Category Archives: Adventures in Overlocking

coco top

Coco top with a yoke

Hello all!  I am in that place where my blogging is not keeping up with my sewing (or even my life ) at the moment.  I might (a big might) write another one about that as there were some sewing adventures & some compulsory fabric purchasing (shortened to ‘CFP’ & defined as unavoidable weakness when in proximity to fabric.  I suffer from this a lot & it is virtual as well as a tangible condition.  I suspect I might not be alone ).

Coco top with a yoke

But for now I am going to rewind a few months to show something I made as a gift (hence no pics of me wearing it, much to your relief as I haven’t got my hair in order today).

This is a Coco top & I added a yoke to it both in the bodice and at the sleeve tops.

Coco top with a yoke

It ‘s not that hard to add a yoke – you just need to be clear about where you want it to sit (I suggest that a horizontal seam right across the fullest part of your bust is not necessarily the best place 😉 )  And you could stop there, but I wanted the tops of the sleeves to mirror the yoke on the bodice.  So once I had drawn my bodice yoke line, I then needed to align the sleeves as if they were sewn in to work out where to continue the yoke line in the sleeve pattern.  Tempting as it might be to just slice through your original pattern you need to make copies of the bodice & sleeves because you need to add seam allowances to the horizontal seams.  But then you end up with a pattern to use again.  Reward for your new pattern drafting !

Coco top with a yoke

The fabric is some soft mid weight jersey in a cream/ green stripe that I had bought with this very intention a bit too long ago to expect it to still be in stock.  I can’t even remember where the cream ponte came from.

I have been having a lot of success using clear elastic on turned over necklines in knits like this.  I was reminded of it when this helpful tutorial was published by Maria Denmark on adding invisible elastic to knit necklines

Clear elastic attached to wrong side of neckline

Clear elastic attached to wrong side of neckline

It involves two passes at the neckline, sewing the elastic to the wrong side before folding (with an all important steam of the iron in between) to finish the neckline.

Sewing from the right side to finish the neckline with a folded edge, elastic sandwiched in the middle

Sewing from the right side to finish the neckline with a folded edge, elastic sandwiched in the middle

I find it gives a better level of stability to the neckline (as I sit here in a teeshirt I made that has a boatneck & gapes dreadfully).

coco topAnd to finish these adorable nautical buttons- no more left now.  Thanks Zoe, who sent them to me all those months years ago.  They are from Textile Garden – whilst having a quick roam amongst some stunners, I came across some anchor-readys, there may be more if you look harder… .

 

hudson pants

Springtime Hudsons

Fancy seeing yet more lounge wear that has been added to my repertoire?  After making floral summer Hudson pants, Arctic Hudson pants (both of which get a sound wearing), the new kid on the block are my Springtime Hudson pants made out of some delicious purple jersey.

hudson pants

Read more about them at the Minerva Blogging network here, and find out why they are not  Kwik Sew K3835.

Enjoy!

mccalls 7261 feature

Luxury running top McCalls 7261

I have not posted anything for a while about running have I?  That itself could be a post of its own, reflective perhaps that my running has taken a bit of a back seat to the other stuff going on.  Maybe I will find time to write about that sometime.  Maybe.

mccalls 7261 (3)

But this is something I have made for running.  Hurrah!  And it has been worn on quite a few runs already!  Double hurrah!  This is McCalls 7261  M7261 which has long sleeved tops with collar & hood options & cuffs with thumbholes (gotta love those thumbholes for a winter running top 😉  ).  This pattern also has colour blocked leggings which I haven’t looked into.  So quite an interesting pattern!  Almost a winter running capsule wardrobe!

mccalls 7261

The top has princess seams & raglan sleeves.  I went for the version with the two-piece cowlish neck.  It’s like a built in mini Buff.

mccalls 7261 (6)

I also wanted to make the version with the thumbholes – I mean this would be a full on winter running top.

Thumbholes

Thumbholes

But what about the fabric?  It’s from Spoonflower (2m bought  on one of the free postage days last year ) – Birds & Bees in butter yellow – using the Performance Knit – this is the lesser stretch active wear fabric (NB not suitable for leggings which need high stretch,  the Sport Lycra is best for leggings)  This though feels so silky to the skin & performs great when you’re running & get a bit warm.  It also has amazing drape which means that the collar on this top is absolutely glorious & cascades beautifully.  I love sewing with this fabric & I love wearing it.  Truly it feels luxurious.  And the design is so cute & unusual.  But also quite understated.  I love it.  The birds are so cuuuute & singing to me as I run!

