Saturday, 1 July 2017

Summer Doll Outfit


A very simple circle skirt, pieced from scraps from the children's skirts. Paired with my go-to top for dolls, a crochet cardigan. I added a covered button, mainly to hide all the mistakes on the neckline of the cardigan.

Ravelry pattern linked from my notes here. I don't know why I made so many mistakes. I have made this pattern twice before. I mis-counted the v-stitches and it ended up too small too. I added a row of spaced double crochet as button bands.

I am going to try to lengthen this into a dress one day.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

SOI Alex Shirt, White


Another make from Sew Over It's ebook, My Capsule Wardrobe, City Break. I was actually planning to make the Erin Skirt first, but instead have made the Molly Top and now the Alex Shirt, and Erin is still languishing in my queue.

Please excuse the weird picture angle. I struggled to find a location with enough light for the shirt to show up and no nasty background mess. In the end, these shots looking downward with the lawn as the background were the only thing that worked. I hope it is obvious that these are looking down, and not that my legs are half the length they should be!

This shirt jumped up the sewing queue because the weather got nice, prompting me to think about some Liberty Poplin that I have stashed, intending to make this pattern. I decided to make a wearable toile of this first, using an old white sheet, and this is the result.

I cut out size 10 with no changes to the paper pattern. The style has a lot of ease, so I didn't bother with my usual short waist adjustment. I did cut a 1/2 inch sway back adjustment out of the fabric piece, at the centre of the back pattern piece (below the yoke).

This is a great shirt pattern if you want to make a shirt, but skip a lot of the complicated steps. Of course, some people love tailoring and shirtmaking, but if you're like me and want shortcuts, this one has them in spades: one piece collar, one piece sleeves, no sleeve cuffs, no button bands, no lapel points. But it still has a nice yoke, good looking collar, pleat in the back and a shaped hem.

I really like the way the yoke comes together to enclose the seams, but it took me a bit of figuring out to get the twist right. And a bit of unpicking. The photos in the instructions are not that clear. Stay stiching is not mentioned, but would probably be a good idea. Of course, I didn't.
I didn't particularly like the finish for the top of the pocket. Folding over the top edge twice leaves a raw edge at the top, once the sides are folded in. I folded that inside, but the notches created another raw edge. For future, mark the notches with chalk, or an outside notch. In future, I would make the top of the pocket completely differently by sewing right sides together and turning to outside, with a point at the top. I would also remove 1cm from the bottom pocket edge. I think they are a bit too long for me and are giving me a saggy boob effect. It's amazing how much pocket size and placement can change the appearance of your body. (Learned that from jeans pocket discussion on Closet Case.) I also didn't manage to effect the rounded corners on the bottom pocket. Mine are straight sided slants, which is fine.
I put the collar on upside down. But only realised this after I had topstitched it closed. It would look worse to unpick and re-do, so I have left it as is. I attached right sides together, it actually goes on to the wrong side of the shirt to top collar piece. Instead of slip stitching down by hand, I topstitched it down. It fitted well - hooray! The collar pieces come right to the edge of the lapel, so not matching up would be very obvious. So much so, that it would be wise to stitch each side separately, working from the outside to meet in the centre. My fabric stretched out slightly on sewing, so I have a tiny pleat on the inside collar seam at the back.
It is also worth remembering to make the fold over button bands as neat as possible. I love the simplicity of the pattern in that the button bands are not separate pieces and not interfaced. Just hem the front pieces and you're done. But they are visible on the outside as they form the top lapels. Mine are neat, but not symmetrical. One has a deeper hem than the other. If I'd thought it through properly, I would have stitched the hem side up and controlled better for the distance from the edge.
I tried flat felled seams for sewing up the side seams. Hilariously, I managed to do two different versions, one with the right sides together, the other correctly with the wrong sides together. I carried on and flat felled the right sides one, and what do you know? I like that finish better. The edge is on the inside and is a much neater finish.
This shirt pattern would not work for making a sleeveless version. I didn't realise earlier, but it has a dropped shoulder seam. It makes the shirt more casual and it is quite cute, but definitely not suitable for hacking off the sleeves. I was glad I did French seams for the sleeves as they are visible when they are rolled up. Which they always are. I really like the sleeve tabs, but the lack of any kind of finishing at the cuff, means that it looks like a lab coat with the sleeves unrolled. The line drawing is a bit misleading, it looks like the sleeves gather into a cuff band. They don't, just hemmed. A gathered cuff band would need a button closure to enable them to roll up. Cute, but not suitable for the simplicity of this shirt pattern. I'm thinking about putting an extra button higher up the sleeve, so that I can roll the sleeves to above the elbow, as well as below. I placed my existing button much higher than the pattern calls for, and it is not re-inforced. I hope it holds without anything to anchor it on. In a future make, I might put a little square piece with a cross, same as the sleeve tab, but higher up, for a second button. Or just attach the tab higher.
The hem instructions should be a little better. The pattern says overlock, then turn up once and sew. I wanted a better finish than that, so I turned up twice, without overlocking. I kept it as narrow as possible, and it has come out perfectly. Probably better than I could manage with a bias facing. If someone sews enough to have invested in an overlocker, they can probably manage a tiny twin, or rolled hem.

