Tag Archives: Liberty

Posh boxer shorts- ideal Christmas gift

Well hello!  It’s been a very heavy week for me on the work front and also on ‘life’ – but I shall tell you all about that next time (& it’s all mega exciting!) Today I feel it’s important to get some tips out for any of you who want to make Christmas pressies for your nearest & dearest.  Are you thinking about Christmas yet?  Have you ever made boxer shorts?  Well here are my tips for making boxer shorts out of just 1 metre of fabric which means you could even justify buying a metre of Liberty fabric to make some really special undies for someone deserving & with impeccable taste 😉

marvel boxers

Or Marvel super heroes?

So what’s the deal?  Is it important to minimise yardage required?  Absolutely!  Especially if it enables you to buy more expensive fabric- you see I bought some Liberty lawn from Sewbox with boxer shorts in mind.   Just a metre as it had been a while since I’d last made them (last Christmas perhaps) & I erroneously thought a metre would be adequate.   I use Simplicity 9958 here.

simplicity 9958

and let me show you the Liberty Lawn I bought

Liberty lawn boxers

I bought these beautiful lawns ….really enjoying choosing designs for the individuals.  from the left is Susanna and to be honest i want it for myself!  Amy Hurrell in the middle and then Lagos Laurel.

And you need to know this about me (if you don’t already) – my motivation for sewing has always been to make clothes for less than they would cost if I bought them from a shop- allowing me to have lots more clothes!  So buying a metre of Liberty Lawn was completely opposite to this stance – boxer shorts can easily be bought for under a tenner – but not Liberty Lawn boxers.  My men deserved the best.

So the fabric arrived, I swooned & whooped for joy.  But before cutting into the mega posh cloth thought it best to work up to it using some posh & fun fabric to make the first pairs (and cool enough to be destined as gifts as well)  – Marvel fabric from Plush Addict – cool or what?!  You’ll see more varieties of this through some of these pictures!

marvel boxers

So it was when I came to make the first pair of boxer shorts of the season that I realised my mistake.  Let me describe the issue.  Boxer shorts are made from a single pattern piece – cut twice.  This pattern piece has a curved edge so that it forms the shape in 3D it needs to become in order to fit around half a body & upper thigh (don’t imagine too hard, I am not branching into chick lit!)  The pattern piece is also cut with enough allowance on the upper edge to become folded over to form the tunnel for the elastic.

When I came to cut out my first pair of boxers I cut the fabric in half along its length & placed the two pieces right sides together with the directional print the same way up.  And when putting the pattern on top my heart sank – NOT ENOUGH!  I could not believe it.  I almost cried & my smug organised early buying evaporated into despair (maybe I was going to have to make myself three one metre tops with that Liberty Lawn ! horrors!)  With this metre of fabric cut in half  I could see that the & the total vertical length of the pattern required more than half a metre…

But necessity is the mother of invention, right?  I conspired to find some shop bought boxers to compare final leg length so that I could see how much I could get away with at the hem edge.

boxers

I then also worked up a different way to attach the elastic so that I could also reduce the depth at the top edge previously ear marked to make an elastic channel.

See the pattern shows where the foldline is – all i needed to allow was 1/4″ seam allowance at this foldline.  I then cut out pairs in size small, medium and large.

Boxers 1

It fits in a metre!

Here’s a larger pair I cut – a large out of one metre.  I folded over the pattern where I saved fabric – you can see there isn’t much- but enough to take into the next metre …

boxers

So far I have made one pair in a medium (the finished pair at the beginning of this post).  I’ll show you the outcome & how I handled the elastic.

So instead of making a channel for the elastic, I minimised the depth of fabric needed to attach the elastic more like you would for leggings:

  • Cut the elastic to the length needed & sew into a circle.  Mark half & quarter points.
Elastic sewn in a loop

Elastic sewn in a loop, upper edge pressed over to the inside

  • fold the top edge over to the wrong side by about 1/4″ & mark the quarter points using the back seam & centre front.
Matching the quarter points

Matching the quarter points

  • Pin the elastic at the quarter points & sew with a straight stitch to the upper edge- stretching the elastic in between the pins to fit the fabric underneath.  (It’s a good idea to keep the machine needle down each time you stop.  My machine has a setting that always puts the needle down when you stop).
Sewing the upper edge

Sewing the upper edge

  • Once you have sewn the top line of stitching, make sure the fabric is straight behind the elastic so that you can sew the second row at the lower edge of the elastic.

boxers

Now isn’t that more simple than sewing a channel & threading the elastic through?

So are you going to make posh boxers for gifts?  It really doesn’t take long.  I think I have quite a few in my gift-sewing pipeline….

My Liberty Betsy Ann needlecord skirt

Hello everyone! Back on the ball again, here I must tell you about more divine fabric. Meet Betsy Ann – She’s a Liberty *needlecord* or actually a Rossmore cord. I write it in stars because there is something hushed about the beauty of this fabric- not only its vibrant hues & sweetest of florals but the feel of it is exquisite: I would not know better if someone told me there was silk in this. I mean this is needlecord, but so unlike any normal furry piley needlecord I have come across. This is fine, with a definite nap, yes, but lighter than your usual cord. If I could rename it, I would call it “angel’s hair” cord, only that’s a bit overly romantic for me. Sorry! Maybe that’s what Rossmore means in Liberty language.