Sorry about the apparent strain! Just my arm position...

Sorry about the apparent strain! Just my arm position…

I have not that much to say about the sewing except that it all came together really nicely.  I used my overlocker (of course)!  except for hems & using a narrow zig zag to understitch the seam allowance at the collar.

mccalls 7261 (2)

I did also machine baste the collar to the neckline with my regular machine using a long straight stitch before sewing with my overlocker- just as a precaution & much easier to sew trickier seams on your overlocker when there are no pins in the way!

mccalls 7261 (5)Here are some more photos of the back …

mccalls 7261 (7)mccalls 7261 (8)

I’m not modelling it very well, twisting it a little out of shape.  But it shows it loves to slink.  I did make a size 12, as I prefer a loose fit.    I’ve enjoyed everything about McCalls 7261- so far.  There is finally more choice in the  activewear patterns being released by some of the big 4 & if this top is anything to go by, they are really interesting & wearable.  What do you think?

circle skirt

Possibly the easiest circle skirt in the world…

Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope you have been doing a bit of what you love (even better if it’s a lot of what you love 🙂 )…

I have had a glorious Saturday afternoon of sewing, prompted by an urge that I just possibly could make a whole new outfit for a special birthday party this afternoon.  Having just some finishing touches to make for a top (one that I will reveal properly  in another post, but it’s peeping out in today’s pics….) I got it into my head that I could actually conjure up a new skirt, & cami to wear underneath this top (that will also be revealed separately).  Because this is about the circle skirt.

circle skirt

I have a bit of a thing for circle skirt exploration at the moment as I shall be making an AWESOME one very shortly – I just need to complete my supplies before I can start sewing, but it is cut out ready.  I am being such a blimmin awful tease so far aren’t I?  All promises of things to come, & not much else.  OK, I was trying to complete the backstory for making a circle skirt this time.  Since revisiting this circle skirt , & just how wearable & cute it is with cropped tops & even heels, I have been drawn to making more.  This one today is a full circle skirt.  Like, all one piece, no seams.  For real.  Spread it out on the floor and it’s like a donut.  (one that’s decidedly more dough than hole).

circle skirt

That is one of the joys of making a circle skirt.  It doesn’t have to have seams as long as you make it with an elasticated waist.  And gone are the days of elasticated waists being frumpy.  When you have a swish circle skirt & combine it with some deep elastic, the elastic itself takes on a role as part of the design- almost a built in waspi belt, but without the buckle.  Mix it up a bit with an elastic in a feature colour or you can even get patterned elastics.  What’s stopping you?  If I wanted I could have made mine more cinched by making it a bit smaller – a bit of guestimating going on for my elastic.   However, the skirt succeeds at staying on my waist, nice & comfy.  I reckon I could wear this for days on end, the kind of thing that would also be very comfy to travel in.  It’s that easy to wear.

I made the skirt using a length of jersey that I got from Croftmill before Christmas thinking that it would make a nice skirt for a gift, however, I did not get enough for the kind of skirt I wanted to give.  Classic ordering fail on my part.  It’s got swirls & flowers embellishing it – in relief, like ribbon embroidery but with strips of he jersey.  But for all that prettiness it is still a basic black skirt so will be super mixable with other garments & for different occasions.

fabric

 

So making it.  I already mentioned that I cut a circle – folded the fabric into quarters to make it super easy & used my Pavolva skirt pattern as a basis, but had a bit of squaring up to do.  There’s explanation for how to cut your circle skirt in one piece here at Donna Carol’s blog.  And don’t forget the By Hand circle skirt app that helps calculate yardages & what the radius of your waist circle needs to be for the kind of circle skirt you want to make to fit you.

waistband

Right side and wrong side of waistband.

