Category Archives: Adventures in Overlocking

The Eve Appeal Cocktail Hour – V1415

Ahem . Hello, it’s me again. Like the veritable bus – nothing for absolutely ages then three come at once.  So how did I manage to be the first blogger in the fantastic themed appeal this year for the Eve Appeal charity? I think I felt I should not allow myself a long deadline, plus I wanted to make myself something wintry & that would not be helpful writing about it in the summer.

Last year the blogger tour raised lots of money for The Eve Appeal through pattern sales and awareness of women’s cancers in the sewing community. 

 Last year’s appeal was all around vintage sewing patterns , this year it is ‘The Cocktail Hour’ running from approx. March-November. McCalls have chosen a selection of their favourite Vogue Patterns suited to sipping cocktails. The idea, like last year, is that they are asking sewists all over the country to make one of the patterns, which will raise money (through the sale of each pattern) and awareness for the Eve Appeal charity

There is a festival of patterns – check them out here.

Now arguably I have gone off piste. When you look at the adorable patterns that I could have chosen you may have picked out a classic dress for me, indeed that would have been me in my comfort zone. And there are a few dresses I considered. However, this time I was driven by something different – what about some dressy trousers? Well, the pattern that enabled me to make some dress trews was Vogue V1415 – two cuts of trousers and two tops. It was the cowl necked top that drew my attention – and folks, it can be made out of a knit.

There is just something of the sci-fi about it though … don’t you think?

So my vision was to make a pair of black dressy trousers with the cowl neck top. Maybe play around with it to suit my form if need be.

The online store I immediately thought of for unusual evening fabrics was Croft Mill and it didn’t disappoint. I hunted down some tame gold lame – what does that term conjure up for you? I remember using the term ‘gold lame’ to encompass everything I wouldn’t be seen dead in as I would never have dressed up to go out, let alone in something shiny! But hey ho, times change! I occasionally have the option to dress up & wowser, I have my own gold lame!  I catch myself brewing a bit of Shirley Bassey (on a good day), or failing that, Spandau Ballet ….(please tell me you know what I’m talking about…)

I love the dress trousers – they are also made from Croft Mill fabric –black chino fabric with 3% lycra– I wanted black with a tad stretch (to enable them to fit when my body moves between sizes). The slight sheen on the chino fabric is nice, but to elevate it to posh, I sewed some velvet ribbon along the side seams, like men’s formal trousers (or guardsmen’s trousers if you like).

 

This involved moving the zip to the back and making sure to sew the side seams first & attaching the ribbon before sewing up the rest of the trousers.  I needed to sew two lengths of ribbon either side of the side seam so that I could include a little side split at the ankle.  Incidentally, I did baste the trousers to make sure the fit was OK before sewing on the ribbon (unpicking the basting to leave just the side seams sewn to make a flat stretch of trouser to attach the ribbon.)

Now, V1415 has cigarette trousers as one of its variants, but since I know the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers always fit me, I compared the two patterns and based my trousers on the tried & tested Ultimates.

Now the gold lame…..what do you think? I was all prepared to customise it as I wasn’t sure if the asymmetric hem or tunic style would suit me so I played around with it once the sleeves and the cowl were installed. I took some pics to show what I was thinking. I also cut the length longer than the pattern so that should I cut it across horizontally, it already hit hip length.

 

Take One- the slightly longer than the pattern version:

Take Two: With a gathered side

Take Three: As if it was cut horizontally at the hip

In the end I think I made it up much as the pattern designed, but what do you think?  I have not ruled out later changes….

Top tip – with this gold lame you really don’t want to be pinning it in places where the pin holes will show, so to play around with hem lines I used sellotape inside to fix the hem temporarily so that I could get an idea of what I wanted.

This ensemble is a quick make- & bear in mind that the world of cocktail dress sewing is usually a long path, sewing V1415 is a swifter option!   I overlocked much of the top (the lame is a jersey don’t you know). And as it is a loose fit, the hems (sleeves, hem & cowl hem) are sewed with a regular straight stitch on the sewing machine.

Flat felled seam

The pattern has the odd flat felled seam which is a nice touch (eg at the back of the cowl). Altogether a designer feel (& it is a designer pattern from Tom & Linda Platt).

