Tag Archives: sewbox

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….

Bellatrix blazer

Well hello ! At last I have something to show you which means a winning formula of having completed my sewing plus engineered the opportunity to to take my snaps.  So you saw I have been making the Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut patterns, supplied  very kindly by Susan of Sewbox.   I have been coveting a blazer for some time & when I settled on the Bellatrix I did not appreciate what a lovely design it was until I started sewing, and in my recent post about welt pockets I think I waxed lyrical about how it has been designed brilliantly with a lovely cut that also makes it a great first taste of welt pocket sewing – the shaping is created by princess seams & upper bodice and lower bodice piecing so that the welt pockets are inserted at this waist seam.   Sewing adventures!

Bellatrix blazer

It has a long collar with a curved edge – so special.  To achieve the contrast collar you need to plan your front facing to be cut out of your collar fabric- it is all one piece.

Bellatrix blazer

I was using some reversible fabric which is great because I knew the contrast would work & be the right weight & colour tone.  It meant that I used the reverse side of the fabric for all of the facing pieces so my jacket has a pinkish lining (with polka dot satin) and the grey outer,

Bellatrix blazer

See the princess seams and welt pockets

I am in love with the style – it’s almost got a peplum, but barely.

Bellatrix blazer

Bellatrix blazer

It is a snug fit, mind you.  And I haven’t quite got around to sort the buttons out.  So I am holding the edges together in the first pic with good reason.  I had a slight problem.  The instructions are printed on the paper pattern and you cut them out to make a book –  it comes in a few fold-constructed pieces that should be glued together (but of course I didn’t get around to that).   Because I am camping sewing & have a few bags that I am using to pack away my sewing after each sitting, I seemed to have misplaced the last part of the instructions ….& so felt my way through the last part of making up my jacket (attaching the lining & adding buttonholes).  And when I came to try on, the waist is very small on me- probably quite rightly, but there is no room for your usual overlap that one button and one buttonhole needs.  But I wasnt able to reference the instructions to see if my approach is the right one – I think this needs a double buttonhole approach-barely  joined together so that the fronts meet at the centre- by a pair of buttons attached to each other with some ribbon or some elastic.  I havent bought a pair of buttons to tell you how it works, as I wouldn’t wear it like that.  I wear this unbuttoned.  But do you understand what I mean?

bellatrix blazer

And the welt pockets are a decent size….not purely decorative.

bellatrix blazer

I did make my interior welt pocket and might explain my understanding of welt pockets at some point.  maybe.  It meant that I was able to design & sew my own with a satisfying degree of accuracy.

Bellatrix blazer

That pocket has not been road tested however and I placed it at the widest part of the front facing, however it is just a weeny bit high up the body, but apart from that I’m very pleased.

 

Inside welt pocket

Inside welt pocket

In the end I used Lladybird’s classic welt pocket tutorial to steer my sewing of this welt pocket- it really is so simple, & despite trying to follow the David Coffin article in this month’s Seamwork it acted as inspiration as I work better with step by step photos.  Hurrah!  Let’s see how they perform in the wild as there were so many comments in my last post about why women’s jackets do not always have inside pockets …

Fit?  As already mentioned it is a snug fit- I made the lining up as a toile to gauge what adjustments I needed (decided upon shoulder pads- an optional ).  Considering I have less access to mirrors at the moment, it’s not too bad at the back is it?  OK, not perfect but I am not sure how much I would have detected & been able to change – I find the back such a tricky body part!!  I think if anything I could have taken out a little as a sway back looking at these pics carefully. But when I’m wearing it I can live with it. Incidentally I did lengthen the sleeves as there is nothing I hate more than cold wrists …

bellatrix blazer

I found the instructions I used very easy to follow & the construction went well, with easy to  match princess seams, markings in the right place for sewing the collar/ shoulder. As I couldn’t find the last part of the instructions I remembered that the Spearmint coat sewalong has a great method for bagging the lining and sewing by machine, but the Bellatrix blazer is simpler to line than the Spearmint coat, & didn’t need all the steps, however it was the video on three dresses blog explaining the steps for sewing the sleeve linings by machine that was invaluable, avoiding Gordian knots of sleeves & linings…

Bellatrix blazer

The worst thing is that I have hardly anything with me at the moment to wear this jacket with –  the few skirts & trousers I have with me  just don’t work with it so it is currently awaiting a jeans-out night.  That I think is all that I have –  I can’t wait to see what it’ll look good with from my wider winter wardrobe when it comes out of storage.

