Category Archives: Adventures in Overlocking

high top hoodie

Jungle January: the dash of the rusty leopard

I can’t believe this is the third year of Jungle Januaries!  Annie at Pretty Grievances cracks me up with her fabulous& witty  herding of jungle printed makers.    I couldn’t let it pass by unnoticed, could I?  Especially when I had some animal print (I call it rusty leopard, hence the title) fromUKFabrics Online that I’d ordered a while ago (it’s still in stock) thinking that leopard legs would make me faster.  I will never know as I have made it into a top.

high top hoodie

But I am not going to tell you much about this top as it is an as yet unreleased top by Kitschy Koo, the High Top Hoodie.  I was a pattern tester (yay!)  & will save my review of it for when you can lay our hands on your own version to sew yourselves.

High top hoodie

As part of my testing I decided that a sports version would make eminently good sense.  You see it has lots of warm devices – extra long sleeves with thumb holes, a nice covered neck & what hoodie would be complete without said hoodie to keep the draughts at bay.  And winter running  needs must be met.  The fabric incidentally is wicking & silky stretchy polyester – it would make wonderful leggings too.

High top hoodie

I wore it here at the beach, really running (not just posing).  It was a tad chill, hence the woolly hat.  I am wearing it with my Ooh La La running leggings.   It was such hard going that I almost wished I did have leopard legs because would they have made it easier?  They might have?  It was blimmin hard work anyway.

high top hoodie

 

And just as I decided to goof around, a fellow goofer (my dog niece) decided to give me a whopper on my chops….

high top hoodie

 

And I loved it.

high top hoodie

And so did she.

high top hoodie

Thank you Muppet Cookson for taking the photos.  Thank you Bramble for cleaning your teeth.

 

Moneta dress

Polka dot Moneta : #polkadotjanuary

Hello!  It’s almost the end of January and if I am to blog about what I’ve made in time for the two awesome January themes I’d better get cracking.  Today it is  my polka dot Moneta dress just in time for the Sewcialists’ Polka Dot January.  Tomorrow it shall be my contribution to Jungle January!  (Bad planning on my behalf – two blog posts on consecutive days, but hey.  So I am not a blog planner.)

Moneta dress

 

So what’s the story with this one?  I resisted such a long time getting the Moneta dress by Colette Patterns since I had the Lady Skater dress which is such an awesome pattern.  How could I justify it?  They seemed so similar, plus I knew that the Lady Skater fitted me out of the packet AND had plentiful sleeve options.  But I did like those purty collar / neckline options offered by the Moneta.  And I kept returning to ogle at them.  Also @naomimolly (on Instagram) has to be the most prolific Moneta maker ever beguiling me with dresses of beauty (& clearly practical comfort).

Moneta dress

 

So there was some kind of special discount offered by Colette Patterns last year & I jumped in for the digital download.  And then prevaricated some more as I have the most wonderful Liberty jersey that I feel is destined to become a Moneta, but clearly, I was not going to test sizing & fit on the length of jersey that had costed me the most I’d ever paid for a length of jersey.  Eventually this black & white polka dot, residing in my stash, volunteered itself.  It’s cheap & cheerful, although has more body that I expected so is actually quite warm to be wearing at this time of year (win!).  The polka dots are the kind that are “painted on”- almost literally it feels- resulting in the underside of the fabric looking like polka dot seersucker with its puckers.   Close up the white dots thinly cover the black background & look distinctly cheap.  From a distance less of an issue?!

Moneta dress

I remember trying to be smart printing out the pdf, but not realising that I had printed out the sleeveless bodiced version & had to hunt around for the longer sleeves that I required.  Such is the luck of the pdf experience.  I decided I would make the plainest longest sleeved version to see how it fit & how it works for then deciding on what options to take advantage of for the Liberty jersey.

Moneta dress

I expected a simple sew & I was not disappointed.  All on my overlocker apart from some of the hems (neck edge, sleeves and skirt hem) that I used my coverstitch for.

Interesting construction to note:  the neck edge in this version is just meant to be a turned edge.  (The Lady Skater has a separate neck band).  I was a little uneasy about this, concerned that it might gape or stretch, so I zig zagged some woven elastic around the wrong side of the neck edge before turning it over and coverstitching through all layers.  It certainly feels more robust, but even then, I could have got a slightly better tension as there is still some slight gaping which I would wish to avoid next time.