Oops. it seems to have got caught on my a*$3 again

Hey guess what? Vogue McCalls will provide a copy of this pattern as a giveaway for one lucky reader – just register your interest in a comment before midnight GMT Saturday 18th March 2017 & I will pick a random winner.

And as it is cocktail hour there is a special cocktail (which I failed dismally to make- mine is a poor fake hiding behind Star Wars straws.   I may have reached the early sewing deadline, but getting the provisions for the cocktail in time did not get fulfilled in the badger burrow, but the recipe is:

  • 2x sugar cubes
  • 6 x fresh raspberries
  • 2 x lime wedges
  • 2 shots of vodka
  • crushed ice
  • Ginger beer
  • ‘Slim Jim’ glass

Method:

Place the sugar at the bottom of the glass then add the raspberries and the squeezed lime wedges.

Mash the ingredients together, crushing them to puree the raspberries, before adding the vodka.  Add the ice to 3/4 full, stir to distribute the fruit & top up with ginger beer.

Garnish with a lime wedge to the side of the glass & a freesh raspberry.  Add two [Star Wars] straws and enjoy!  Chin chin!

So there is a big campaign around this and you can join in- why not host your own cocktail party?

The hashtag is #sipandsew The general hashtag for the McCalls social media accounts is #McCallUKMakers. Their social media accounts are: TwitterInstagram

The Eve Appeal lives on social media hereTwitterFacebook and Instagram – so if you get making one of these patterns be sure to let everyone know !

Want to know who else is taking part in this ace campaign?  I have no idea who is making what….keep tuned for some amazing creations from some of our favourite sewing bloggers:

2. Kate Underdown

The Fold Line

10th March

http://thefoldline.com

 

3. Portia Lawrie

Makery

17th March

http://www.makery.uk

 

4. Rachel Walker

The Fold Line9

24th March

http://thefoldline.com

 

5. Wendy Gardiner

Butterick

31st March

http://mccallpatternuk.sewdirect.com/

 

6. Abigail Dyson

The Crafty Pin Up

14th April

http://www.thecraftypinup.co.uk

 

7. Lucy Regan

Sew Essential

28th April

http://www.sewessential.co.uk/blog/

 

8. Fiona Parker

Diary of a Chainstitcher

12th May

http://chainstitcher.blogspot.co.uk

 

9. Nina Chang

Thumblenina

26th May

http://thumblenina.wordpress.com

 

10. Jen Sanders

Gingerella

9th June

http://gingerella.wordpress.com

 

11. Charlotte Powell

English Girl at Home

23rd June

http://englishgirlathome.com

 

12. Elisalex de Castro Peake

By Hand London

7th July

http://byhandlondon.com/blogs/by-hand-london

 

13. Kerry Patterson

Kestrel Makes

21st July

http://www.kestrelmakes.com

 

14. Gabby Young

Gabberdashery

4th August

http://www.gabberdashery.com

 

15. Abigail Norton

Sew Abigail

18th August

http://sewabigail.co.uk

 

16. Karen Ball

Did You Make That?

1st September

http://didyoumakethat.com

 

17. Rachel Wain

Rach Against The Sewing Machine

15th September

http://rachagainstthesewingmachine.co.uk

 

18. Elle Harris

Sew Positivity

29th September

http://www.sewpositivity.com

 

19. Rachel Pinheiro

House of Pinheiro

6th October

http://houseofpinheiro.com

 

20. Amy Thomas

Almond Rock

13th October

http://almondrock.co.uk

 

21. Jane Marland

Handmade Jane

20th October

http://www.handmadejane.co.uk

 

22. Jennifer Walker

Ginger Thread Girl

27th October

http://gingerthreadgirl.co.uk

 

23. Marie Koupparis

A Stitching Odyssey

3rd November

http://www.astitchingodyssey.com

 

24. Elena Rosa Brown

Randomly Happy

10th November

http://www.randomlyhappyblog.com

 

25. Laura Clarke

Sew for Victory

17th November

http://sewforvictory.co.uk

 

26. Janene Spencer

Ooobop

24th November

http://ooobop.com

Seamwork Wembley Cardigan- Remnant perfect!

