Make It: Mute Bags

If you follow me on Instagram you may have gleaned that in January I restarted playing the trumpet/ cornet and joined a brass band (Cirencester Band in case you’re interested) and a swing band (JJ’s Swing Band). I also invested in a full set of mutes, which I never used when I played at school, but which are really needed in the swing band and are used in quite a few of the brass band pieces. I spent about £150 on 4 mutes (Harmon, Straight, Cup and Practice in case you’re interested) and when I started carrying them around I worried that they would get scratched and dented by bouncing off each other, so I decided to make some little draw-string bags to keep them protected.

Working out the dimensions for the circle at the bottom of the bag and the rectangle for the sides took quite a bit of maths – maths which I hadn’t used since GCSE!   Πr² and all that.

Height Circumference Radius
Practice 18cm 21cm 4.8cm
Harmon 13cm 29cm 6cm
Cup 18cm 36cm 7.1cm
Straight 15cm 29cm 6cm

I added a 1cm seam allowance and then used the circle formulae (c = Πr² and r = (c÷2Π) to figure out the final measurements I needed. In retrospect I should have added more to the height of the side to allow for the drawstring and the bunching of the fabric, so if you use this tutorial, I would all a couple of centimetres to the height of whatever it is you want to put in a bag.

Radius Length of side Height of side
Practice 4.8cm 32.2cm 22cm
Harmon 6cm 39.7cm 17cm
Cup 7.1cm 46.6cm 22cm
Straigh 6cm 39.7cm 19cm

I used several things which were in my stash: leftover mustard denim from one of my cleo dresses, the scribble striped jersey (which I used to make my Marianne Dress and my cropped Inari tee) and some thick mystery fabric my friend gave me after making me a knitting needle case. The letters are made from a tiny bit of navy twill I had lying around.

The first thing I did was to stitch on the letters, using a narrow zig-zag stitch to stop them from fraying. I sewed the letters onto only the denim, so the stitching wouldn’t show on the inside.

The next thing I did was to sew the lining fabric (the stripey jersey) and the padding layers (the turquoise mystery fabric) together for each bag base and side, so I could treat them as one layer when stitching them together.

I then stitched the side rectangles into tubes, right sides together. I did this for the doubled up lining layer and the outer denim layer.

The next thing was to stitch the tube to the base of the bag – I’m not going to lie, this was really fiddley with the denim because it has no stretch at all. I marked the quarter points on the circle and the tube to help distribute the tube evenly around the circle.

At least I knew my maths worked!

I repeated the step with the lining pieces – it was way easier because the jersey obviously has stretch and the turquoise mystery fabric has enough stretch to help ease the 2 pieces together.

I trimmed the seam allowance down on the lining pieces because it was really bulky with the padding layer.

I then put the lining bag inside the outer bag – you don’t need to turn the lining bag the right way around as it is the opposite way around to the outer bag. I folded the 2 layers down by 1cm (the seam allowance I added), sandwiching the seam allowances between the 2 layers so the raw edges are all hidden.

I topstitched the 2 layers together a few millimetres from the top of the bag, and then did another line of stitching at a 1.5cm seam allowance to make a channel for the drawstring, which I bought from my local sewing shop.

I had to unpick just the lining between the 2 layers of stitching to allow me to get the string into the channel – because the side seam has been sewn over twice, I figured it wouldn’t unravel completely.

And here they are! I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out – they do make my mutes a lot more bulky to carry but I’m not constantly afraid of destroying them, especially given that they were fairly expensive.

This is the harmon (or wah-wah) mute, which is used for jazz mostly. It has a plunger in the middle, which you can adjust or remove – if you remove the plunger you get a sound like Miles Davis.

This is my cup mute, which muffles the sound more than the straight mute

The straight mute muffles the sound but it has a pretty sharp sound.

This is my practice mute, which completely deadens the sound, so I can practice without making my neighbours hate me!

Do you play any musical instruments? Will you make these draw-string bags for storing other things?