Moneta dress

Other interesting construction note: the skirt gathering.  Described as “shirring” in the pattern, you are meant to cut elastic (clear elastic) to a required length (I seem to remember it is based on your waist measurement) & then attach to the skirt like you would elastic to knickers (ie quartering, then stretching the elastic to fit in between whilst zig-zagging to the fabric).  This results in 1. a nicely gathered skirt and 2. a reinforced waist to stop sagging/ drooping.  I found my elastic was at its maximum stretch  when I was doing this, which was fun!

Moneta dress

I also put pockets in, as they come with the pattern, and are part of the design.  But I am not convinced by in seam pockets in knit skirts.  They are never quite as flat lying as I would like.  Next time I will miss them out I think.

Moneta dress

How does the Moneta compare then to the Lady Skater?  Have I wasted my money?  The differences I see, create the following distinctions – Lady Skater versus Moneta ballet dancer.

  • Both graceful scoop necks, although the Lady Skater has a neckband finish, whilst Moneta has a turned edge (not my favorite finish) but there are additional collars which are heavenly;
  • Sleeves – they both have different sleeve options – which are different to each other!  Lady Skater has long from wrist, 3/4 length and short.  Moneta has 3/4 length, short & sleeveless;
  • Skirts- the Lady Skater is a half circle skirt (I think) with no gathering.  Moneta is a gathered dirndl – with pockets.

I enjoy wearing both of them.  This Moneta is nice & warm (but then so is my Lady Skater as I made it out of sweater knit & it has long snugly sleeves).  You can see the fit of my Moneta doesn’t quite hit my waistline- something I could alter next time.  I would also consider a shorter skirt- I lazily turned up the hem allowance without trying it on ;-) But if I shorten the bodice, maybe I won’t need to.

Moneta dress

Lady Skater has more of a casual edge than the Moneta, which is just a tad more classically styled.  But then isn’t that what both Kitschy Koo and Colette Patterns are known for, respectively?  For me, the joy of a decent knit dress is the style, comfort & practicality, therefore I have room for both of these in my wardrobe.  Hurrah!  Now, when can I make my Liberty jersey up & just what neckline option shall I go for?  (I am veering towards the tie neck- surprise surprise).  If you want to see what my Liberty pattern is, it’s the same (but jersey) as Jane’s lining to her boiled wool coat , Kilburn Rose.

floral leggings

Legs with nothing but flowers

If you want to get into my head & understand the joy that these floral leggings give me (despite their shortcomings which I will detail below) ,……

floral leggings

then you may want to listen to this while reading on …..

YouTube Preview Image

OK, are you set? Have you got beyond the intro?  OK, shimmy in your seat & dream of sunshine & colour…..smile away….these leggings you see make me want to party!  Or run.  The fabric is a Spoonflower performance knit that I ordered during a free shipping promotion.  The thought of blooms all over my pins could not be surpressed.  The darkish colour felt suitable for a long pair in the winter.   I used the Megan Neilson Virginia leggings pattern which I have executed satisfactorily a few times before, full length there in bamboo.  They have a separate waistband & are single piece leggings (ie just one inner leg seam).  I wanted a simple design.

floral leggings

So they should have been a simple sew, & they were.  I was stingy & ordered just a metre, which was a scrape to get the full length, but bearing in mind my red bamboo leggings are long enough to gather around my ankles, I felt I could get away with losing a bit off the length.

floral leggings

I added a mini inner pocket & what’s that?  OK, a canny keyring sewn in to keep my doorkey safe whilst out without pockets.

floral leggings

So what’s the deal?  Well, I made a terrific mistake.  The most terrific mistake you can make with stretch fabrics.  I did not take into account the percentage stretch needed.  Nor the direction of stretch.  I did not even test my fabric before cutting out.   This fabric has limited (25% )  two way  (weft) stretch.   Not enough for cutting a normal pair of leggings that requires ?40-50% stretch would you say?  So I could have overcome that by cutting a larger size, but with no vertical stretch either, I should also have cut longer legs & a longer length at the rise too & maybe, just maybe, I would have got away with it ….

floral leggings

What happens now is that all the limited stretch goes outwards, making the length even shorter.   And at certain pressure points when being worn  the floral print is stretched to the point at which the print is at its limit eg (lower leg) You wouldn’t believe these were designed as full length leggings would you, but hipster capris?  They pass! (Just beware who is standing behind you when you do your stretches after your run!)

floral leggings

I have been wearing them to run in though.  How could I not?  But I have to hoik them up so that there is enough spare fabric around my joints – knees & hips – to move.  They are probably not the most flattering fit as a result, but as you can probably tell, I don’t care.

floral leggings

I don’t think that people notice this creasing around knees & upper thigh because they are fundamentally jealous of my floral pins.  But, readers, take my story & be warned & hopefully when you choose such awesome fabric you are more cautious & prepared than I was.