If only I could do stream of consciousness blogging- a direct link from the ideas I have in my head into WordPress (especially when driving). You may not believe it based on the evidence published recently on my blog (like, no evidence…) but I do still have ideas and energy around blogging, it’s just at the moment they are getting no further than that. Time is always of the essence and I’ve not much of it at the moment. And sewing is still winning a lot more than blogging about what I have sewn.

wembley cardigan

One of the ideas I had was to try to catch up on all of the things I have made this year so that I can do my end of year stats if I feel like it. That may happen yet. I shall make no promises!

 

So let’s get onto a simple-to-blog about make. Photos are taken, minimal writing needed. This could well be the start of a bit more blog-activity.

wembley

This is the Seamwork Wembley cardigan. For some reason I want to call it Warwick, so anywhere I have referred to it that way, please bear with me. It’s a great pattern, one of my most worn cardigans in black wool jersey. It’s of a size that is quite efficient for fabric, not being a baggy style & length hitting at high hip. Perfect for remnants!

wembley cardigan

I bought a variety of remnants in one of the Fabric Godmother’s remnant sales- these are so worth looking out for- great reductions and quality fabrics. My rule of thumb for buying remnants is to see if the length is sufficient for a torso or a yoke – if making a top with contrasts. For skirts you can often get a straight-ish skirt if there is enough length as long as you check out the width of the fabric- quite a few denims/ linens are 150cm wide.

wembley cardigan

OK, so make a note to yourselves to sign up for the Fabric Godmother’s newsletters if you want to get the early sales notifications. This is what I did with mine. I bought the remnant of this sweet cream/ grey knit lace. It is quite fine (would have made lovely undies!) so I ‘underlined’ it with the grey fabric- which is also a knit, a kind of posh fleece that I used to make my Mum’s Style Arc jacket. Underlining the bodice pieces gave it more weight & enabled it to become a winter weight cardigan.

wembley cardigan

Oops out of focus but showing the inside to help explain the underlining

I underlined it the same way as I would underline a woven for a dress – I cut the bodice pieces out of the lace and out of the grey and wrong sides together basted these pieces to each other around the very edges (ie the two left fronts to each other) before constructing the cardigan. By doing this the two left fronts become one thicker left front.

wembley cardigan

 

So it’s cute & wintry & I rather like it. Has it given you some ideas for using up your remnants?

Outfit notes: wearing with a timeless Renfrew tshirt and my Lindy petal skirt and spotty leggings that I don’t think I have ever blogged..

 

Colette Patterns Wren dress

Well hello everyone!  Here is a dress I made yonks ago but have only just got round to taking some pics.  It’s the Wren dress by Colette Patterns.

wren dressMost definitely designed for knits, this cute pattern has been on my making list for a while as you know I could live in knits quite easily and just love to sew with jersey.  This pattern has a wrap bodice and a more scooped back neckline than is usual with your average knit dress bodice.   There are two skirt options – a gored skirt & a gathered skirt.   I was lucky enough to be sent a promotional copy of this pattern when it was released last year so never had the special long sleeve bonus pattern, although I can see it is available as a download here, But I didn’t check back, I therefore chose to make it with the short sleeves thinking that it would make a good style for autumn, especially in this beautifully black floral jersey from Girl Charlee UK (which incidentally was also given to me to review I am a lucky bunny, thank you!)  It is still available – hoorah!

wren dress

I have been wearing this dress a lot as it is easy to wear – of course!  Pop it on with a pair of black tights & a cardi & it’s perfect for this time of year, especially working in quite a toasty office.

wren dressIt has really pretty gathers at the shoulders.

So what sewing observations have I about the Wren dress and the fabric? Well, it is worth knowing that the bodice is actually a very short bodice and actually is more empire line than you might think.  All very good to hide the fairy cakes and fish and chips, but bear in mind that it doesn’t hit your natural waist as it is.

wren dress

All of Colette Patterns are known for their clarity of instructions so they are easy to follow.  This is a nice pattern and relatively easy to sew.  I added a step to the making however.  At the neckline (both the front straight edges and the back neck edge) I used clear elastic to strengthen and support the edges as I wasn’t sure whether the edges actually needed a slight bit of tension to prevent them stretching out of shape.  I did this by attaching clear elastic to the wrong side right up to the edge of the fabric, then turning that edge to the wrong side as the hem, with the elastic now sandwiched in between.   This is explained here in video on Maria Denmark’s blog.

wren dress

Everything else was pretty unremarkable (as I said I made this a while ago and nothing else has stuck in my memory!)

wren dressI haven’t straightened the skirt out here – it has twisted a bit through being worn all day.