Bellatrix blazer

You see this is a warmish jacket – the fabric has some wool/ acrylic content & with all pieces (except the satin lining) being interfaced, it has some weight to it.   It has potential to be worn a lot this time of the year …..

Thank you for reading x

Derby dress by Christine Haynes

feature

My seaweed told me there might be some sunshine heading our way, all the motivation I needed to make up the Derby sundress by Christine Haynes, bought recently from SewBox.

 

derby dress

 

And what’s more it ties in rather nicely with the Sundress Sew-a-long hosted by the effervescent Heather B for the months of July to August.  Now there’s a Flickr group to celebrate our makes, but since Flickr joined forces with Yahoo, it’s become one extra login too far & I never ever remember my Yahoo details, and have given up on Flickr.  So I shall be hashtagging a teeny bit in Twitter and Instagram instead.  (#sundresssew15 )
Handmade By Heather B

So back to the story of THIS sundress…..I had earmarked some fabric, an end of roll that I bought from the Fabric Godmother, during one of her big sales-( there is a sale going on at the moment – remnants ripe for the picking– as long as they haven’t sold out, the reductions are pretty impressive. )  Back to the Derby though.

Remember I was inspired by Florence’s so much so that I kept the memory alive using my less than perfect hippocampus, which shows the impression it must have made on me.    It is an a-line shift, quite baggy really, made out of six panels providing princess seams.  The spaghetti straps are part of a neat neckline finish, that also incorporates a facing.  I think it works well.  There are different embellishments available- a peter pan collar, a deep hem ruffle- but I liked the idea of the upper ruffle & the fact that it would be made out of a busy print suggested that it would not be too frou frou for me.  (Much like Flossie’s)

Despite this being a relatively easy make, I made a few basic errors.  The notches are less identifiable than I am used to – they are a bit smaller & stick out, not in from the pattern edges- you need to look out for them & you’ll be OK.  I was a little less vigilant & ended up sewing the wrong seams of panels together more than once!  Tssk!

derby

But saying that, it still came together nice & quickly, a lovely weekend project, dreaming of being able to wear it in *summer weather* was making me feel all excited, although nothing is predictable when it comes to the weather….

derby (3)

I made the effort to remove one of the needles on my overlocker to do a lovely rolled hem on the edge of the frill, rather than turn a narrow hem.  Oh I know, it is not a lot of effort, taking one of the needles out, it’s all in the head sometimes.  And so worth it – what a lovely frilled edge.

Looking at the pattern’s image I am not sure I got the belt I was expecting- mine is narrow, perhaps half the width it should be!  Not sure what happened there!

derby (6)

The only other adjustment I made was to the upper side seams – the armhole at the front gaped a little, so I took a small triangle adjustment out of the front only, keeping the back seam the same.  It’s taken away the little gape.

Hmm, not so sure the strap placement is right?!!

Hmm, not so sure the strap placement is right?!!

If you come to make this yourself I would be aware of the length.  I used the hem allowance given – 2cm perhaps? and it is just a tad shorter than I was expecting.  Not really a problem for me as it is all about the sundress- but I am 5’3″ so it could come up quite a bit shorter if you are taller than me.

I have been able to wear it twice already since I made it (hurrah!!!!! for sunny weather) & it really does fulfill my requirements of a sundress: cool (mustn’t be too close fitting- plenty of air circulation), strappy & pretty with a tan 😉  But you will not catch me ever wearing it a la tent….the belt stays!

