I actually knitted a jumper!

This is definitely by far the longest I’ve every worked on a garment – over 4 years!!!!!!

The pattern is the raglan jumper pattern from Learn to Knit Love to Knit and the yarn was from a charity shop where I used to live in London (which I moved away from 3 1/2 years ago!).

I made the smallest size and according to my best estimate, I started knitting this in January 2015! I don’t generally make that much time for knitting – and you can tell from how long this took me! I go up to Scotland every January/February to have a second Christmas with my friends and we usually sit around drinking tea, chatting and knitting so I think most of this was done in tiny chunks each year until this year when I decided I actually had to finish it!

The fit is fine – which is lucky because I have no idea how to alter knitting patterns to fit! It is a loose fit, but I’m fine with that. It’s also one of my warmest jumpers because the yarn is acrylic, which is not what I would choose now if I was buying yarn for a jumper.

I like that the yarn has sparkly gold bits running through it, making it a bit more interesting than a plain black jumper.

One of the sleeves is longer than the other, but I think that’s not a total shock since I’m sure my tension changed throughout the 4 years it took to knit this! I also have to roll up the cuffs as the sleeves are a tad long.

The front, back and sleeves are all knitted separately then sewn together, then you knit the neckband (I think).

I’m so pleased I forced myself to finish this jumper as the weather has definitely taken a turn for the autumnal!

My next knitting project is a jumper for my partner – anyone want to take any bets on how long it will take me to finish it!?
 

Roberts Dungarees of Dreams

After making my Roberts dungaree dress, I realised I wanted to make the dungaree version…….and it only took me 2 years to realise my dreams!

As with the dress I made the size 2 and the only alterations I made were to add a pocket on the bib, which I stole from the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern, and to make a turn up/cuff at the bottom. I used a tutorial from Amy Nicole Studio for how to do this – I think she’s a bit short like me, so it’s a useful tutorial if trouser legs end up a bit long! And luckily I love how they look!

If it looks like the side of the bib is sitting a bit funny under my left arm, it’s because that’s the side that has poppers on, to get in and out of the dungarees, and I was so desperate to wear these that I just safety pinned the side closed, so it’s looking a bit weird. And actually I can easily get these on and off without undoing the safety pin so I may just sew the opening closed, rather than wasting poppers I don’t really need to use.

I really love the shape of the back on this pattern (even with one of the straps twisted!).

And pockets! You can never have enough pockets in my opinion. And the pockets were particularly useful when I wore these to help my in-laws move house (what better outfit for moving things that dungarees!) so I could hold all the keys and my phone and my lip balm!

The fabric was the last of the leftovers from my suit which I made for the Sewcialite Soiree (which I’d already made a Cleo from!). I could really go over the top in wearing mustard corduroy now!

I used a couple of jeans buttons left over from my Morgan Jeans button kit for the buttons and they did keep popping off until I really, really hammered them on. There is quite a lot of strain on those 2 buttons, like the whole weight of the dungarees, so they do need to be securely on.

If I made these again (and I really want another pair) I think I might go full on Lucy and Yak and make loops on the bib to tie the ties onto. I think I’d have to lengthen the ties too, to give enough length to be able to tie them on.

As well as the left over corduroy, I had some of the birdy cotton lawn I used to line the jacket with, so I lined the bib and the pockets of these with it. I love those secret details, that other people don’t necessarily notice, but I know is there.

I think dungarees was one of those trends that I wasn’t too sold on when it first came back into fashion – though I had a pair of dungarees I absolutely loved and lived in when I was a young teenager! I feel like sometimes it takes me a while to decide if I would actually like a particular garment in my wardrobe – and I don’t want to spend ages (and money on fabric) making something only to realise it’s not my style and I don’t want to wear it. But I’m really glad I jumped on the dungaree bandwagon when I did!

Are there any trends you think aren’t for you, then 6 months or a year down the line you decide maybe you do like it?

 

 

Recovering My Ironing Board

I recently finally got around to recovering my ironing board, which was long overdue! I haven’t done a huge amount of sewing recently but my partner irons a shirt most days and he was finding the old crappy cover particularly painful to use.

This was the cheapest ironing board that Argos sold when I bought it a few years ago. I didn’t hate the colour but the elastic around the edge gave way pretty quickly and for more months than I care to admit, I had it safety pinned to stop the cover falling off completely!

Also even when this was new, it wasn’t the best because it had this tiny thin piece of foam as the only padding, which really didn’t last very long before you could feel the frame underneath!

Luckily because the elastic had all stopped being springy, I could use the old cover as a template for the new one. I used this amazing sewing-themed cotton I had in my stash. I did have to seam it but you really can’t see it on the cover because I pattern matched it.

I then used the new cover as a template for the wadding. I bought a really thick wadding from my local sewing shop – it was the one the lady in the shop said she used for her ironing board.

She advised me to overlock the wadding and the fabric together, which I did, but it was then too thick for the width of bias binding I bought so I had to unpick the overlocking – which is always fun!

So the method I used was based on the one from Tilly and the Buttons – you make a channel with bias binding and thread string though the channel and pull it tight around the frame. You can also use elastic but since that was the downfall of the first cover, I wanted to use cord so I could re-tie it if it loosened in the future.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how it looks, and how useful it is to have a working ironing board!

Have you ever put off a relatively simple job out of laziness even though you know it will improve your life to do it? ……..no, me neither………

 

 

My first jeans!

OMG I made jeans! And I’m writing a blog post – took an unplanned break (from sewing as well as blogging) but I’m back now.