Now the fabric is delightful – it is a cotton blend jersey and is pretty light weight but nice & drapey with it.  And who doesn’t love a traditional rose print?  As with all other fabric I have bought from Girl Charlee UK, the quality is superb.  Buying knits online can always be a bit of a gamble, especially if there is little information about percentage stretch and the term ‘mid weight’ or ‘lightweight’ can encompass so many different jersey experiences.  I know I have made miscalculations in the past.  Always worth getting a sample I think.  Which I did.  But quality is always high I have found with Girl Charlee UK and I am not just saying that because this was a freebie – if I didn’t think it was true I would not write it.

Mark from Girl Charlee UK

Mark from Girl Charlee UK

Wearing it above with my Wembley cardigan, one of my busiest wardrobe staples.

But if you ever contact Girl Charlee in the UK you could well be replied to by the lovely Mark.  Now I have been corresponding with him for well over a year now & he is such a warm friendly enthusiastic person to do business with & how amazing was it to meet him in real life last weekend at the West Country Patchwork and Textile Show (more on that another time).  It felt like I had always known him when we had a good ol’ chin wag about the usual sewing things that us sewists and bloggers talk about.  And of course I bought some more fabric to take home with me – it’s irresistible – a shop that sells just beautiful knits?  Oh I am so there!!!  I have cut out a couple of things already 🙂

wrenJust a note on the photos- I took them in the evening so the light was not as good, but it felt like I had to strike whilst wearing it otherwise how long would it be until I could blog about it?

So there we are.  My blogging pile up has just reduced by one.  I have also passed another landmark and switched my blog host which appeared as such a massive headache to me and caused me all sorts of delays getting round to it, but I have to say that it was actually a lot easier than I conceived it to be.  I feel so relieved to have moved over to a UK based wordpress managed host which is going to save me a lot of ££s now.  And it has reinvigorated my feeling towards the blog – it’s like a blogging weight off my shoulders.  So apologies if there was a slight hiccup over the weekend with the last post appearing twice.  And I have not replied to all the comments yet as I wasn’t sure how that would get affected.   Not bad in the grand scheme of things.   I’ll catch up, promise. Hoorah for the second time.

Style Arc Violet jacket- gifting for my Arty mother

Hi all!  This is a bit of a light post as there are no pics of anyone wearing this particular make – you are spared me gooning around today at least 🙂 This is something I made my Mum as a birthday gift & apparently she loves it.  It is the Violet jacket by Style Arc.

violet-jacketNow I was attracted to this jacket as a gift for my Mum because:

  • It’s designed for knits
  • It’s a very forgiving pattern to fit for someone else’s body!
  • It has short sleeves and my Mum loves cardigans/ jackets with 3/4 or 1/2 length sleeves for layering- she has an arty vibe & totally carries off layering 🙂
  • It looked interesting – a cocoon shape with interesting piecing & pockets.

violet jacket pocketSee- pockets!

I have made a couple of other Style Arc patterns – the Daisy Tunic and the Ethel designer pants and this was the third pattern in a special offer I took advantage of.  Style Arc, I have said before, bring a real designer feel to their styles (that’s how it feels to me anyhow).  However, they have less detailed instruction than some other pattern companies, so are less suitable for the beginner unless you go for a simple style.