Perfect combo with my Surf to summit top.

surf to summit top

Surf to Summit Top

My fave running top for winter?  It rapidly became the Surf to Summit top, Fehr Trade’s latest pattern.  I was actually a pattern tester before Christmas but what with Christmas and the laptop malfunction it’s taken me all this time to blog & retrieve photos.  And all the meanwhile I have been regularly pulling this top off the drying rack to use as soon as it is ready.  The red is my absolute fave & I shall now tell you why.

surf to summit top

Have you seen the surf to summit pattern yet?  It is another clever design from Melissa as we all come to expect, Melissa adds practical styling & very clever piecing.  This is a princess seamed, raglan sleeved, long or short sleeved top with options for fold-over hand warming mitts (long sleeve only of course hahaha), turtle neck, half zip neck, back shaped hem for cyclists, elasticated back pocket.   So far I have made a turtle neck out of some slinky smooth sports lycra from UKFabrics online (not sure if there is any of this left now) then I made the half zip version out of some apparently thermal wicking fabric I scored off eBay yonks ago.  (It’s rather fluffy, perfect ski base layer potentially, and so sorry I do not have any links to share)

surf to summit top

Now I was a tester & whipped these two tops up pretty quickly – they are a breeze to make with the raglan sleeves particularly.  Note the versions I am wearing are tester versions and since then Melissa has tweaked the pattern slightly to make the turtle neck facing behave better, she’s also altered the half zip facings, but I did not have any noticeable issues when I made it.

surf to summit top

As it was such a long time ago that I made these tops I am trying to remember how it was, apart from being swift.  The half zip top clearly takes longer to make, but there are some clever facings to make the zip insertion nice & straight forward.  This is one of the first times I’ve done this kind of zip, so at each step I was enjoying learning a new process.  I am sure my zip insertion can be improved!

surf to summit top

I had some strange quirk of a fit adjustment that was so easy – I found the armholes needed more of a scoop as they were a bit high under my ‘pits.  Accommodating deeper more scooped armholes was easy with raglan sleeves – no unpicking required.  Melissa advised me to stick the sleeve back inside the body, so that I could get at the seam that joins the sleeve all the way around, & take some extra off in a nice smooth curve from say mid chest around to mid upper back.  I eeked little bits at a time until I was happy with my armhole scoop.  If only all fit adjustments with an overlocker could be so pleasant!!

surf to summit top

What else did I learn making these tops?  Oh yes, the facings are top stitched in the ditch to keep them in place.  Being a raglan top there are four seams that can be used for this purpose.  I was concerned about sewing with a normal straight stitch on an area that could potentially be stretched so much- but no, the straight stitches have not ever given me cause for worry, they do not appear to give any rigidity to an area of stretch, have no fear & be brave!

surf to summit  top

The process for sewing the mitts is almost as genius as the wearing of them!  There are no awkward sewing manoevres required, honest.  And wearing – folded one way they are just part of your sleeve, fold the other way & they form a neat hand pocket.  Oh I love them!  I might feel a bit like I am in a morph suit, but they are a good thing to have on hand in case of emergency cold fingers.  At the moment I am beyond handwarming long arm mitts, I have to say.  At the moment I am wearing a pair of running gloves plus fleecy mittens, but come the spring, I know I shall be leaving mittens behind safe in the knowledge that my extremities will be protected by sleeve mitts- which can be folded back again when I warm up.  No future incidents of glove-falling from pockets & getting waylaid with these sleeves.

surf to summit top

The reason I am constantly wearing these tops is because it is cold, yes.  The fit is so comfy though, I never thought I’d enjoy wearing a turtle neck – I am funny about things around my neck you see, & would not normally choose it.  But in the winter, it’s ideal for giving a bit more coverage & keeping the draughts at bay.  I love the way the red fabric feels against my skin too.  I think it is 4 way stretch and silky so I could have used it for leggings, but as a long sleeved top, it feels luxurious.   Whilst I like the half zip, I prefer the no zip variety, just because it is less fussy to wear around my neck. If I hadn’t been so busy with Christmas gift sewing, I would have made more, and I have a few fabrics “waiting” by my sewing machines for that opportune moment.

surf to summit top

Comparing three Bronte tops

I was a bit late to join the Bronte top brigade, but am I glad that I did?

The Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren, as you may be aware,is designed for knits, and its most defining characteristic is the cutest envelope neck – well that’s what I call it, reminiscent of baby vests. This neckline is so flattering!  But it is also a joy to sew (but more of that later).   The top is designed to enhance your natural assets, & is shaped to accentuate your waist, rather than a straight down tshirt.  Narrowish sleeves – I made the long sleeved version as this is a winter top for me, it was destined to provide some good solids for wearing throughout the season, and allow me to keep my print skirts in rotation.

Bronte topBronte topBronte top

I have made this three times, out of three different jerseys and what I found intriguing is how they all behaved differently.  Well of course that is not rocket science, but when I was choosing my fabrics online, I did not think about performance, I just assumed they would all fit the bill.   [Hint, they did not!!!]   I chose them all from Minerva, having made things previously out of Minerva jersey, which can be incredibly reasonably priced, the scrooge in me hunted out some more interesting looking jersey bargains.

I used this blue viscose jersey, a red jersey, and an ecru jersey with an interesting texture.

Bronte top

My first Bronte top was made using the blue & was a huge success.  The neckline is such a clever feature – not only looking darn cute but also if you are a tshirt newb, it’s a great way to get the neckband on without the hassle of “how much stretch” as the neck band is attached as one of the first steps – to the front & back separately.  My only frustration in sewing it, was in using my Coverstitch machine to top stitch the seam allowance down – my machine (OK, I shouldn’t blame my machine, but the person steering it!) did not want to keep straight & neat, so I have to say I avoided this step in my next versions, no topstitching at all, just a hearty press with the iron.

Bronte top

 

If it wasn’t for my Coverstitch issues, my blue Bronte top would have been a very quick make.  The sleeves are inserted flat, then sewn closed with the side seams.  I forgave my Coverstitch machine enough to allow it to hem the sleeves and top itself, and it did that without fuss (thank goodness).    Apart from hems, I sewed all of it with my overlocker.

The neckline is secured using invisible stitches or buttons.  Any opportunity to add a pop of button would not be avoided by me.  Red in the case of the blue top, seeking suitable candidates from my button jar.

Bronte top

So feeling plumped up on how well the Bronte goes together, and how well it fits (nice length too, both sleeves and body will certainly keep me sung this winter), I cut out two more, the red and the ecru.  If they were closer in colour, I would have sewn them in parallel, such was the confidence I had in blasting through their construction quickly.  But overlocker threads were from two extreme colour groups, I had to sew in series.  The red was the next one to be made, and without the Coverstitch fuss proved that this really is a quick make – an hour and a half tops.    The fabric had a dense quality to it – I thought it would be nice & cosy as I was making it.

Bronte top

I then made the ecru version, and was really loving the fabric.  I used the wrong side as the right side, so that it’s got more nubbly texture on show.  Attaching buttons was the last step, and something I hadn’t quite got to when I took these photos (it was pre hem too).

So what I found was that the red Bronte top is like a straight jacket!

Bronte top

The sleeves are like plastercasts !  hahaha!

Bronte top

You see I made no reference to its stretch factor.  This fabric is pretty stable, or certainly stable enough to not want to give in the right places for a body flattering top like the Bronte top.

Bronte top

How I chuckled when I realised my mistake.  I have only tried to wear it for an afternoon, and then couldn’t wait to change out of it.  Maybe it’ll be better with short sleeves.

Bronte top

The ecru version though has loads of room & is very comfy to wear.

Bronte top

If anything it has come out slightly larger than the blue one.   It just goes to show that this thing I have about not all fabric behaves the same,  is something that I continue to fall foul of!!  I’m not the only one am I?

Duathlon capris

Funki runners #2

It’s more funki runners! Enter the peacock pair and matching sportsbra (read on below, you think I’m showing that at the top of this post?)

Duathlon and OliviaAnyone remember the Green Goddess?

I did warn you back when I shared my first pair of Funkis that there were more delights to come, and here is part two. Again, disclosure- Funki Fabrics sent me this fabric to review.

Again, I made the Capri length Duathlon leggings by Fehr Trade since, as you know, it’s such a damn fine pattern- pocket for iphone & keys. Dead quick sew. Love them ordinarily but in PEACOCK feathers? Adoration!!