And I’m back with my first pair of jeans! I’ve been saying I’m going to make jeans for almost as long as I’ve been sewing and I finally did it. And it wasn’t as hard as I thought – though these are far from perfect, but they are a wearable toile.

The pattern is the Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns. I traced off the pattern and cut them out a whole year before I sewed them – in May last year! In that year I have lost an inch from my waist and hips – I think from having a physical job in an upholstery fabric shop, where the rolls of fabric weigh 20kg.

This means that by the time I came to sew them, they were inevitably going to need a bit of taking in, but I didn’t bother to trim down/re-cut the pieces as I knew they would need some adjustments anyway. I cut the size 8, though even at the time when I cut them out, I should have cut a 6 at the waist (but I didn’t because I was scared of ending up with all the trickiest pieces not fitting together.

As I predicted, I did have to make quite a few adjustments

  • I took 6cm off the hem, leaving 3cm hem allowance (1.5cm twice). Next time I’ll shorten them above and below the knee rather than just lopping it off the bottom.
  • I took 4cm off the centre back seam at the waist, grading to 3cm off at the yoke and 2cm off 8cm up from the crotch seam.
  • I took 3cm off the inner leg seam (off the legs of the jeans) at the crotch, grading out to the standard seam allowance mid-thigh.
  • I took 1cm off the front crotch curve.

The look maybe a little baggy under my bum, but they’re not meant to be fitted or tight – they are ‘boyfriend’ fit.

To be honest, I quite like how they fit, and this is the first pair of jeans I’ve had in my wardrobe for a couple of years because my rtw ones wore out and since I’d bought loads of denim to make my own I couldn’t justify buying rtw ones.

The denim was pretty cheap from one of the shops in Birmingham, when I went with some fellow sewists from Bristol. I’ve just realised this was over 2 years ago! That’s how long I’ve had this fabric sitting around waiting to become Morgan jeans. I also bought some denim for my first part of Ginger jeans, so hopefully they will follow on soon!

I quite enjoyed doing all the details that make jeans look like jeans, though I didn’t put the rivets on as I don’t have a surface on which to hammer them. I liked doing the top stitching – which I did with normal thread as my machine really hates top-stitching thread – and the bar tacks and things.

I did sign up to the online jeans making class on the Closet Case Patterns website, and I did watch quite a few of the classes, but then I got impatient and just plowed ahead. Before my Gingers I’m definitely going to watch the whole thing because they will need more careful fitting.

One great tip she gives (which I think my also be in the instructions) is to baste together the main pieces to check the fit. I’m so, so glad I did this as I knew what adjustments to make before I did all the top-stitching or sewed pockets and then had to unpick them or anything.

The only thing I regret with these jeans is I messed up either the button hole placement or the button placement – I suspect it was the buttons. This means that the fly shield doesn’t quite completely cover the fly underneath. The main button on the waistband also means the jeans are a little loose on my waist, but they are (I think) supposed to sit on your hips, so I think it’s fine.

But my advice is don’t leave the buttons until the morning when you’re catching a coach to meet your sister in London for 2 days! Definitely put on the jeans to mark the button placement!

And now I’ll leave you with some more photos because despite the buttons, I’m pretty proud of myself for making jeans!

Have you put off sewing something for years and then discovered it wasn’t as bad as you thought? Or is it just me…….

 

p.s. I’m wearing the jeans with my refashioned raglan sleeve tee.

 

 

A Pair of Frankies

As soon as I got Tilly and the Buttons’ new book, Stretch, I wanted to make most of the patterns in it. I thought Freya would be my first make, but it turns out Frankie was the first one I tried out…..and I made 2!

When Tilly had her fabric shop to celebrate the release of the book, she was selling nice white jersey – I bought 2m as I knew it would be good quality and I would be able to use some small pieces of jerseys I had in my stash to colour block 2 new tees.

The mustard jersey was a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani – I think when I went there, either with the Bristol sewing ladies or at Sew Brum. It’s such a nice jersey but there was less than I realised when I bought it – I thought I might be able to squeeze out a whole tee from it, but I only just fitted the sleeve pattern piece on it and I had to cut out the neckband in 2 pieces, with 2 joins!

The pink jersey was a remnant I bought from Sarah from Like Sew Amazing when she was selling off some of her own stash. Again, I naively thought I would get a whole tee from it, but thankfully the Frankie pattern came along and saved both jerseys from languishing in my stash.

As you can probably tell from the photos, the pink jersey is thinner and drapier than either the white (though it’s pretty close) or the mustard jersey. I did have some problems sewing on the neckbands neatly, and particularly on the pink tee, it looks a bit puckered and gathered, but it looks worse in the photos than in real life and it doesn’t bother me too much.

What’s weird is I always used to have a complex that I had really broad shoulders compared to the rest of me and I thought raglan sleeves would make me look even broader. But after making a couple of Linden sweatshirts, I decided that was bollocks and I could wear raglan sleeves! Hurray! (Also I no longer think my shoulders are out of proportion – or if they are, I don’t care!).

I made both tees in the size 3 – which is my standard Tilly size. I can definitely recommend this pattern and the instructions are also good – I always fear instructions in books won’t be as comprehensive as if I bought a pattern separately.  There are also some useful tips about sewing with jerseys and how to troubleshoot common overlocker problems, so I would definitely recommend buying this book, particularly if you’re new to sewing with knits. And if you’re an old hand with knits, the patterns are great.

Have you got Stretch? What is your favourite pattern? Or are you like me and this is possibly the first time you’ve actually used a pattern from one of the many sewing books you own?