Tag Archives: plush addict

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….

I’m a walking technical diagram- Steeplechase Leggings!

Check out the new pattern from Fehr Trade – the Steeplechase leggings. I was thrilled to be a tester, so let me tell you about them. Designed cleverly (of course, it’s Melissa we are talking about here- she never designs something that anyone else has done) – yes, designed cleverly with no inseam, these are leggings that are super quick to make as well. Two pieces, that’s all you need – a yoke & a leg (times two of course). But the shape of the leg is weird, I warn you – it doesn’t look like any leg piece I’ve ever seen before. (Before I launch into more about the leggings, I need to say that since testing these, Melissa has made a few tweaks from tester feedback to get an *even better* fit around the back of the knee, & a bit more room at the ankle.  Just saying, because my photos are tester pics).

Steeplechase leggings

Paying attention to the notches is a must as these leggings have a curved seam that wraps its way around from your outer glute down the back of your leg. This avoids any chafing that you might experience from inner leg seams, and is apparently born from a suggestion by a horse rider. Smart!

Steepelchase leggings

So they come together really quickly – there is an option to add an inner pocket if you want, and of course options for different leg lengths. I have only made full length leggings as it is full length legging season for me. And I wanted to make sure I got the seams right – if they work all the way down my leg, then they will work as shorter versions was my thinking.

Steeplechase leggings

Want to hear a confession? Due to my laptop’s software, including operating system having to be reinstalled my Adobe settings had changed & I was a real idiot and didn’t measure the test square. Take it from me folks, always measure your test square! My first pair came out 25% bigger & did they cause Melissa & me headaches in trying to work out what went so desperately wrong with the sizing? But I managed to salvage a pair of usable leggings out of it, to be revealed in a later post of holographic awesomeness. I then roadtested the pattern at 100% in some expendable fabric (also to be revealed as part of a holographic treat later) which proved that all was well & the light was green for go to get making my besties.

Blue steel

My last pair for now are made out of this fabulous lycra from Plush Addict– In coral- given to me for me to review. Being a solid colour I took a chance & went crazy with my seams- on the outside! #shocker# I know how to live on the edge. Yes, I used my overlocker’s rolled hem seam, sewing these wrong sides together. I machine basted the seams with a long straight stitch at the seam allowance before letting loose with my rolled hem over the top of it. I used four cones of normal cotton thread, but it would have looked so much better if I had woolly nylon in the loopers. I just don’t have any at the moment, but that will be speedily rectified for the next pair….

Steeplechase leggings

I played around with the stitch settings first – I think the stitch length was as short as I could get it. But it’s OK, I think, isn’t it?! I only used this seam finish for the long leg seam & the yoke seam.  The crotch was sewn right sides together with a regular 4 thread overlock stitch.  Hems & elastic as per normal – twin needle or Coverstitch.

Steeplechase

I just had to include this – super dork face – someone who would print out at 125% !

And the leggings were a dream to wear – really special fabric next to the skin, silky, and extremely comfy to wear. The fab Plush Addicts can neither confirm nor deny at the moment whether this is a breathable or wicking fabric, and if they hear otherwise I will update this with deets. It is sold as swimwear fabric.  However, I cannot say enough just how luxe this fabric feels to wear – it plus the Steeplechase leggings pattern – are so comfy to run in at this time of year. I have so far ran a good 7 miles in them (a cool evening run half of which was uphill) & also a shorter 5 mile daytime run. I cannot provide any feedback on whether this fabric is suitable for warmer workouts, but by gum, it’s amazing for me at this time of the year. I have since ordered some more in blue! Wheeeee!! (It also comes in Hunter green and black…..)

My problem is that they are seriously competing with the Duathlons as my fave leggings to sew for running.  How can I decide?  Duathlons have more pieces – but super useful side seam pockets.  The Steeplechase leggings are amazingly quick to sew, extremely comfy & do have an optional back inner pocket.  I am unable to pick a winner.  See some examples of the Steeplechase leggings sewn up my Melissa.  If you want to buy some, then until March 25 there is a discount code – SADDLE10 – for 10% off – & if Paypal using, you are taken a way through the process until you can use it.

Surf to summit

But what about the top of awesome zebra confounding?  Why it’s another Surf to Summit top, using lycra from UKFabricsonline.  Those arms caused me so many giggles as I had them poking out under a regular t-shirt I was wearing to promote local fostering at the Bath Half Marathon.  I love the Surf to Summit for winter running, I love the neckline and the handmitts that make me feel as if I am wearing a morph suit (but provide good finger toasting, and no glove loss when you need to take them off – perfect especially in a race!)  It really is my ideal winter running top, especially in a lovely lycra.  Super comfy & very practical.

So for now, it’s over & out on the running togs.  But I promise you I will return with the craziest Steeplechase leggings you might ever see,  (Now that’s a challenge), modeled by someone other than me, a special guest. .  Just be prepared to grab your sunglasses!

Linden Sweatshirt – a well worn test

I have seen so many tempting versions of the Linden Sweatshirt, by Grainline, that in the end I weakened & coughed up for my own version. Eminently wearable loungewear was my thinking. All I needed was some sweatshirting.

Linden

I had my ribbing, this awesome turquoise knit ribbing from Plush Addict (remember a little goes a very long way – I bought a metre and anticipate a wardrobe of knits coordinated by their ribbing!)