Me Made May 2018 Round-Up

Now that May is well and truly over, I thought I’d do a recap of Me Made May. You can see my pledge here.

My main take-away is that I failed to make jeans. What a surprise. I’ve been saying I’m going to make jeans for 2 months (plus about a year before that!). I have a free weekend in a couple of weeks and it is my plan to make some jeans then – I wasn’t in the mood to make them on either of the bank holiday weekends in May as it was so bloody hot! The last thing I wanted to be doing was wrestling denim through my sewing machine.

I also found it pretty hard to decide what to wear as the weather was all over the place. I know it’s very british and boring to talk about the weather, but on the first bank holiday Monday when I was playing out with the brass band, it was 28 C and then there were other days that were 14 C.

I documented my outfits daily on Instagram and after a couple of days I decided to add another dimension to my challenge and try to have my photos look different from each other. This was kind of fun for the first week and then I just got even more fed up with documenting my outfits than in previous years because I then felt I had to think of somewhere new or a new pose for the photo. It was supposed to be a fun thing to try to break me out of my rut of the same few poses, but it didn’t really work out that way. I did, however, post as many outtakes as I could. It makes me laugh to see the stupid photos that The Boyfriend (who was a very patient Instagram Husband through the month) accidentally took. This might be the last year I take daily photos as it’s the least fun part for me, so I might try a different way of documenting my outfits so I can continue to scrutinise my wardrobe and plan my makes accordingly.

Here is a recap of all my outfits:

 

Day 1: silver toaster sweater
and navy simplicity trousers

 

Day 2: refashioned suit trousers
and gifted cashmere jumper

 

Day 3: mustard corduroy skirt
and thrifted navy spotty shirt

Day 4: flowery archer shirt and
black corduroy simplicity skirt

Day 5: electric blue coco top
and navy simplicity trousers

Day 6: yellow flowery plantain
tee and refashioned trousers

Day 7 part 1: white archer shirt
and black simplicity trousers

Day 7 part 2: yellow and navy
flowery sallie maxi dress

Day 8: refashioned raglan top
and black simplicity trousers

Day 9: spotty rushcutter
and freemantle coat

Day 10: refashioned coral, navy
and mustard dress into shirt

Day 11 & 12: spotty melilot shirt
and black simplicity trousers

Day 13: silver toaster sweater
and black simplicity trousers

Day 14: greyish melilot shirt and
navy simplicity trousers

Day 15: breton plantain tee and
navy simplicity trousers

Day 17: electric blue jersey
dress

Day 18: tester honeycomb
shirt

Day 19: refashioned coral, navy
and mustard dress into shirt

Day 20: white archer shirt
and black simplicity trousers

Day 21: navy and white
marianne dress

Day 22: stripey cropped inari tee
and refashioned trousers

Day 23: greyish melilot shirt
and navy simplicity trousers

Day 24: mustard astoria top and
refashioned suit trousers

Day 25: black simplicity skirt
and thrifted jumper

Day 26 & 27: navy simplicity
trousers and gifted top

Day 28: navy simplicity trousers
and spotty thrifted shirt

Day 29: spotty meilot and
mustard denim cleo

Day 30: mustard refashioned
skirt and thrifted shirt

Day 31: mustard astoria and
navy corduroy cleo

What I’ve learned about my handmade wardrobe:

  1. I need more trousers! I wore the same 2 pairs most of the month in rotation, and the suit trousers a couple of times.
  2. All of my knitwear is still ready to wear and I’m okay with that. I don’t have time to knit myself new things and most of the cardigans are still wearable so it seems not very eco-friendly to replace them all for the sake of having a 100% handmade wardrobe. I will make replacements as and when they wear out, but it’s not desperate.
  3. One of my favourite things in my wardrobe is my navy with white spots shirt (as you can see in Day 30) and it was from a charity shop. I think this is a good way to add to my wardrobe with things I wouldn’t necessarily make or things that I just like.
  4. I re-wore a few things that I had forgotten about, like the mustard corduroy skirt refashion.
  5. I didn’t get to wear a few things I really like because it wasn’t warm enough on enough days. I’m particularly sad my 2 In The Folds Collins Tops didn’t make it, but apparently the UK is going to have a 3-month heatwave so I’m sure they’ll get some wear this year.
  6. Most of my outfits fitted into the colour palette I decided I wanted to wear when I did the Wardrobe Architect last year, which is pretty cool. It is definitely easier to put together outfits when you like all the colours and they go with each other. The 2 cleos I made are definitely going to be a great addition to my wardrobe and fit into my palette. I’ve tried to be more focussed when buying fabric, and I guess it’s working!