Liberty cord

The story of how this came into my possession, well it was a gift from my friend Jane, a voucher for using at Sewbox. I took such a long time to choose, Susan’s array of Liberty and John Kaldor in particular and then all the patterns ….(Hot Patterns included!) Susan was so patient with me! And she always turns orders around so quickly (she also sometimes adds a little surprise into your parcel) Anyway, as part of my pledge to buy quality, buy less, it felt totally right to invest in some Liberty. And I when it arrived I swooned, but I already hinted at that above. But just to say the photos (which do allow you to check it out up close) do not do it justice – you need to see it with your own eyes & handle it….

Simplicity 2451

OK, so with a metre of this amazing Liberty what was it going to be transformed into? A skirt of course. Simplicity 2451 (in between view B & C for length) – I always think of this as Zoe’s skirt. I made it before but even then it was a bit big & low slung, & then I lost a couple of inches. However, it’s a great skirt for a cord, it has shape & structure, a slightly pleated skirt – tulip-like. Ideal for the Liberty cord. The time had come around again to bring the pattern into use. All the while I could envisage wearing it with chunky boots and my red cardi…. (& look, I made it a reality in my pics!  It looks even better with an ivory top)

Oh but the temptation was to whip it up in a flash, it hurt that bad! I wanted to make it so desperately! But I forced myself to slow down. And I cut a lining for it out of some polka dot peachskin/satin.

Simplicity 2451

It is such a cute skirt. I tried fitting the waistband (or yoke as it is called in the pattern) better this time. I think I am an odd shape in comparison to the fit of the skirt around the waist, as I needed to take a chunk out. But when I compare myself generally to standard sizing for patterns my waist does seem to be thicker (It makes me think I am not a fruit shape but a sausage that has been overly squeezed up top)

Simplicity 2451

So the lining. I have written about adding a lining to this skirt before. This time though when I sewed the zip, I sewed through both layers- Liberty outer & lining- as if they were one. I am trying to remember why I took this course of action, but am at a loss, & therefore assume it was laziness – but it looks good I think.

Simplicity 2451

When I came to try it on though, & as shown in these photos, despite the waist appearing to fit well, & sit in the right place on my sausage body, I was not happy with the back. Does it show in the photos? Luckily I was down with my Mum & asked her opinion. She advised letting out the zip a bit, which I did. (But have not photographed the end result!

However I am still not 100%. Maybe this pattern needs some kind of sway back for me? I don’t always have to do a sway back adjustment, so it’s not something I click into everytime. What do you think dear readers?

Liberty shirt: Built by Wendy

Fancy seeing a recent make that I teased you with a while ago?

Liberty fabric given to me by my fab sons for my birthday has been realised & is now a wondrous button down shirt in glorious pinkness & with a dusting of rick rack. Oh, people, it’s a resounding success.

Liberty shirtSo originally I had thought this fabric could have been an Elisalex dress & it waited & waited for me to make my first. The very making of the Elisalex took such a long time that in that prolonged spell of stash inhabitation, this fabric decided to become a button down shirt. Perfect, I thought, I’ll get lots more wear out of a shirt plus, since I am planning to make a few shirts as gifts, I can stretch my shirt making muscles & practice on myself. (Always a good excuse for selfish sewing, people, if you need an excuse!).

Liberty shirtThis shirt is all about the fabric, being Liberty & from Sewbox (A great service, helping my sons to arrange the best present for me). The pattern I therefore chose was a simple classic style from the Built by Wendy Sew U book. (This book has such great basics – I’ve made the skirt, trousers and now the shirt). Each basic comes with design suggestions for customising. The shirt, for instance comes with different pocket shapes with the potential for a yoked yee ha western style shirt (one day, I promise!).

Liberty shirtI always love a yoked shirt, but decided this was to be an ultra plain style with a slightly rounded collar.

Liberty shirt

Playing with ideas in my head & checking the BBW inspiration, I saw the opportunity to add rick rack to the button band, which I thought was still in keeping with a plain styled shirt, but allowed just a teensy bit of scruffybadgerism in the way of those zigga zig aaahs.

BBW shirtThe pattern was interesting in that it didn’t have a separate piece for a buttonband, but the front facing which I just attached to the front of the shirt instead of the inside – it gives the effect of a button band but somehow is simpler.

BBW shirt facingIt’s got front & back darts for a nice bit of shaping.

Liberty shirt backContinuous laps at the sleeves.

Continuous lapsAll nice satisfying details that shirt making entails.

BBW Liberty shirtOne thing I remember about making this up – the fit of the collar stand to the neckline was a real instance of having to accommodate massive amounts of easing to fit, but it’s worked out OK. It took a few attempts as I wasn’t going to allow the slightest of puckering on this gifted shirt.

Liberty BBW shirt

I french seamed everywhere, including the sleeve seams. The sleeves incidentally went in a treat flat, & then I sewed the sleeves & side seam in one.

Liberty shirtThis pic shows the shirt being worn with my baggy trousers. To be honest, ever since I’d made these trousers I’d a yearning to make a shirt and this shows me realising my dream. First time I’d worn them to work and they were soooo cosy. I think it helped me get over the the whole self conscious thing for them being so wide as I had a few complements on them! I think they will be a feature of my work wardrobe now. Does that mean more shirts?! Pass. But back to this particular star.

I’ve worn it couple of times now & you forget how lovely it is to feel crisp ironed cotton against the skin. Such a lovely shirt, I feel so glad to have made it into something classic that will get loved everytime I wear it. Thank you my boys xx