Frogess

And meet Froggess- virtual sister of Heather’s constant companion, Froggie.  She is super cute & has some amazing expressions & abilities.  My neighbours have  made over 100 so far to raise money for charity.  Last weekend I gave them a couple of bags of scraps large enough for them to make another thousand (hahahha, maybe not that many, but they will be busy & it certainly gave me a good reason to get rid of some favorite remnants).

Now it’s Friday, & I took a day off work for sun!  The weather report was just too good to pass by an opportunity for some sunbathing- in my retro lime green bikini.  And until I hit the lawn, whilst I could be wearing the Derby sundress, the tomato shorts are on!  (In fact, I’m wearing the same outfit, Signe halter top as well.  )

Sewing spending spree no.1

I have had a bit of a splurge at the end of last month.  I can’t seem to keep the pennies in my purse, or the extroversion of my credit card & (paypal) in check.  So let’s assuage the guilt with delight in what I’ve gathered & the plans I have for transforming them.  You up for being my confessor?

It started with some new patterns, around payday….  New to me anyway.  I stopped by Sewbox as I really want to make a summer dressing gown (inspired by Amy’s of Sylko Twist) – mine is too short for anything but a heatwave. So I bought the Buchanon by Gather.

And then, because I was there, I added in the Derby dress by Christine Haynes.

Derby Dress

These purchases were made on one of the sunnier days & I was thinking that the Derby dress (belted ruffled neckline version) would be the perfect summer sundress.  And remembering from a couple of summers back, Flossie Teacakes’ gorgeous rendition that totally changed my mind about how I saw its possibilities.  Whilst the Buchanon was a spontaneous purchase, the Derby was completely justified because I really do not have any sundress patterns that are like this – strappy with a flounce, a tie belt with enough flow of fabric around one’s bod in the heat.  And although I bought other fabric to make it with, this daisy viscose from Croftmill, I have actually cut out the fabric above that I bought at the end of last year from the Fabric Godmother – it was a roll end in the sale, but is gorgeous & will make a wonderful sundress.

I also bought some fabric (yay for fabric, we love fabric!) in a real shop. I went to Truro when I was staying in Cornwall in May, a few days after my Sewbox purchases.  We visited the relocated Truro Fabrics. Truro Fabrics is not somewhere to go for a bargain, but it has a lovely range of quality fabrics, haberdashery & also a furnishing fabric department (& craft cottons, wool too).  There were some lovely Joel Dewsbury viscoses which I was drawn to, but at £14.99 per metre, too expensive for the lengths I had in mind to make either of the patterns I had just clicked to buy. So I let my heart lead me, searching out fabric that was new to me & gave me a fuzzy buzz.

I always look at the knits, especially sweater knits & found some purple sweater knit at £9/m (good value I thought) & my Mum was so interested in it that I snapped up two cardigans’ worth – one to be a pressie for my Mum & the other for me.  I can’t find it on the website- sorry!  But it’s yummy.

Purple sweater knit

Then there was this lawn with garden birds on it – this was maybe £12.50 per metre & I got enough to make a summer top.  And I might copy Florence again (if I have bought enough) & either make the Hey June Biscayne blouse or some simple version of the Deer & Doe Datura.  Or a camisole.

Finally I love this Makower print (£12.50 also I think) – with its river scene in horizontal stripes. This will be a full summer skirt.  But I cannot find it on the website either.

Summer scene

There. Since then, I have located some fabric for my Buchanon dressing gown.  I might use the  daisy viscose from Croftmill.  Or I also ordered some of this too, it’s a beautiful grey vintage floral, very much a chiffon & would make a special floaty kind of gown.  Maybe.   But it’s more sheer than I really wanted for a mid length gown over summer PJs.   I am still deciding.  I will of course, report back. I think that the Gather kits looks pretty good value, if you haven’t already bought the pattern. I liked the grey …..but had already bought the pattern….