So once I had cut my circle with a hole in the middle, I then measured my elastic (waist + seam allowances)  & joined it into a circle with a narrow zig zag  seam.  I also used a zig zag to stitch the seam allowances down.  (You might want to stay stitch the skirt’s waist before attaching the elastic but I didn’t, doesn’t mean to say what I did was right!!  NB if you do stay stitch with a straight stitch it really will only be a temporary stitching line and may actually snap in several places if you leave it in when you wear it as it will get stretched.  Why staystitch you ask?  Well, it might make it easier for you to control the application of the elastic to this edge….) soooo….

Right side showing how I zig zagged the seam allowances of the elastic

Right side showing how I zig zagged the seam allowances of the elastic

Marking the elastic into quarters I also marked quarters along the skirt’s waist.  With right sides together, bottom edge of elastic to top waist edge of skirt I matched elastic markers to waist markers.   It was then a case of stitching the elastic to the skirt with a suitable stretch stitch – in my case using my overlocker, but a zig zag will do just as well.  I had to stretch the elastic to match the skirt’s waist which results in the elastic bringing the waist to the right size as this edge will probably have stretched out.

waistband

Handmade Jane has got a great tutorial for attaching elastic to a waistband here….slightly different to mine & better if you want to see every bit of your elastic if it has a pattern on it.

OK, so nearly with a finished skirt, I let it hang overnight as there is a lot of bias action going on here.  Next day I measured up from the floor (using my dummy, Barbarella which has a chalk marker- this is the singular most useful thing about having a dressmakers dummy in my opinion) I marked the same distance from the ground all the way round.  I then used my overlocker to finish the edge & cut off the excess all in one go.  Pow!

Hem & cut all in one go

Hem & cut all in one go

It was just a normal overlock stitch, using the chalk markings as a guide to get an even hem.  You could use a rolled hem, or with a regular machine cut the hem evenly then finish with a zig zag perhaps or just leave the cut edge as I did here.  (And it’s still absolutely OK!)

The finished hem

The finished hem

So, a super duper easy peasey circle skirt.  Super duper easy photos too….

You will next see this skirt when I tell you about the rest of the outfit.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend folks x

Rachel

Minerva make: Rachel Wrap dress by Maria Denmark

I took a  sojourn from the Minerva Blogging Network & my usual mega obsessive sewing, & replaced it with all things moving house etc but am pleased to take up where I left off now that life in the country is in a steady state & sewing is very much back on the agenda. Whoopity whoop!!

Rachel wrap dress

I’ve made the Rachel Wrap dress by Maria Denmark & for my full write up visit the Minerva Blogging Network here.  Photos are taken by my very own David Bailey father, can you tell ? 😉

joan dress

How I made the Joan dress out of a knit

Hello again!  Are you tempted to make a Joan dress in a knit?  I used a ponte from Girl Charlee Uk which is lovely quality & a joy to sew with as well.  But what did I do differently to take the Joan dress pattern that is designed to be used with woven fabrics, to get an almost nice fitting version in a beautifully comfy knit?

joan dress

As promised I’m going to share the method & adjustments I used – I am not saying there isn’t an even better way to do this.  But it worked for me!!  Maybe it’ll launch you on your own journey to give it a go?  Coming up with your own adaptations & ideas?

First of all I prepared myself with this article (very timely) in February’s Seamwork magazine on how you can use patterns that are designed for wovens for knit fabrics.  It’s an excellent piece written by Christina Haynes & tells you what to consider about how adaptable the pattern is, how you can break the rules, how darts & closures are not always needed,   It gave me food for thought & prepared me.

joan dress

However, I think my best preparation, as already mentioned, is that I had seen how a tie neck bodice could be made in a knit with the Colette Patterns’ Moneta dress.    I also prepared myself to make the bodice as a toile & sew each seam in basting stitches to fit before overlocking.  And this I did (although why I did not get that sway back right irks me a bit as I will have to go back & adjust it).

Fitting – from woven to knit

So, after some thought I decided to make the Joan dress in my usual size & if necessary make it smaller.  I also felt confident that I would not need any kind of fastenings, so cut the back pieces (bodice and skirt) on the fold (minus the seam allowances) The ponte de roma is a reasonably stable knit with some stretch but not toooooo much.

joan (2)

I was going to make this pattern up with darts & all because Joan is a shapely darling & just because you don’t always use darts with a knit, doesn’t mean they are banned or wrong.  I think the first time I used darts in a knit was with one of Maria Denmark’s dresses, Audrey dress, which uses back darts for shaping).  So I felt that the ponte would behave positively if I stuck to the darts to make this dress super shapely.  And it did.  I just had to make the darts bigger & take much bigger side seams.  As I said, I sewed it all using a long basting straight stitch (with a ballpoint needle) to then work out what fitting I needed to do.

joan dress

Long straight ‘basting ‘ stitch – see the adjustment I am making from the original stitching line

Once I was close to the final fit, I then used my overlocker for the final seams.  NB I basted the side seams but did not overlock them until later, see below!