Duathlon

I have been running & done workouts a few times in the pair of leggings I made first & they have been excellent in terms of comfort & get lots of comments! And I wore these this week for an early morning 7am “assault session” (kind of circuits, different every week), having got them out the night before did not really think about them as I blearily put them on at 630am & headed down to my group.  It did not occur to me how others’ bleary eyes would be assaulted by my peacocks hehehe!  They got noticed!  I think it was before I had even got a “hello” there was a “wow”  they’re cool!  You made them, right?!”

I don’t know about you, but when I make exercise wear I am interested in using performance fabrics that wick moisture away from your bod.   I have not yet put my roseskin pair to the test in temperatures other than our mild October temperatures we have been experiencing, so do not feel qualified to have any observations about how they perform in heat or even in colder conditions.

Duathlon

Melissa is happy to wear non technical fabrics for anything up to a half marathon, so that’s a good rule of thumb for me. I am considering making exercise wear in different lengths for different conditions – so am planning to make a short pair of running leggings for the summer (thigh length), whilst also planning a long ankle length pair for the winter (my next make!).  The two pairs I have made so far, including this pair, are capri length which is ideal for autumn.

Duathlon (7)Using that flash of solid makes it easier to find the pocket!

 I am told that the Funki fabric is not technically wicking (which I thought anyway) – however, it is superb quality- it feels so nice & soft against the skin & its stretch and recovery is superb. They’ve recently got a blog post on exercise wear, here.  The fabric is printed on demand & from what I’ve seen & how it’s worn to date, the printing is quality printing- it doesn’t stretch out & doesn’t fade (so far). So just as a tiny technical update on the fabric from the suppliers, it’s ultra chlorine resistant, pilling resistant, excellent UV protection, shape retention with two way stretch.   Interesting – makes me think this would be superb swimsuit fabric. Hmmm.

Jalie 2563 It could be a swimsuit, but why does it feel so exposing?

And there was enough left over to have a go at making a sportsbra using Jalie 2563. I tried it on as I was making it so that I got as snug a fit as possible to squash them bewbs down (& I think it’s successful). This is a good shaped top with a racer back so it’ll be interesting to see how it performs in the field as it were.

Jalie 2563

I meant to give it a go before writing about it, but sadly didn’t get around to it, just been jumping around in the house to test the bounce. It’s true. But may I stress….this will not see the light of day – it is purely underneathies that could reveal a bit of strap, not more, under a baggy vest perhaps. I am definitely not going cropped out in the big bad world where I cannot crop out the bits I’d rather leave out.

Duathlon

Now what about the green top? Well that’s another Olivia oversized tee from Maria Denmark patterns. I have made this quite a few times as I find it a really comfy exercise top – dolman sleeves, baggy enough with a waistband. Its’ made out of wicking “mock eyelet” that I bought from UKFabricsonline. Good price.  This week’s training I wore my magenta Olivia with these peacocks & I have to say it looked even more awesome than the green combo.

This fabric makes me so happy, can you tell???!

And thanks for the advice on the overlocker blade change – it appears it takes two screws.  I shall be on it!

Hudson Pants

Arctic Hudson Pants

Oh my, I cannot believe that it’s been over a week since I last posted anything on my blog.  You know that means that I’ve had serious stuff taking me away from fun.  And it’s true.  I always knew November was going to spawn a monster (to quote the Moz – who, incidentally I shall be seeing later this week- oh yeah!!  For a few hours on Saturday I shall be a head over heels obsessive) And yes, the monster was just a heavy work month which impacted my energy levels & time to be creative, but is now behind me.  Go monster, back to where you belong, a hostage to kindness and all that.  So let’s have it.  Let’s get this show back on the road.  And what better make to showcase than my successful winter version of the Hudson Pants.

Hudson Pants

You see I’m feeling a bit lazy (& tired, or should that be tired & as a result lazy? ) at the moment, and seem to be grabbing the same clothes to wear at home. And as I am working from home more these days, that also means that my sartorial elegance during the week has taken a nose dive, but still rather a handmade nose dive & one that could be argued still has elements of style & colour for all that I am favouring my Jamie jeans and “joggers”.

Hudson pants

It’s these new “joggers” that I am going to share here , since I made them aaages ago. Of course they are going to be more stylish than your usual sweat pants as they are the Hudson pants, neat design, tapered legs with a cuff & cute front pockets – all crying out for use of contrast to perk them up. So I started with some extremely warm fluffy fleece backed sweatshirting from UKfabricsonline (very reasonable price) & wanted to try out some of the ribbing at Plush Addict, as I had never used it & had seen people put it around neckbands & was rather curious.