The buttons are my favourite feature and actually saved the shirt for me in the end. The shirt is so large and shapeless, that it was looking extremely like a lab coat. I have a large supply of mens shirt buttons, but they looked way to shirt-like on this. I wanted a casual, summer shirt, not a quasi-business shirt. So I decided to do completely the opposite of corporate, and use non-matching blue/turquoise buttons. This part was actually pretty fun, choosing all the little blue orphan buttons from my button jar. They are different sizes and shapes too. I have absolutely no idea where any of them came from. I love how they instantly make the shirt look super-casual, and more nautical. I had two the same so these went on the pockets and sleeve tabs. But mixed up, of course! If I couldn't have anchor print fabric, I have blue buttons.
I used Lisa's trick and didn't sew buttonholes for the buttons, I sewed them through the two layers of lapel and fastened the shirt shut. It is so large that it easily pulls over my head.  But... I might go back and change them to buttonholes. A white summer shirt is a great layering piece, and no buttonholes means I can't wear it open as a beach cover up, or half open over a vest or t-shirt.
Finally, the fabric: it is an old sheet, a woven cotton sateen. It has a lovely checked waffle weave, and after the centre of the sheet wore out, there was still lots of usable fabric around the edges. So much for soft sheets, my crappy ones last over 10 years and the expensive high thread count ones wear out super fast.

I used this for a toile of the pattern, but it may be my only version of this. I'm definitely not using the Liberty for it. On the plus side, the lack of shaping means the fabric is not spoiled by seams or darts, but on the minus side, it is so large and billowy, that a busy print will be way too much of a good thing. Liberty is going to be a sleeveless shirt, or shirt dress. Got to have some skin to break up all that ditsy floral.


The final verdict is mixed. With no shaping at all, this has come up very big. I've drawn in some shaping through the side seams for next time. It takes in some of the blousiness of the shirt. But I do like the shirt and I am glad it is in my wardrobe. It has some lovely design details, and it looks a lot more tailored than it is. It might even become a summer staple for me.

Costs:
 Fabric: upcycled sheet, £0
 Pattern: £4.67 (1 of 3 in book)
 Thread: stash, £0
 Buttons: stash, £0
Total: £4.67