Linden sweatshirt

Sweatshirting was on my shopping list when I went to Goldhawk road the last time & I found some that suited my needs – a funky enough colour, & with a fluffy reverse but with a not-too shiny right side- some sweatshirting looks to me to be too polyester-y – I want soft & matt please. But clearly in Goldhawk Road I was also looking for a bargain.

I found this, but please don’t ask me which shop. It was excellent value, and came as a tube. Unfortunately it wasn’t until I cut it out that I discovered fade lines which has therefore rendered this sweatshirt as definite domestic use only, as I could not cut around the fade marks.

Linden sweatshirt

See fade mark through the mid sleeve

Heyho. Never mind. I still wear it – a lot.  Beacause this is SOOOO cosy and warm.  It’s a winter domestic essential, seriously.

I enjoyed making my Linden, but think there is room for improvement. The neckline could be a little bit more uniform – even though I always tend to overlock neckbands with an eye on the finished band width rather than the seam allowance I am cutting off, there are a few places that are narrower than others, & with a contrast ribbing this shows more.

Linden

The Linden is very boxy, although the arms in this version at least are reasonably narrow fitting considering the amount of “box” in the body. I don’t mind this, but could think about fitting my next one just a smidgeon. I also think that it looks far better being worn with skinnies than it does being worn with my (coordinated ribbing) Hudsons. When worn together I look as if I am either about to enter a ballpool, playing with the other toddlers, or else am in custody.

Linden

Anway, I have more sweatshirting now,

Linden

it’s like, emerald green!  From Ebay.  Should I be tempted by other colours in the Plush Addict range or should I stick with turquoise?

Options could be emerald with …

Green

 

Yellow – too boy scouts?

Purple!

Grey??

Too much choice!  I also like the idea of making a baggy short sleeved t-shirt too sometime. Looks like Linden & I have a nice future ahead of us!

Arctic Hudson Pants

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

Hudson Pants

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

Hudson pants

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

Hudson pants

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

Hudson cuffs

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

Hudson Pants

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sewing your own vs throwaway fashion

Happy Monday everyone! Fancy something to think about and make you feel *even better* about sewing? I know we all sew for many different reasons, and that’s a completely personal choice, but sometimes I like to think about how I’m contributing, albeit in a very small way, to the bigger picture. I was asked if I would like to share this infographic in time for London Fashion week, if you haven’t already seen it, here it is. No I am not trying to convert the non-believers, if anything I think this just gives us another reason to enjoy making our own clothes, so at the beginning of the week, with a weekend of sewing behind us & five days before the next, keep that sewing high going strong ….

PA Infographic

So you’re probably familiar with this concept – it’s useful to see it in fact form & get the latest figures, isn’t it?  Now the guys who prepared it (Plush Addict, who coincidentally are current sponsors of mine) also provided some words in the form of an article– and it’s worth a read. Generally I do not accept content from other authors except guest bloggers, but in this case, I made an exception – I am not receiving anything for it – just sharing the information which I think is interesting & certainly something I support by sewing – I have not bought any shop bought RTW clothing except a cardigan (plus shoes/ underwear) for almost three years now. OK, I have bought stacks of fabric, & I could probably improve the provenance of that, but one step at a time, do what you can with the means you have available to you, I say. So if you are interested to read more about the infographic, read on & say “hurrah” for your passion for handmade fashion & sewing your own clothes!…

It is London Fashion Week, which will surely make for a hot topic of conversation among the fashion media spokespeople this autumn. As much as we love to celebrate new trends we also feel it necessary to address the broader issues in fashion that contribute to current global issues.

Throw away fashion is a huge contributor to landfill waste and pollution. The UK, China and Hong Kong as the main offenders. In the infographic we explore how the growing demand for fashion is spiralling out of control and why sewing and other forms of handcraft, in combination with clothing recycling, can offer a sustainable alternative in 2014.

As a nation with a high demand for new, cutting edge trends there is always temptation to buy into throw-away fashion to suit personal cravings at every corner. Such actions, albeit short term guilty pleasures, have their downsides that produce mass waste, of which the environment bears the brunt.

Did you know..?

  • In the UK, an estimated 0.8 to 1 million tonnes of all textiles are sent to landfill each year.
  • In the UK, used clothing accounts for approximately 350,000 tonnes of landfilled textiles, an estimated £140 million worth
  • In China, the total annual production of textile waste is estimated to be over 20 million tonnes.
  • In Hong Kong, approximately 79,205 tonnes of textiles were sent to landfills in 2011.

Moving onto recycling within the textile industry, you may be surprised to know that choosing to upcycle clothing and reuse material can go some way to helping reduce environmental waste. It is heavily documented that:

  • Almost 100% of textiles are recyclable.
  • 1kg of re-used second-hand clothing can reduce up to: 3.6kg of CO2 emissions… 6,000 litres of water… 0.3kg of fertilisers… 0.2kg of pesticides.

The data contained within the infographic is cited from non-profit fashion oranisations and annual reports, it has been curated by online fabric retailer Plush Addict.

Plush Addict is a family run business which was founded in 2012 and born out of a serious fabric addiction. They are passionate about providing excellent customer service, fast delivery at a reasonable price, and try to offer a comprehensive depth of range. You can also get expert industry insight on bespoke handmade clothing via the Plush Addict website.

I hope you also found this interesting & will feel even better about the time and effort you put into making yourself something to wear – which is likely to suit you and fit you much better than buying disposable fashion. And due to the choices you made when selecting fabric and pattern, it’s going to last longer than this season’s hot trend. Enjoy being creative ! 🙂