Hudson pants

(And there are sooo many colours to choose from folks!)

Hudson cuffs

So grey sweatshirting already bought, I opted for the turquoise ribbing. Of course. When it arrived I was immediately captivated by how soft it is, but that’s by the by.  And when you’re using it for cuffs & waistbands, a little goes a long way, so I think I ordered a metre of this lovely stuff & have plentiful supplies now for other neckbands & waistbands, cuffs, the lot!

Hudson Pants

So having made the Hudsons before in floral jersey, (which were also my go-to come home from work change of clothing) I felt optimistic about making a longer length version.   Due to limited stretch with the jersey I was careful to sew smaller seam allowances, wondering if I should have gone up a size (which I didn’t & it was all fine).  Foolishly I managed to sew the pockets wrong (too cocky by half) & had to unpick & watch my notches. But that was all that emerged as an issue …until I got to the waistband. You might think it looks a bit uneven & dare I say lumpy & shoddy? Well, my overlocker really didn’t like dealing with the many layers of thick fleecy fabric – sewing the waistband ribbing onto three layers of sweatshirting at parts of the pockets was not its idea of fun, & it told me so in its deeds.

Hudson pantsIt really did not like sewing through all that.  It was not pretty.  And is still not particularly pretty.

I almost looked into changing the blade, but that would have been extreme serger maintenance, although possibly it’s time by now. It has seen many thousands of serger miles. Any advice on serger / overlocker blade sharpening?

Hudson PantsAs for these Hudsons, gee whiz, but they are cosy & comfy. I don’t feel as if they are particularly flattering, but who cares. They wrap themselves around my legs & I feel fully blanketed up. This is thick sweatshirting & it feels as if I am wearing tights plus trousers, that’s how warm my legs are, when snuggled in these narrow legged trousers. I love the turquoise details, even though I can’t bring myself to look too closely at the waistband. I think turquoise lifts what would otherwise be too boring a pair of sweats, I mean grey deserves to have some fun, doesn’t it?

So, how many pairs of these do I need if I am relying on them to see me through my autumn/ winter evenings, that is the question!

And, any thoughts on overlocker/ serger blades, please let me know! Thank you….

Julia cardigan

Cosy autumn layers

I mentioned a few posts back that I had not been a totally selfish sewer recently. I had a few family birthdays that I have been sewing for, & have decided to share a little combo I made for my lovely Mum in September.  (Yep, I am a bit late writing this up!)

Pic

First of all I had made her a cap sleeved version of the Julia cardigan by Mouse House creations. I knew my Mum would like the idea of an extra layer for autumn, that she could wear with her favourite long sleeve t-shirts. She used to wear waistcoats & has even crocheted herself a sleeveless bolero recently so I took the risk that it would fit into her current wardrobe. I’d snuck in a wear of my own sleeveless/ capped sleeve version in the summer to see if she would remark on it & I think she did, but it seems such a long time ago now that I can’t remember! This was a surprise, & I made it out of a blue cotton mix sweater knit (again from Abakhan in the rummage section, bought in the summer when I visited for the last time *sob* when my youngest graduated.)

Julia cardigan

As with my Jenna cardigan, I used the reverse of the sweater knit (reverse stocking stitch side) as the outside as I liked the texture & knew my Mum would.

What is there to say about it. I’ve written about making it up in earlier versions of my Julias. This is the capped sleeve version & I had enough fabric to make a double hem so that it has a nice neat & solid finish.

Pic

I tested it out for blog photos, but it turns out that I didn’t have to as my Mum bravely modelled it. Truly, this is a big thing, she absolutely hates having her photo taken & wants to remain anonymous, but knows how much better clothes look when they are modelled on real people. And it gave my Dad another opportunity to use his new camera with a willing victim subject! (As long as she could hide her face.)

Pic

But what is that she is wearing it with? Yes, the skirt is something she made recently, which brought her sew-jo back to life.  I think she sill prefers knitting & crochet these days, but it is good to see that my sewing guru can still be tempted to put her foot to the pedal & whip up something out of a remnant!

