version of the MIY Collections Brightside shrug.

Outfit notes:

Wearing with Ottobre purple top (can I find the link – it was several years ago now…)  & Muse Jenna Cardigan.

Reunited with my winter wardrobe!

I’m back! And about my handmade capsule wardrobe

Hello from the country!  I have now moved into my cosy cottage and have broadband (it felt like an eternity without it, I’m telling you!).  From now I am back to being able to respond to comments more quickly….and blogging more frequently again.  Hurrah! But I am keen to remember how I made do with just a limited wardrobe – an enforced capsule wardrobe as it were…whilst I was waiting for my house purchase to come through and living with my sons in their spare room. (What a lovely time that was too!)

So as I write from my new abode I can report that my sewing room is just about operational if still a lot to do in it.  The sewing room/ office is understandably the penultimate room to order as it became THE dumping ground for everything (by virtue of it being such a small house) PLUS I had so much sewing related *stuff* that belongs here too.   Bit by bit the clutter in this room is thinning down, shelves are being populated, most of the boxes are being unpacked.  I am now waiting for some shelves to become fixed to the wall before I can unpack the last boxes & establish more rationale to where I put things.  But the good news?  The sewing machines came out yesterday for a spell of boxer short making.  Being reunited with my overlocker was supreme.  I sew boxer shorts with french seams on the whole, but boy did I love the first bit of edge finishing along the fly front a la serger.

The view from hereThis is what my sewing table looks like *right now*.  The time of year means you can’t see the view over the garden, the time of evening means that the neighbours have not yet turned their garden Christmas lights on yet.  You can still see the clustering of *importantpapers* yet to be dealt with & most certainly not to get lost in the ongoing sorting through of everything,

Incidentally the final room to organise & plan furniture placement is the dining room/ hall since I do not have furniture, and all of the other rooms need a proper going through to rationalise where I stuffed things.  I have some proper fun coming in the sales to buy dining furniture and lounge furniture too.  Excellent!

Anyway, that was my update from the country.  I thought it would be interesting to do a kind of spin on ‘Me Made May’ showing that I survived 16 weeks with a limited wardrobe that was:

  • Minimum iron & easy care, non hanging
  • Suitable for work and leisure
  • As mixable as possible to optimise outfit options.

Now sorry to disappoint you if you are expecting to see photos of outfits in use, I can’t / haven’t done that, but next best thing, here are the clothes I packed & wore.  I also had PJs (homemade) and a big baggy grey jumper I bought as well as a massive hoodie I bought from a charity shop to cosy up in during the chillier evenings.  And it’s hard to remember but I moved out at the end of September during a heatwave!    I did pack a couple of short sleeve t-shirts that I didn’t wear once autumn hit us very soon after, so haven’t bothered to record them here.

Onto the clothes then with a report on their impact.

Dresses:

It is safe to say that my teal Moneta dress was worn weekly as a work staple- comfy, stylish, easy to care for, no iron.  Perfect for the time of year also.

My Dolores floral dress was most definitely working at home / cosy weekend wear with tights & my purple cardigan below.

Cardigans:

Both of these – my Jenna cardigan and my Oslo cardigan were real wardrobe workhorses & were combined with everything – the two different styles meant that if a cropped fitted cardigan wasn’t quite right, then you can bet the longer length Oslo would do the trick- even with my Hudson pants!

Skirts:

Two of the skirts I had at my disposal were made during my stay so I started by packing just a skirt for work – the Champagne skirt.  My autumn floral pencil skirt was one of those skirts that was brilliant for work and for feeling a little more together on days off work.  It looked great with a neutral top or even my black tops (both the fleece Renfrew and the plain black batwing top I haven’t photographed here).  And the Lindy Petal skirt  was just a working at home godsend – what a treat to wear something so comfy that looked way better than it should have for the comfort it offers :-)

Trousers:

I lived in my Ginger jeans– honestly they were my easy choice – obviously not for work, but any other time I should say they were the single item of clothing I wore the most.  Brilliant worn with a jumper, with any of the tops below & when I had made my Bellatrix blazer, what an outfit for gig going!

I haven’t blogged about my polka dot leggings but they are quite a good mixer with my Lindy petal skirt for example.  Kept me feeling warm & casual.