What did you learn from Me Made May?

Cropped Kalle Shirt

I’m finally blogging my Kalle shirt, which I think I made mostly in March and then finished in April (i.e. took about 3 weeks to get around to adding the buttons!). I love this shirt! If you’ve read my blog for a while (or looked at my handmade wardrobe archive page) you will see that I like making shirts and have made a few different patterns. This was my first Kalle but I predict it won’t be my last. I wish I lived somewhere that was warmer more of the year so I could justify a couple of the shirt dress version, but I already have lots of dresses I  never wear, so maybe more cropped versions and some tunic versions are in my future.

I made the straight size 6 based on my measurements and made no adjustments, and I’m pretty happy with the fit. I think I have a long body, so maybe next time I would add a couple of inches to the front hem (and maybe the back hem to keep them in the same proportion) to make it just a little less cropped, but I do love it. I just need to make more high-waisted trousers to wear it with!

I bought this fabric from the Sewing Bee Live from Higgs and Higgs. I can’t find it on their website, and Sew Over It have sold out.  It was kind of a last minute purchase – I’ve got a certain amount of money out to spend on fabric and hadn’t spent it all by the end of the day, so I bought it for my last £20 (it was £10 per metre) and I’m so glad I did! It has a really nice drape and although monochrome might be a bit boring, I’m sure I’ll get a  lot of wear out of this once the weather is warm enough – though I could wear it with a vest underneath.

I made the version with the hidden button placket, and I’m so glad it actually worked this time, unlike when I tried it on my first Deer and Doe Melilot shirt. The instructions were great, very clear. And it’s great that she gets you to sew the button holes as soon as you’ve made the placket so you’re not wrestling a finished shirt through your machine to make the buttonholes.

I really love the giant pleat on the back – it gives the back a really nice, swingy shape. I’m glad I picked a drapey fabric for this, though I’d be curious to make it with a more structured cotton or something.

I really do love the shape of the hem – and sewing the hem facing was super easy. I was worried it would all go wrong and not sit nicely, but the drafting and the instructions are spot on.

Sadly I don’t have any outtakes today, boo! I took these photos myself using my tripod and timer and it tends to be when The Boyfriend takes the photos that I end up with some great photos!

I may be pretty late to the Kalle party, but I really do love it. I also love shirt making in general – I like all the topstitching, as it makes me feel like a boss when it goes well and the stitching is all straight. And I like that shirts are more involved than some projects (not that I don’t love a quick win sometimes) and handily I love wearing shirts, so it’s lucky that I don’t mind making them. I have the Style Arc Briar next on my list of shirt patterns to try, but I’m looking for the perfect fabric.

Do you make shirts? Is there a particular type of garment you love making?

 

 

Honeycomb Shirt (and my first time pattern testing)

I recently did my first bit of pattern testing, for CocoWawa Craft’s newest pattern the Honeycomb shirt (and shirtdress). I’ve met Ana a couple of times and she is as lovely in person as you would imagine, so I was thrilled when she asked me to pattern test for her. I’ve made quite a few different shirt patterns before and I was excited to give a new one a go. I haven’t pattern tested before because, although I’ve seen calls put out for testers a few times, I’ve always worried that I wouldn’t find the time to make the pattern in time. Especially as my output is quite a bit lower this year than it has been in the last couple of years. But I did get it done in time, phew!