Pic

But the funny thing is that I’d heard her muse about making a pencil skirt & thought that I could make her a lovely knit version (like Mabel).   I’d bought her a metre of lovely charcoal ponte from my local fabric shop  I thought I could be irritatingly clever & combine a pencil skirt with a stable knit & create arguably *the most comfiest skirt* she could ever hope to wear. However when I consulted her, she liked the idea of a long skirt to wrap her feet in during sofa time & also liked the idea of it being a gored skirt.

Knit Maxi skirt

Well, I brushed up on my maths & designed a six gored skirt that would fit my Mum’s measurements & would also be accommodated by just 1 m x 1.60m of fabric (there’s not much to my Mum!). If you are interested in how I did this, I will take you through my rudimentary drafting steps! (Apologies about the untechnical drawings!)

Key measurements to take:

Finished garment hip, waist, and finished length .   (ie body measurements plus desired ease. I made sure Mum sat down & we measured the “comfy” measurements in that way)

I wanted to make a 6 gore skirt and with it being an elasticated waist, the waist was going to be the same as the hip measurement, but gathered up when the elastic was attached. This allows enough room to get the skirt on over your hips without a zip or other closure. So the width of the top of my gore at the waist edge was finished hip measurement divided by 6 plus a seam allowance each side.

Then I measured the vertical length of the gore (at right angles to the waist edge)- the finished length plus desired hem allowance.

Calculations

Finally to calculate the hem width I made it as wide as I could get it out of the fabric’s width, 160cm and divided 160cm by 6.  But to draw your pattern- easiest option is to halve your horizontal measurements & draw half of it on a folded piece of pattern paper like below.

Drawing

I drew one piece- the gore- as for this skirt would be cut out 6 times, but you could make a 4 gore skirt along similar principles.

Pattern

Cutting out in theory should allow you to cut three pieces with the fabric folded across its width.  In theory.  I am sure I had to finangle it a bit….

Elastic waist

Once I had six pieces I sewed them all together then attached the wide elastic (cut to the comfy waist measurement plus a small overlap) – using Melissa’s way. Then hemmed it. Apparently my Mum loves wearing it & it has survived the wash along the way.

Knit maxi skirt

Here is my attempt at styling it before I gave it to her & before I knew that she would brave the crazy photographer!

Dolores top

Dolores Top Dr Jacobi style

When I wrote about my first forays into making the Dolores top & dress I think I exuberantly shared the fabric that I had in mind for making my autumn Dolores top – one with long sleeves.  The fabric in question was this wild fantasmagorical tropical viscose jersey , or large vibrant floral, as it is described online.  I had just bought it & received it as I wrote that last Dolores post, & was overcome with spontaneity to get on & make it for wearing now.

Dolores top This has to be one of the brightest autumn/ winter tops I have made for a long time.  It rocks the tropics!  Which is why I have dedicated it to Dr Jacobi, he who transformed his Twin Peaks Hospital consulting room into a Waikiki  paradise.  And Twin Peaks has been on my mind recently (not that it ever left my heart) with the news that a new series is going to be on air in 2016.

 

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Having been huge devotees of the series from its original screening, such that Tuesday nights were never the same once season two came to its unnerving end, we are beyond ourselves with excitement.  It is so good on so many levels (many of which I have yet to understand – part of its brilliance), & I love that we watched it when my children were babies & now they have both become huge fans, watching it with us, as we re-watch the series on DVD.  {Happy sigh}

So onto Dolores.  What a stellar top.  But you know that anyway.

Dolores top Its shape makes me want to show off my batwings!

You know I’ve said before what a speedy simple make it is.  And I was thinking that this really is a great beginner’s pattern if you ever wanted to start sewing with a simple knit pattern.

 

Dolores top

I can remember neck bands causing me so much trouble when I first tried making t-shirts – getting the right amount of stretch.  Whether to sew it on after both shoulders are sewn in a loop, or close one shoulder, then add neck binding, then close the other shoulder. The Dolores neck band is applied to the front and the back separately before either shoulder is sewn- it makes it simple to sew.  The sleeves are sewn flat, with the option to pleat or gather the sleeve head to fit.  (I always pleat because gathering would involve another step & you know I am generally as lazy as I can get away with being).

Dolores top

See this is what it looks like in normal wear, when I resist the urge to fly … another great feature with patterned fabric is that this top has no discernible front & back.  Today the front looks like this.  Another day I could swap & have this as the front….