And my custom block houndstooth trousers even if the fit is not quite there yet & is more ‘vintage 40s’ than I ultimately want, were a great work basic for autumn worn with a plain long sleeved tshirt &  a colourful scarf knotted at my neck

Tops:

When ironing is not going to happen, what can be better than an array of knit tops?  I have to say I wore all of these on a regular rotation- aiming for a weekly wash meant that I needed a good 7+ tops  and they were all pretty interchangeable with most of my other clothes:

Grey Renfrew

Black fleece Renfrew (really worn a lot as it was like a jumper

Sew Over it Pussy Bow blouse – mainly worn with my champagne skirt as a work outfit

Dolores stripe top– nothing as staple as a striped top!  Looks so great with jeans or my denimlook Lindy skirt.

Dolores floral top

Coco Breton top– as above, there is no other top I would claim as my best ever top than this Breton top- even when I have other choices, this is my go to weekend/ holiday top all year round.

Carey top– a new top, made ‘camping sewing’ and also so good as a slouchy top – with the added bonus that it is a cute ditsy floral.

Bronte top– a good mixer, I tended to wear it with my autumn floral pencil skirt.

Jackets

Bellatrix blazer

Bellatrix blazer

I made this Bellatrix blazer whilst ‘camping sewing’ as well.  Not a perfect fit but as mentioned above, something for those rock chick days….

Not shown but worn lots:

Anise jacket, Arctic Hudson pants , black batwing top and a royal blue Agnes top not yet blogged about .  I also took a few running things but did not run that much, once the marathon was over, as I was in recovery & work had amped up & was sucking all of my energy.

Reunited with my winter wardrobe!

Reunited with my winter wardrobe!

But being reunited with my winter wardrobe was so lovely.  The first thing I wore was for a posh dinner out- my little black dress (Laurel) with my feather edged velvet bolero.  Special!

That’s it for now….back soon & have a good one :-)

 

A year’s supply of sewing patterns

Hello friends! I wrote this post to be published while I am moving house (because that is like happening today!!!) but have to add in before this post starts how overwhelmed I am with all of your wonderful warm good wishes after my last post.  You are all so lovely for sending me such luck & support for treading my new path.  It has been amazing reading them and I have felt so reassured by those of you who have done the same thing and have no regrets!  I haven’t been able to reply to them (busy getting move & work business sorted) but wanted to say a huge big thank you – I  read them all & each one has made me smile and feel incredibly lucky- feeling your hugs.  Right gushing with happiness is over….onto what I set out to do with this particular blog post!!!

Remember that my prize for winning the Simplicity Star Sewist blogger competition was a year’s supply of sewing patterns from  Simplicity New Look?  Well I am about reveal my choices and explain my decisions.  It took me forever I have to say- numerous sittings (some very late night) , hundreds of cups of tea (and hot chocolate on the late nights)  & who knows how many custard creams….

I was allowed to choose 12 patterns -what joy!  But I wanted to avoid going for the shiniest patterns that maybe had the most attractive pictures – but turned out to replicate patterns I already have (& let’s be honest, I have so many patterns.  The hard truth was revealed when coming to pack them all away with some form of clear out only to find my ‘don’t need to keep’ pile was too big for a quick ebay session – I would need weeks!)  OK I digress a bit, apologies.  So I looked very carefully at the line drawings of patterns that spiked my interest to ascertain whether they were worthy of being added to my prize.  What could they offer me that i didn’t have already?  Did they bring joy?  Did they bring potential new learning?  Let’s see … in a very random order (except for the last) …

Some of these might surprise you!  First up Simplicity 1502

Why I hear you ask?  Well it’s been one of those patterns that I have kept returning to.  I particularly like the idea of the lace yoke with shorts.  In silk perhaps? Sort of grown up but cute at the same time.  I might also make the nightdress for someone I know ….

Some activewear I thought I could learn from made Simplicity 1111 another pick.

It has a cute racer back top/ dress & is described as having a built in bra which I interests me the most.  I have plenty of leggings/ shorts options already especially Fehr Trade patterns, but sometimes a basic pattern for shorts could come in useful too.

New Look 6351 was another early choice in my deliberating.

OK, I was taken in by the stripey top, that hooked me at first.  I am not often drawn in to drawstring waists (see what i did there?! 😉  )  However I could see wisps of potential in the jacket – a nice casual summer layer (probably with a stripey tshirt it’s true).