Here is how much I took the darts in by.  And the side seams.

joan dress darts

Please look closely – there are two lines of stitching, honest!

I plan to make more Joans in a knit, so made a copy of the bodice pattern as adapted for knits…will save me time next go.  All in all by my reckoning the side seams came in by a further 1cm each plus the extra shaping at the darts.

I also used this approach when the time came to fit the skirt – sewing with my basting straight stitch before using the overlocker when I had done the fitting to make the final seams.

So that is how I got the fit (almost, bar sway back.)

Stabilising seams – from woven to knit

You wouldn’t generally stabilise seams in a woven, but I always stabilise my shoulder seams in any knit tops/ dresses that I make by sewing clear elastic, seam binding, or even narrow ribbon in the seam allowance.  My overlocker has a special gap in the foot which allows you to thread through tape/ elastic (providing it is narrow enough) so that it becomes part of the stitching process as you serge the seam.

I also stabilised the waist seam – with clear elastic.  You wouldn’t be able to use non stretch binding or ribbon here otherwise you would not be able to get the dress on & off without a zip.  However I think it is needed & I sewed the seam attaching the bodice to the skirt, then used my regular machine to attach the elastic (not at all stretched, just flat) to the seam allowance.  This adds stability & recovery should the seam get under pressure with being put on/ taken off.  That’s my thinking, anyway, there might be other reasons that it is useful, it certainly will not hurt it.

Inserting the sleeves- from woven to knit

Of course you know that I am going to tell you that I inserted the sleeves flat, not needing to gather the sleeve heads, but carefully used the stretchy properties of the fabric to accommodate sleeves into armscyes.  (I had removed the basting stitches before being able to do this) The sleeves were then completed with the side seams of the bodice in one single seam.  (Which I knew would be OK, as I had already fitted the bodice by basting it together).

Process for attaching the collar & tie neck – from woven to knit

There were some adjustments I made to the process for adding the collar & tie neck.  I still stay stitched the neckline, front & back (with a long machine straight stitch).  I also cut the tie pieces on the bias, (as per woven pattern) as these pieces have to work hard to go around the curves & despite working in a knit, I think you need the bias to max out those curvalicious properties).  Next time I will remember that I only need to cut the collar as one piece too!  After all there is no centre back seam to allow for…But, here’s the main difference between the pattern for the woven & the changes I made- the pattern creates a lined bodice as a woven & this is how the collar’s finish is kept nice & neat, hiding the raw edges within the lining.

joan dress

Now although my raw edges would be nice & overlocked, I did not want them peaking out at unforeseen moments, so I took the route taken with attaching the collar to the Moneta dress, sewing the right side of the collar to the wrong side of the bodice neckline, then flipping the collar out to the right side.   This leaves the inside of the neckline, an area that I felt might come on show accidentally, super neat.

Attaching the collar - following on with the overlocker

Attaching the collar – following on with the overlocker

(Tip: To make sure I got the collar sitting in the right places I also basted the collar on first of all, with a long straight machine stitch, before passing over with the overlocker.  This is much easier than negotiating pins & the tie neck has some very specific match points needed & if they slip it would be more than a bit of a spoiler).    However, remember I mentioned how the bias pieces are needed to navigate the curve of the neckline?  Well I felt that even with a hearty press, the collar might not stay put on its own accord.  I took counter measures & actually slip stitched the collar edge to the neck seam, as that is how the collar liked to sit – kind of folded along its length to hug the curve of the neckline.

joan dress

That might not have made any sense at all to you, so here’s a close up.  The collar is permanently (well as permanent as my hand stitching) in this position.