But then I also (intake of big breath) see I told you I’ve been on a roll…bought another piece of fabric.  I think it was also because I got paid for some casual work I did…..(spot the guilt!)  I could not resist 20% off Liberty at Whitetree Fabrics  using the Vintage Pattern Pledge discount that runs this month.    See sidebar in Kestrel makes.  Only for June though.  If you read this later, sorry!  So I bought some beautiful Tana lawn – Lodden.

Lodden

This is  the perfect fabric for a dress I ripped out of a magazine at the beginning of the year & will become one of my “high hitters”.  A shirt dress of some description.

Speaking of which.  Yes, you’ve guessed it.  “I just couldn’t help it”  I took advantage of the introductory discount & bought the new Sew Over It pattern – the Vintage Shirt Dress.

And shhh.  I have nearly finished my first one.  Just the buttons to buy….And exactly what i made it out of will remain a bit of a surprise for now.  I have maybe incited enough excitement for one day.

And the detectives amongst you will also realise there is another confession to come.  This time with some interesting tools, gadgets & haberdashery I have also recently bought.

So, have you enjoyed any recent sewing shopping sprees? Is it a symptom of the slow start to the summer?  Help.  How do I stop!??   (No it’s OK, don’t worry about me.  July will be enforced cold turkey as far as purchasing goes.  & Lots of sewing :-)).

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?

A new direction

Some exciting news for this blog –have you noticed my new header & slightly more badgeresque blog style? I’ve been settling into it for a while now, having been helped by Katie at KRCreative Designs (via Etsy).

It’s an interesting exercise, thinking about how you want your blog to look – what personality you want to shine through & for me it is all about colour – epitomised by the simple rainbow.   (aaah! everyone loves a rainbow don’t they?!) And of course, it goes without saying that the Badger stays.  So having sharpened up my look, I’m extremely happy to offer affordable sponsorship & I have some lovely sponsors already!

I am thrilled to be working with

  • Ukfabricsonline, (my goto place for technical fabrics for sportswear & outer wear- very good for fleece & gingham too, just saying.)  I’ve just ordered some of the new wicking lycra & it’s gorgeous – you will be seeing what I make with it soon – in time with Karen’s summer sportalong.
  • Sewbox (known for an array of Liberty fabrics, amongst plenty more, but also such a wide purveyor of different patterns – the indie & less known companies as well- you can guarantee a quick turn around when you order) And the new Papercut patterns are available here. I am desperately tempted by the Soma swimsuit & the Pneuma Tank
  • Sew Over It, (whilst offering sewing heaven in the shape of a sewing cafe with tea, cake & classes, if I lived in London dare say I would be a resident! I’m a huge fan of the gorgeous Sew Over It patterns & the array of stylish fabrics available online to make them up out of- the online shop is genius – offering you a choice by garment no less, & I am dying to make the Ultimate Trousers …next month)
  • The Village Haberdashery (delicious & inspirational fabrics, quilting & embroidery ideas as well as gorgeous knitting/ crochet supplies. Just visiting makes me inspired to make! ) I’ve been tempted by these coasters.
  • Plush Addict – any business that gives you a #fabricgasm catches my eye for sure! And I can confirm that on this they deliver! I’ve got my eye on the chambrays …. & their rainbow collection. OMG. A definite for sure!!

I’m choosy about my sponsors – they need to be a good match for my blog and of interest to my readers. I like to have a nice friendly relationship with sponsors- get a feeling for the people behind the business- & also like to have had experience of being a customer. So if you have a sewing, fabric, pattern or crafty business, I’d love to work with you! Please contact me using this contact form if you are interested in finding out more.

Now I don’t want anyone to think I’ve gone all commercial, or am selling out!! You see I have this sketchy plan but huge intention to change my career path next year which is scary when I think about the implications – and therefore need to diversify. Blogging, if anything, will become even more interesting (if you can believe that’s possible!) & hopefully inspiring, comical & any the other adjectives that are synonymous with being Scruffy Badger.