A knit shift dress called out to me when I was scrutinising line drawings.  New Look 6298

This is a raglan sleeve shift dress (Easy too !) & just looks such a winter favorite.  i can imagine it in some ponte or something chunky – i really do like the fabric in the photograph- it looks so cosy!

Onto some reproduction vintage patterns now.  I could have gone all out crazy & just stocked up on vintage frocks.  Would you have expected this of me?  Well, I can be sensible sometimes.  And these choices were all joy evoking it is true.  The practicality of halter neck tops ? I think so ( maybe in the summer, not now) – these ‘1970s vintage’ halter tops were just too awesome to ignore & could conceivably get enough use (maybe in my new life of travel) .  Simplicity 1365 it is.

My fave?  View B with the collar.  Talk about sassy.

Another choice from the reproduction vintage line is Simplicity 1197.

Let me explain.  1960s.  That coat.  Need I say more?  (Do I have a thing for raglan sleeves?)

Oh my gosh I am really excited by this next one too.  Yes, a vintage pattern these separates are just too romantic for words.  Simplicity 1166, a 1950s pattern with a flared button up skirt and ‘bra top’ (another one for my exotic travels) plus a blouse –

but look more closely at the line drawing.

I thought it was a batwing however those sleeves are really interesting me …& I can really see me wearing it with that style of skirt.

Here is my most frivolous vintage choice- a 1940s dress with a beautifully gathered central yoke.  I have never sewn anything like this before.  Simplicity 1777 can be made out of all sorts of fabrics but as well as  crepe, satin & velvet you can also make it in ‘matte jersey’.  Hmm I thought.  Very interesting to try this out at some point.

 

This is my final choice from the vintage section & it was because I was a. curious & b. knew that i did not have anything like this already.  from the 1960s then this is a Jiffy pattern with an interesting combination of front gathered yoke and cross over straps.  Simplicity 1101.

Don’t you think it’s cute?

My next choice was a very practical one – more leisure wear, specifically a front zipped hoodie.  I thought it would teach me the best way to insert a centre front zip without me experimenting.

New Look 6142 is his & hers, so maybe, one day, i will make my boys their own hoodies as that is still a key element in their wardrobe, supplemented these days with sweaters I hasten to add.  it’s not all sweatshirting in their repertoire.

Yes, i think I can learn something from the hoodies – the side pockets look interesting too.

And then there are these Amazing fit straight leg trousers, Simplicity 2860.

I know.  How many trouser patterns does a girl need?  I am planning to work on my custom pattern but after my first Perfect Fit trouser experience I thought I could learn more & that I could cross reference to a different cut with the aim of my own trouser block, but with the benefits of these brilliant Perfect Fit & the tips within (will they be the same ‘Perfect Tips as for Simplicity 1696 I wonder?)

But I have saved the equivalent of the catwalk wedding dress as the finale.  Will I ever have a ‘do’ to attend?   Will this style become out of fashion even if an invite does materialise? I don’t know, but I confess this was one of my easiest choices out of the 12.  Simplicity 1099 is a Project Runway pattern & I love its decadence!

Can you imagine making & then wearing a full length full skirt like that royal blue number (all 7m of it oh yes please!) But I also like that it’s separates & that long slim skirt is also pretty awesome with asymmetric pleating.  On the tops i think I would be tempted with the double layers –  transparent upper layer with a slim fitting ‘bra top’ underneath.  Or even one of the 1970s halter necks from Simplicity 1365 up there.  With the collar.  Too much sass for words.

So that was a minor expedition through the Simplicity New Look collection (now in my collection).   Did you enjoy it?   Have I got a good balance between practical and downright once in a blue moon in my dreams?  It has been fun looking at them all again because i can tell you that so far I have not made any of them up.  Which will be the first?  Oh I don’t know!!!

I have used images from Weaver Dee, and even though all these patterns are available in usual outlets, go to Weaver Dee & use the code ‘SCRUFFY and you can get 10% off.   (For info I do not use affiliate links but Weaver Dee is one of my sponsors).  And several times a year Simplicity New Look has half price sales – worth keeping signed up to newsletters from suppliers so that you can get in for some bargains.