The Violet jacket was pretty simple to put together but you need to keep your wits about you as there are lots of pieces to connect the right way to the right pieces!  The details that attracted me to it do require attention to the instructions.  Look at the armhole binding- it reminds me of the short sleeved version of the Kimono sweat tshirt from Fehr Trade – it comes together on an angle.  Conventional-looking pattern pieces were rare in this pattern!  It was a voyage of discovery.

violet-jacket

I used some really gorgeous grey fleece which was all cosy & fluffy on the right side from Rose Crafts in Midsomer Norton.  I did not originally buy the fabric with this jacket in mind, so did not have quite enough.  I had hoped to get away with a single layered collar, & even roll hemmed the edge but it looked pants.  I had to make a dash back to Rose crafts to get the last piece….I truly cut it fine!  I could have been badly caught out, but the sewing gods were looking down on me with this make.  There was enough left to get a deal for the end of the roll piece that had a bit of a flaw…but with cutting the collar facing out for this jacket still left me with a large enough piece to make something else …. more to come on that!

violet-jacket-2But this meant I had to add the collar facing to the jacket once it was all finished – which was almost OK – I had to unpick some of the key seams around that area to accommodate it.   And almost OK because only I know where to look inside for the truth, but there is a slight area that is not as pristine as if I had sewn it properly.  Most of the sewing was done using my overlocker, although I did use my regular machine on some of the more tricky parts where you need accuracy- in some cases using it to ‘baste’ before following on with my overlocker & in other cases getting into the corners where a precise finish is essential eg the edges of the pocket opening.

So, it was a success by all accounts.  It is a really snugly jacket – reaching down to upper/ mid thigh & its really cosy collar can be pulled in to keep out the draughts when needed.  And then at other times it’s a swish arty layer!

Don’t forget that one more day on the Azaire pattern giveaway if you want to enter!  I am sorry for not replying to individual comments – it makes it easier for me to keep track of numbers for when I do the random draw.  However there was one comment about the top looking different in the two outfits ….purely laziness on my part as in the more recent photos I was wearing a black (outrage!) vest top underneath.  I should know better than that, especially when the top is half lined.  Sorry folks (insert sheepish emoji here)

My Named Delphi Maxi dress …. as rather a special balldress

Oh yes Cinderella, you shall go to the ball even though you haven’t made your dress and you’ve got to get to Devon in a week’s time…. It wasn’t that I made a last minute decision to choose dress & even buy fabric – supplies were procured in reasonably good time (4-6 weeks ahead).  I just did not have the sewing time in September and October until – er- the weekend before!  But I had long envisioned the graceful style, comfort & ease of making me my first floor length ball dress in a jersey using the Named Delphi dress.  This is how it turned out.

delphi dress

First of all please allow me a smidge of smug because it turned out absolutely brilliantly.  Not only was I pleased with how it looked (unique & a bit classy), fitted (spot on & very comfy) & performed on the night,  it is the ultimate to pack & wash- unlike most balldresses.  I could have screwed it up & chucked it into my weekend bag (I loosely folded it, didn’t screw it into a ball, but it would have survived) & not a suitbag & dry cleaner in sight.

delphi dress

So let’s rewind.  It started with the pattern.  I’d been returning to the Delphi off & on, not being a maxi dress wearer, but being strangely drawn to the floaty bodice & Grecian lines.  I also wanted to make my balldress for my October charity ball as the group of girls that I went with all decided that we would wear long dresses & I didn’t have one.  I was prepared to make something with glitter & sequins but even though I was shopping for fabric a good month or so beforehand, I didn’t really leave myself a huge amount of time to do my research.  So I ended up visiting my local fabric shop in Midsomer Norton, Rose Crafts for any of you interested (a fab shop with a really surprising selection of good value fabrics).  I was almost pulling out a roll of electric blue lycra when I spotted the purple/grey crinkle jersey (a Makower fabric and not cheap cheap, about £11 per metre).  ‘Now that’s Grecian’ I thought and just as I pulled the slim roll out of the shelf, I spied the matching (Makower) jersey lace in a purple/grey and fate stepped in.  This was it.  I had my dress.  I also bought some stretch jersey lining as I planned to make an internal bra to avoid buying a strapless one and to line the skirt as the fabric could be a little sheer .  I should note that I bought far too much of the plain crinkle grey as I needed to cut the skirt across the width (so that the crinkles fall vertically) but bought the yardage advised on the pattern which aims to cut skirts down the length.  I could have saved myself some dosh there, but it seems I have enough left over to make a day to day skirt ….soon.

Gosh! A ball dress with an elastic Waist!

Gosh! A ball dress with an elastic Waist!