Saturday, 10 June 2017

Floral Circle Skirts


I bought this fabric in the Isle of Wight 3 years ago. Finally, it has become the two circle skirts that I was always planning. I love the bright flowers on the navy background.
I squeezed out two circle skirts from 2.5m of fabric. I had to cut the larger one as one half plus two quarters to make it fit. The smaller one, I managed to make from a full circle. The fabric was in a terrible state though, full of pulls and flaws. Serves me right for buying polycotton. Something I am determined to never do again. It is neither drapey nor thick, just kind of thin and stiff, not nice to sew or wear, plus it fades fast in the wash. So why did I bother to sew with it at all? Well, as I said, I love the colours and patterns on this print. And, I have really enjoyed getting back to sewing with woven cottons. Simple projects that I can knock out quickly.
I was on a roll that week, making 6 garments in 8 days. Powering through my queue so fast that I'm worried about what I might do if I get to the end of it! Buy some more fabric? Maybe I'll finally buy that Vogue skirt pattern and make myself that navy skirt. Of course, my queue is never going to run out.
These are my third circle skirts for the girls. My best ones are still the turquoise ones. 
Using the same tutorial as my yellow Eurovision skirt, the measurements are:
Large: A: 64cm, B: 10.19cm, C: 54cm, D: 64cm
Small: A: 58cm, B: 9.25cm, C: 48cm, D: 57.25
The larger one came out too small in the waistband. I lowered it, but I have made the elastic too loose, so I'll have to pull it in and tighten it. 
The skirts each have different bindings on the hem, which I think is a cute touch. Light pink for the little one (1 inch folded bias binding), bright pink for the big one (1/2 inch bias facing, made by me). The colour on the big one is a little too red. Schiaparelli pink, rather than bright, light pink of the flowers. But I let them each choose, and I like that they chose different versions. 

Supplies: 
 Fabric: 2.5m @ £2.55/m = £6.38
 Elastic: salvaged from fitted sheets, £0
 Binding:
   light (stash) £0
   dark, 75cm £3.40
Total: £9.78 for two


Sunday, 4 June 2017

Daydream PJ Shorts


I am lucky enough to know Suzy Taylor in real life, and she does folk art beautifully. Cute but not cutesy, her work looks very contemporary. She is known for her papercuts, and also work in ink and clay, and now fabric! This fabric is from Suzy's first collection, called Daydream, and as soon as I saw it, I had to get some.
Stocked in the UK by Cotton Patch, I was really drawn to this print. I love these soft greens, in three different shades, with pops of pink, magenta and yellow. It makes me happy every time I look at it. Plus, I love the cute touch of putting dragonflies, instead of circles, in the selvedge where they match up the colours for printing. So adorable!
Now, let's think for a moment. I bought a metre of quilting cotton, in a cute print, I have children. What should I make? Something for me to wear, of course!
With only one metre, I set out to make some pyjama shorts. I went back to the Poppy Playsuit pattern, for the second time in two months, and decided to adapt that to shorts. I knew the top was really roomy, so I was counting on the shorts to be the same, and the elastic waist is the right style for PJs.
Because of the directional nature of the print, in order to fit the pieces in, I had to shorten the shorts to remove all the cuff allowance, and the elastic casing allowance at the waist. It turns out to be fine. The Poppy shorts come up very high on the waist, and the cuffs are very low on the leg. (I like my pyjama shorts to be quite skimpy!) 
I wanted to do light green piping, but I had this pink to hand, and it was a perfect match. So, in the spirit of "use what you have, and stop buying new", I used it. I did buy webbing for the waist tie though. It turned out to be too bright of a green (pistachio, not sage), so I didn't use it in the end.

I could have pieced cuffs or a waistband from the offcuts, but in the end, I did neither. The total length was much longer than my other favourite PJ shorts, so I made cuffs and the elastic casing without attaching any more fabric. 

Here's what I did instead of cuffs: 
1. Finish raw edge of leg cuffs (by overlocking)
2. Attach piping, to right side, one inch above raw edge. Piped edge faces raw edge (down) and raw edge of piping faces up.
3. Fold overlocked edge down (wrong sides together), fold piping edge up (wrong sides together), the inch between the piping and the raw edge becomes the visible cuff. You now have three thicknesses of fabric, with the raw edge tucked away and the piping sticking up out of the top. Pin. 
4. Stitch two rows of topstitching, one at edge of cuff to secure the edges and the other underneath the piping to secure the piping and the top of the cuff in place.
The topstitching is a bit of a shame, but this fabric is not soft or drapey and the cuffs are not uncomfortable.
Did you notice my beautiful flat felled seams for the outside seams? I couldn't do the same for the rest, but I did manage to do French seams.
The elastic waist is overlocked, turned and topstitched down. 
I stitched the casing down, with the elastic and webbing inside. Not the easiest way to thread an elastic waist, but necessary if you want to use the cast off waistband from your husband's worn out underwear. Literally fished out of the bin. 
So now I have a complete pair of pyjamas, it's just that they comprise my thickest, warmest winter top and my summery-est summer bottoms!