The kick pleat

Now the woven version of the Joan dress relies on the lining to help with the finish of the kick pleat.  For a knit version, with no lining, you just have to make sure you create the same kind of overlap, securing where necessary to sustain it.

joan dress

I trimmed some of the vertical pleat extension off for the edge that would be underneath the pleat & turned the long vertical edge over & secured it with a regular straight stitch.

joan dress

The top layer of the kick pleat does not have any vertical stitching on it, but I have reinforced the diagonal top edge of the pleat with regular straight stitch.  This also holds the top edge in place.  The hem holds the bottom edge in place and together I think this is all that is needed.

Finally hems.

This is  a figure hugging dress which means the hem of the skirt could be subject to some stretch with a stretch fabric.  Sleeve hems are definitely areas of potential stretch stress.  So hem the Joan dress in whichever way you usually hem your knits- twin needle, coverstitch or triple zig zag.

What do you think?  Tempted?  Go on!

JOan  dress

 

 

Feature

Joan dress (by Sew Over It) in a knit!

Well hello Joan!

Joan 1

How many of you were in general swoon when you saw that the Joan dress by Sew Over It was released last autumn?  I Know I went into meltdown as it came out when I was camping sewing & I just desperately wanted to make one for myself ( but couldn’t for various reasons).  However let me tell you a secret…even when I saw it back then, I harboured a fantasy to make Joan with her sexy curves & drop dead gorgeous tie neck….in a knit.  The ultimate in style meets comfort & easy care.  And if you have followed me for a bit, you know that those principles are the ones I prize very highly for everyday sewing/ wearing.

joan dress

So the Joan dress is a fitted dress, with 3/4 length sleeves and a cute tie neck.  It has a separate bodice/ skirt & on me you can see that this seam sits above my natural waistline.  It has bust darts, waist darts (front & back – bodice & skirt), back neck shoulder darts & a kick pleat.  Clearly inspired by Joan Holloway from Mad Men, this is a very grown up dress & one that is super flattering.

joan

Having made the Colette Patterns’ Moneta – a knit bodice with a tie neck I felt confident that I could adapt the Joan dress ( a pattern for use with woven fabrics)  to make in a knit.  Potentially I could lose the zip & the lining, sewing all of it (or most of it) on my overlocker.  The fabric needed to be a stable knit, and I thought a ponte de roma would do the job.

So over I went to Girl Charlee UK, specialists in all sorts of knit fabric to peruse their pontes.  And I have remarked before how extensive their range is.

fabrics

Well, I shortlisted three and asked the lovely folk at Girl Charlee to send me samples & opted to make my Joan dress out of the houndstooth in black/ café.  (They were kind enough to provide me the fabric – thank you!)  This is not my usual colour, (I would have usually gone for a monochrome dogtooth had there been one) but I knew it would fit with my wardrobe & I think the café background is warmer & less severe than a white background so a cool discovery & more gentle for winter skintone.  I decided to go for pattern as I thought it would be a bit  more racy than the maroon which would have been a lovely Joan and a safe bet.   All of the samples felt delicious to the touch – lovely quality, & I have to say, this houndstooth was a delight to sew, but is so soft to wear.  It is lovely.

joan dress

To make it up, I had to do some serious fitting,& I think I could have made a bit more of a tweak on the sway back (& actually I still could since this dress has a separate bodice/ skirt so in theory I could review that back waist seam some more …)  I bet you could really get that Joan Holloway figure hugging maxed out even more, however this is the fit that I am comfy with.

joan dress

There were a few changes & allowances I had to make when adapting the Joan dress pattern for sewing with a knit, & I will write about those in the next blog post.

joan dress

So I am going to leave you with some photos of the finished Joan dress & the wear report.

joan dress

Folks, I felt strangely girly (Or actually it should be ‘womanly’ in the most positive sense) – & comfy – at the same time. Win!  And then  I washed it, hung it on the line & when dry put it straight into the wardrobe.  No ironing.  Score!  It’s got the perfect amount of cosy for this time of year too – worn with black tights & a cardi I am sorted.

Tune in next time if you would like to see what I did to make the  Joan dress in a knit.

PS Trying out different locations in my cottage as backdrops – this is the hallway that combines as a dining area (not that you get to see the dining area!)

Disclaimer I was lucky enough to have been sent a copy of the pattern by Sew Over It & the fabric was also provided to me by Girl Charlee UK in return for a review.  All views are honest & my own.

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?