Onto making notes.  I made a toile using some ordinary jersey to judge waist position & length of skirt.  (My toile is now a nightdress!) I thought the length may have been designed for Amazonians & I didn’t want to waste posh fabric as I planned to make an overlocked  rolled hem)  however I didn’t really need to shorten the skirt – I cut off the equivalent of the hem on my ball dress & on my toile just made a normal kind of hem.  My toile did throw up bodice adjustments needed- There was far too much width at upper front & upper back which resulted in gaping – I therefore had to adjust the pattern by taking out a good wedge from the CF bodice front & back.  In my toile, it hangs a bit like a cowl.  Another good reason for making the toile was to test run the construction and work out how it all pieced together, enabling me to make some design decisions for the actual posh dress.  I had thought I would use fold over elastic (FOE) for the straps, but having used FOE for my toile I decided that the weight of the posh dress with lining might place too much weight on the narrow FOE straps – so I made straps using strips of posh fabric instead (not on the bias though due to the direction of the fabric crinkles, but down the length).  I also needed to work out how I was going to make an integrated bra!  How the layers would sit & sewing order.  I also needed to understand what the finished length of the bodice top layer needed to be so that I could cut my scalloped lace edge at the right edge.  As it turns out, this layer is curved and cannot use the scalloped selvedge edge at the hem- I will show you what I did later.

delphi-dress

I was really pleased with my toile despite it being too big at my upper bodice.  The style is very flattering – & made in a jersey that hangs deliciously I was really excited to make it up in posh fabric- for real.  The waist is elastic and allows some growth & shrinkage over time (ball dresses are investment pieces afterall).  The elastic waist is also simply made with the seam joining the bodice and skirt being used as the tunnel for the elastic.  It was a very straightforward and quick make – I used my overlocker for most of it.

delphi dress

I bet you want a bit of info on making the integral bra?  This would be useful for whatever reason you were making a Delphi dress – as a summer dress or ball dress.  I looked in my patterns to find a sports bra that I have already made to get an idea for how narrow it needs to be to squash my ‘girls’ adequately to avoid bounce, & how long (from top to bottom) the bra needs to be.  (The photos show the lining/ bra in navy fabric for info).

delphi

I made a pattern using the existing Delphi bodice upper edge to get the shape of the upper bodice, used the length of the sports bra (with extras for seam allowances), and started off by drawing a line joining the width at the bottom edge of the sports bra with the width at the upper edge of the Delphi bodice.  I made the sports bra in a double piece of jersey lining & basically kept trying it on until I was happy with the fit.  It’s really important though to make sure it doesn’t vary too much away from the bodice edge that it will be joined to otherwise there is a greater risk of pulling as the size differences wrestle with each other (I have found this in the past, anyway).

I did not have black elastic for the bra!

I did not have black elastic for the bra!  This is the bra being pulled out of the top of the bodice

 

Once I was happy with the fit, I sewed some 1cm elastic to the bottom edge of the bra so that it was hidden & to the inside of the bra & to fit my underbust.  I then basted the bra to the upper edge of the bodice – right side of bra to wrong side of lining.  The dress is then constructed by placing the bodice top layer right side together with the wrong side of the bra (I think!  Play around with it to see how it would look once sewn if you are unsure!).

delphi dress

I also mentioned the scalloped edge of the bodice layer- in my case I used lace.  The bodice layer has a curved edge so it cannot benefit from the readily available scallops at the side on the selvedge edge.   But it didn’t stop me trying!  I cut a new pattern piece for the front & back layer as one unfolded piece so I could be careful about positioning.

One piece bodice patterns

One piece bodice patterns

I therefore cut the layer without cutting on the fold & then manually added some scallops, cut from the fabric’s selvedge, to the hem of the bodice, with a small zigzag, like sewing scalloped lace to undies.

I also said that I lined the skirt – I just cut two versions of the skirt – one in jersey lining- & basted them together at the top of the skirt, wrong sides together, before attaching skirt to bodice.  I roll hemmed both lining (A little shorter than the posh skirt) and roll hemmed the posh skirt with my overlocker.

delphi dress

And a great time was had by all.

ball laughter

I did not feel trussed up like a chicken in boning &/or magic pants.  I had plenty of room for a three course dinner & sashayed on the dance floor until it was time for carriages.  Once home I chucked it into my washing machine (cool wash) & before I knew it, it was packed away, hibernating until the next posh floor length do.

evening-bag

Oh yes, more another time, but I made myself some accessories to suit- this clasp bag

earrings

& some earrings out of Fimo roses.  I shall report back a bit more on that some time soon.