Dolores top

So the fabric is lovely.  It’s said to be a viscose 4% spandex jersey & feels nice & warm – it’s got a reasonable drape but would not be suitable for leggings I don’t think.  Not enough stretch.  PJs though?  They would be groovy, & cosy, wouldn’t they?  I chose it because I am a sucker for large bold bright prints that remind me of the type of environment in which a hummingbird would be at home.  Plus it’s got a teal/ turquoise background- that is so much  *my* colour.

Dolores top

And this is how I wore it on a semi mufti day to work.  It does also look exceedingly good with another pair of Ultimates I have yet to show you…..coming soon!

So it’s the weekend- at last.  I hope you all have great weekends planned.  I have barely sewed all week, & not last weekend either, so I am really looking forward to getting back on it.  And catching up with blog reading too.  It has just been a crazy few weeks.

Feel free to share your Twin Peaks exultations in the comments too!!

Happy sewing & making :-)

 

Funki duathlons

Funki runners#1

Well hello!  I would like to introduce you to my new funki legs.

Funki duathlons

These pins are being motivated by the joy that a new pair of groovy leggings can bring.  I mean when you have leggings like this, they have just got to be shared with the world, right?  They can’t languish in the cupboard but have to get running!

Funki duathlons

Starting backwards here, aren’t I?  With the finished result for a change.  So let’s carry on in that vein.  These are my newest running leggings using Fehr Trade’s Duathlon pattern- capri length.  I love this pattern – it is such an easy make plus it has pockets.  That is one big essential for running kit.  Pockets.  And these pockets are optimally sized for an iphone & keys (one pocket each side).

Funki duathlons Cunningly camouflaged pocket- but it is there!

OK there’s a little interruption of my sleek silhouette when my car keys are lumping out of one thigh & my iphone creates a rectangular shell-like structure on the other, but they are secure enough & it’s a small price to pay for not having to wear a bumbag, & until the weather declines, I refuse to wear my running jacket for all that its pockets are roomy & secure.

Funki duathlons

And I made these in an evening.  Score.

Funki duathlons

So time for to answer that question you most want answered.  The fabric!  Yes it is awesome isn’t it – it’s animal print in black & white with the addition of red roses & carnations.  What a killer combo.  It rocks don’t you think?  It is going to help me pack those miles in this autumn.  It’s from Funki Fabrics who approached me asking me if I would like to try some of their fabric.  Well of course I said yes!  I mean, I could only think running gear, that was all I had in mind.  The hardest part was narrowing down my favorites.

Funki duathlons

So I sent back a shortlist asking for samples and I was so glad I did this – in some way.  The good thing is that you can get a true idea of scale & colour – for real.  So getting the samples was also disappointing because I wanted them all!  They were just as brilliant in real life & completely met my expectations. Discount the plain juvenile (I asked for a sample of the superheroes, I mean Darth Vader, Batman & Spidee?  My boys young men would think I was so cool.  For a minute, then laugh at me for being ridiculous )    But that didn’t stop me having fun with some of my other choices.  I am going to surprise you with my others as I make them up, oh yes!  You ain’t seen nothing yet.

What I thought was fascinating about Funki Fabrics is that all the designs are custom printed on this lovely lycra.  It is not wicking so not technically suitable for very long runs, but for general running, that most of us do, maybe 10k or so, in “normal” weather conditions it would be fine & dandy. And I could imagine shorter versions for summer would also be great….

funki fabrics samples

Yes, custom printed which means that the samples arrived as specially printed rectangles on strips of fabric.  With white borders.  And this is applied to the lengths of fabric you order as well.  I ordered one metre & it was printed on a piece of lycra, a 1mx 1.45m with a white border.  And one of my choices was half a metre.  Again, specially printed, a piece of fabric with a white border and a 1.45m x 0.5, rectangle of groovy print captured inside.

Funki duathlons Is this just too funky with my Jungle January  XYT top?

Funki duathlons Channeling Sweaty Betty at all?

Now Funki do offer a free sample service, as discussed, but there’s got to be a limit & with all of that temptation?  I took so long shortlisting.

Funki duathlons

This week I heard that Funki are now offering something totally wild – you can buy a collection of designs in a single transaction as a sample sheet!

Funki duathlons

Multiple designs have been selected and printed onto a single piece of fabric  – it’s a great way to see loads of the designs  (in this case the first on offer is the autumn collection) all on one piece.  Now those leggings would be super Funki!But then, just wait until I sew up my other fabric.  Wowsers.

What are the funkiest leggings you have?  What pics & embellishments adorn your pins?

Hope you’re having a great weekend all.