The pink fabric is some mystery drapey stuff I’ve had in my stash for years – I originally bought it from Rolls and Rems on Holloway Road, which I think might not be there any more. I used some of this fabric to make one of my very early makes, a Grainline Scout Tee (long since consigned to the charity shop) and I lined a Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt for the #SewDots initiative last year or the year before. I think it was a good choice for this pattern as it’s quite loose fitting (which is, handily, how I prefer my tops to fit) so I think it benefits from a bit of drape.

I made the shirt version as since I changed jobs (from a boring office job to rolling furnishing fabric) I’ve not worn so many dresses. I already have a couple more dresses cut out and didn’t think I really needed any more – I definitely need more separates. I made it in the size 3 (which is a UK size 10) as this was the size closest to my bust and waist measurements – my hips were a little big for the size, but there is so much ease there that I figured it would be fine. I also left off all the ties which can be included with the shirt or the shirtdress as they’re not really my style. I also made the short sleeves so I could wear this in this weird warm weather we’ve been having recently – the fabric is quite thin so not the best for Autumn/Winter.

I feel that the short sleeves are a little long on me – I am only 5’3″ so it might be that I have short arms. I might take them up a bit the next time I’m at my machine and have white thread in it.

The instructions were really easy to follow and I would definitely recommend this as a first shirt pattern to make – there is a grandad collar rather than a collar with collar stand and there aren’t sleeve plackets on the short sleeves. There are also some nice seam details which would allow you to adjust the fit to be a bit closer if you wanted.

Heh, I like how the wind caught the peplum skirt. Also, not sure what I’m doing with my face in the below photo!

The buttons were some I had in my stash – they’re leftovers from my Kalle Shirt, which I haven’t got around to blogging yet.

I did enjoy my first time pattern testing – I had enough time to make the shirt in time for the deadline and the pattern came together really easily. I’m not sure I had any particularly useful feedback, though. But I guess pattern designers try to have the pattern as finished as possible before it goes to testers, so I wouldn’t expect ti find major errors or anything. Maybe I’ll sign up to pattern test again in the future.

And this week’s outtake….

 

 

Style Crush: Miss Fisher

I’ve just started watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries again – I think this is the third time (at least) that I’ve watched it. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it – it’s on Netflix in the UK and probably other countries too. If you like a cosy crime show like Poirot then you’ll love Miss Fisher. And her clothes are amazing! There’s a great article on Vanity Fair that says the costume designer tries to be as authentic as possible by using fabrics that would have been around in the 20s and pattern cutting that was actually used at the time, such as using panels instead of darts.

Image source

 

As well as amazing clothes, Miss Fisher has an excellent line in hats.

This voile coat with, I think, embroidered panels is amazing! I kind of want to recreate it.

Image source

 

This dress was made for dancing in – which is lucky because that’s what she does in it!

Image source

 

Her nightwear is particularly elegant – I think I definitely need a silk robe in my life. My current dressing gown is the one I made as part of my Doc Brown costume – nowhere near as glamourous!

Image source

 

Image source

 

I remember reading an article a while ago where the costumer designer, Marion Boyce, lobbied for a tennis episode as tennis was a huge sport an an influence on fashion in the 20s and she finally got her way in (I think) series 3. Word of warning, though, this episode features a rather nasty spider!

Image source

 

I. Want. The. Parasol.

Image source

 

Yellow and white is a great combo – you probably know by now how much I love yellow and maybe for the Summer I’ll find some white things too and sort of copy this look.

 

Image source

This velvet coat is amazing!

Image source

 

Image source

 

Image source

 

I also really like the character of Dr Mac who shows another side to 20s fashion – the acceptance of queer identity and gender bending dressing. I’ve seen some documentaries on tv (though I can’t remember exactly which ones) which mention that the 20s were much more a time of ‘anything goes’ than any other decade in the first half of the 20th century. She also has excellent hats.

Image source

 

I’ll leave you with this picture of Jack in a wet bathing suit because of reasons.

Image source

 

Have you watched Miss Fisher yet? Are you tempted to, if only for the beautiful costumes?