Supplies: 
 Fabric: 1m + postage, £16.80
 Pattern: used previously, £0.00
 Thread: used previously, £0.00
 Notions:
  140cm bias binding, stash, £0.00
  2/3 x 70cm piping cord (thinned to 1mm), £0.44
  1m x 11mm cotton webbing tape, (not used) £1.87
Total: £19.11

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cabled Baby Jacket


From a high of 25 items knitted or crochet in 2015, my output has declined dramatically. At the end of May, I have completed two things, one of which took up most of 2016 being knitted. This cardigan/jacket is the only thing I have started and finished in 2017.


Baby gifts are a worthy knit though. This one took me two months, but they are relatively quick, very satisfying and often well received too.

I really like this Rowan Tweed, now discontinued, which I bought on sale in 2011, knowing it would be great for boy-baby gifts. This pattern took about 2.5 balls, and I still have 1.5 left.

The pattern is Trellis, linked on Ravelry here, and I got the bamboo buttons from The Button Lady in Hampstead Antiques Market.


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Me-Made-May '17: Week 5 - and finished!

"I, Cathy of Cathy Makes, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17. I endeavour to wear something me-made each day for the duration of May 2017"



Monday 29 May 2017
WearingMustard Grandpa Cardigan (2014)
Weather: not bad, followed by massive downpour
Activity: bank holiday Monday
Chances: 98%. Wearing more of what I want to this week. RTW with a MM cardigan.

Tuesday 30 May 2017
Wearing: Cowl Neck Top (2013), Bamboo Cardigan (2016)
Weather: chilly-ish
Activity: ferrying kids to activities
Chances: 50%. I would likely have worn the cardigan, but not the top. I don't like the top, but actually, in this photo, it works better than the cardigan. Which looks massive, much too much shawl collar, and that sleeve where I forgot the seam allowance really shows. These cardigans are all based on the same pattern, but the collar of the mustard one means that the style suits me so much better. Shame because the bamboo is a much nicer fabric.

Wednesday 31 May 2017
WearingMustard Grandpa Cardigan (2014)
Weather: humid and even a bit warm
Activity: kids activities, sewing, gardening
Chances: 100%. This is my favourite dress. When it goes, I am going to pull it apart and make a pattern from it. 

Thoughts
I'm kind of just glad it's over. That week of sunny weather really saved me from having lots of repeats.
I haven't worn my cotton skirts, but I'll make a promise to them that they will get worn out on the weekends in June and July.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

...and a hat for me

 

After making up the girls new sunhats, and before I put the pattern away, I thought I would quickly make up a hat for me. The upsized pattern fitted me too, and I had an old laundry bag hanging around in my stash, which I knew would work really well for a summer sunhat. Here it is:


Sunhat
Laundry Bag


The laundry bag was an off white cotton twill, but quite thin and floppy. After the frame broke, I kept it as a good neutral, because you never know. There was plenty of fabric to work with and I didn't mind it looking quite worn in before I started. 

I lined it with cream polycotton, previously used for the waistband of my Garden Skirt, and the under collar of my Yellow Spot Shirt. Another good basic that comes out when needed. 


I pinched out 5mm from the side seams at the point where the crown meets the brim. It made the edges a bit wonky but I smoothed them out in the joining.  My hat is smaller than the childrens' hats. I used taupe thread and did two rows of topstitching over the brim. The girls think it is a bit plain! But I know I am going to get plenty of wear out of this, keeping me from ageing too much faster.



Costs:
  Fabric: upcycled laundry bag, £0.00
  Lining: gift from Mum, £0.00
  Pattern: Oliver & S Bucket Hat, £0.00
  Interfacing: £0.10
  Thread: purchased for Vogue Coat, £0.00
Total: 10p

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