Ahh, happy memories.  Hope you are all having a great week.  Cheerio for now….

 

Vogue 1085- My Prague top

Another fabric souvenir, this time from Prague.  I managed to find a fabric shop close to Wenceslas square – Latky Galanterie – website here (not sure if it is a national fabric chain) and location in Prague on this map.

Fabric shopping in pragueA lovely shop, large and full of tidily arranged bolts of beautiful fabric.  I was visiting Prague with only hand luggage and so only looked for one special piece of fabric and sadly kept away from all the temptation

Fabric shoppingApart from a really unusual piece of jersey with fragmented patterns of the outdoors, a splash of red from the garden and colours that to be honest reminds me more of Scandinavia than summer in Prague, however, I bought it in Prague so it is my Prague top.

Prague topI wanted to preserve the pattern as much as possible – no fancy details.  I also wanted a very slouchy loose fit – it’s what the fabric whispered to me.  So I found Vogue 1085, a ‘Today’s Fit’ pattern by Sandra Betzina that has an unusual reversible wrap / cowl sleeveless jersey top and this raglan sleeved cowl neck top.  I have had this years and I think that it must be out of print now, judging from my quick search online.  I do still fancy making the sleeveless reversible top…but this is about the other style on the pattern!

Vogue 1085

I cut it in a large size for ultimate bagginess but shaped it at the side seams to give a little better definition at the waist.

Vogue 1085

I thought carefully about pattern placement so that the front view captures the part of the pattern I wanted to be the focus with that bloom of red & cottage nicely placed.

Vogue 1085

I did not have enough fabric to make full length sleeves (in terms of the pattern’s 3/4 length sleeves) so I cut some extra wide cuffs to extend the arm length a tad.

Vogue 1085

I also wanted to finish the hem with a fabric band instead of turning the hem & stitching – I made the band just a little smaller than the hem, so that it drew it in a bit from being so slouchy.

The back

The back

I know that the fabric’s pattern plays tricks with your eyes – the raglan sleeves hardly show.

Love the cowl!

Vogue 1085

I have started to wear this a bit more now the weather is cooling & have had compliments galore.  I give the fabric credit for this as it really is all about the fabric!

Have you enjoyed sewing fabric souvenirs?  Do you love wearing them & remembering where you bought the fabric?

Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

Hello all!  This one is a short & sweet one – reflecting the short & sweetness of the sewing!  And the photos …. forgive me…. you may not learn a great deal about the garment I am talking about because, well, it just doesn’t show up much in them!  Is there any point ?  Well bear with me, you can get the gist plus I have not edited the cat out of some of them & I know there are a few cat lovers out there.  What more reason do you need to read on?

wembley cardigan

I have made me the perfect summer cardigan.  Even though I love round neck cardigans (Muse Jenna cardigan is my ultimate fave) sometimes you need a v neck or a straight edge cardigan to wear with some of those shirt dresses or just on top of t-shirts.

wembley cardigan

I did not consciously aim to make a straight edge cardigan when I got my precious black wool jersey out & played around with the patterns I already had.  However, I also had the Wembley Cardigan, a Colette Patterns Seamwork magazine pattern, printed out ready to sew.  I’d recently made my Sew Over It Vintage shirt dress and thought it was an idea pairing.

Wembley cardigan

Zoom.  There is not that much sewing to the Wembley cardigan – shoulder seams, sleeves to set in with cuffs, waist & neck bindings.  That’s all.

And I have to say that this is a really useful style for spring/ summer.  I’ve been pulling it out of the cupboard a lot & it is very mixable with trousers & skirts & dresses.  What a winner!  Has anyone else come to the same conclusion about the Wembley cardigan?

And if you got this far you might be interested to know that that massive bush of a hairdo has been tamed now.  No more grandma bouffant.  That makes me feel better already!

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… .

 

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!

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?