Colour Blocked Linden Sweatshirt

I made this Linden a month or two ago, so it seemed more weather appropriate then than it does now – today has been the warmest day of the year so far by miles! Autumn/Winter feels like it’s been going on for at least 3 years now so it was nice to finally not need 4 layers of clothing!

This make actually fits into the series Shauni is running on her blog, The Magnificent Thread, called sewing leftovers, which is pretty self-explanatory. I’m sure we all have those projects where we have half a metre or a metre of fabric left – I have a whole box full of such leftovers and I do go through phases of getting enthusiastic about using them up but this might be one of the first times I actually followed through and made the thing!

The fabric of the body is from my first Linden and my first Mabel skirt (neither of which I really wear). I think it was a really long ‘remnant’ from my old London haunt, Rolls and Rems on Seven Sisters Road. The sleeves are some black ponte I had left over from my Moneta party dress. This didn’t have enough stretch for the cuffs and hem band so they are made from some other mystery black jersey I had in my stash, which I used to make a not-very-successful Hemlock tee. So this was definitely a good buster of my left overs! Though I probably could have done without the cuffs as the sleeves are a little long!

Although I didn’t have a huge amount of the patterned fabric left, I did manage to match the pattern on the side seams. #winning.

I find with these kinds of basics I don’t have a huge amount to say about them. I sewed it completely on my overlocker, which was a first for me – usually I sew on my machine first and then neaten the seam allowances on the overlocker afterwards, but I thought I was pretty safe with this as I’d made it before and the construction is pretty straightforward.

This might actually be a good transitional garment for cooler Spring days as the fabrics aren’t that thick, so it’s not really warm enough for Winter, and it’ll be too hot on really hot days but those in-betweeny ones might make this perfect!

Are you struggling to dress as much as I am now it’s finally warmed up?

 

 

Book: Stretch

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m pretty sure you will have seen that Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons released her second book in March. Stretch: Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing With Knit Fabrics is the perfect book for anyone who has mastered sewing with wovens, expertly demonstrated in her first book, Love At First Stitch. I still have some projects from the first book I want to make (mainly the Megan dress) and now I’ve got a whole bunch of great knit patterns to add to my ever-growing to-sew list!

As is her main goal, this book takes you through everything you need to know and have to be able to sew great knit garments if you’re a complete knits noob. (And the projects are great if you’ve mastered knit basics). I like how in the below list of items you need she has separated items into ‘need’ and ‘nice to have’ – sometimes it’s easy to be put off starting something new by thinking you have to have ALL THE THINGS but she shows this isn’t the case.

A book on sewing with knits wouldn’t be complete without some tips on matching stripes! Breton tops of my dreams here I come….

I love that Tilly takes you through how to sew knits on a regular sewing machine (and doesn’t say you absolutely have to have an overlocker). My first few knit garments were sewn entirely on a sewing machine and I still sew all the seams on my sewing machine before finishing the edges on my overlocker as I am too much of an unpicker (and the tension on my overlocker isn’t great) to sew things with the overlocker in the first place.

Having said all of that, there are also some tips on how to use an overlocker if you do have one.

And there are some troubleshooting tips, which I definitely need to have a look through to try to sort out my tension issues. I love that she has clear photos of what the issue might be and then an explanation of how to fix it.

Now onto the projects. As with Love At First Stitch, the projects go from simplest through to most complicated, which is a great way to structure the book as you can get used to working with knits using a more stable knit, as is required for the Bibi skirt. To be totally honest I probably won’t use this pattern as it’s pretty similar to the Colette Mabel, which I’ve already made and traced.

I love that she shows you ways to alter the patterns to make them more easy to adapt to your own style. I like the Bibi with the split and waist tabs.

It seems like this adaptation has already been pretty popular online – the season of the pinafore dress has obviously not come to an end yet. I’m pretty behind on the trend, though, and am only just now planning my first Cleo.

I think this will be one pattern I will use. I wasn’t sure about raglan sleeves on me, but then I realised two of my favourite dresses have them (1, 2) and I made another version of the Linden sweatshirt  and I don’t hate it, so I’m going to give the Frankie baseball tee a go. I have a couple of small but lovely amounts of knit fabrics, which would be perfect for colour blocking – I just need some ideally white jersey to go with them. Any ideas where to get nice white jersey?

I love this version in stripes – who doesn’t love stripes – and it’s a really great idea to add some applique. It’s a fairly simple way to make something more interesting and add some flair.

I really like this version with the v-shape in the neckline, too. And the short sleeves are super cute.

The Freya is another pattern I definitely think I’m going to make – probably the top version as I already have loads of dresses I don’t wear very often.

I can see why this mustard yellow dress version had everyone obsessed on Instagram. Zeena Shah looks adorable in the photos and the frill has made me want to try frills for the first time!

There are 3 different necklines to choose from with the Freya pattern and I like the roll neck, especially since it seems like we are never going to get Spring again in the UK – I’m still in the mood to make snuggly, warm makes!

The last pattern in the book I think I’ll try is the Stella joggers (though probably not the hoodie as they aren’t really my style). I feel as though I’m missing some comfortable-lounging-around-the-house clothes so the Stella joggers could be the perfect solution. Also I think without the ankle cuff they wouldn’t look quite so sporty so might be good casual trousers to add to my wardrobe.

The final pattern in the book is the Joni dress, which again I probably won’t make. It’s not really my style, though never say never!

And I do love this version with the sequined skirt, modelled by the gorgeous Alex from Sew Happy. The blush pink is perfect on her and I basically want her hair (though that would take years of growing it out and lots of dye!).

Now I just need to buy a bunch of great knit fabrics to make my comfy wardrobe of my dreams. What are your favourite places to buy knit fabrics? Which pattern from the book are you planning to make first?

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March Make and April Plans

March was definitely a light sewing month for me, despite the Easter long weekend we just had. I think since making my coat (which I still love so much I slightly don’t want it to warm up so I can keep wearing it!), my sew-jo has dissipated a bit. I’m not sure why, but I’m hoping it comes back soon.

The only item I made was this Kalle shirt, with the hidden button placket. I intended to get it finished in time for the Sew My Style deadline, which I think was the 25th, but it still doesn’t have buttons (but it counts as a finished make as the buttons will take me, like, 10 minutes).

My first make of April will hopefully be another paid of the Simplicity 1696 trousers which I made in navy blue last year.  I wear them all the time and could really do with a black pair. I bought some black twill last year during one of my fabric shopping trips to Birmingham. I originally had another plan for the fabric but trousers will be a more useful addition to my wardrobe.

It’s hopefully going to be trousers month in Machinations towers so my other main plan is to finally make a start on jeans. When I made my plans for the year, I planned one of my make nine or the three Sew My Style for each month and April and May are for the 2 Closet Case Patterns jeans patterns. I think I’ll start with the Morgans as they aren’t as fitted, but are presumably drafted using the same block so I’ll know which adjustments I’ll need to make to the Gingers to get them to fit. I still need to prepare both patterns but I’m hopeful I’ll have some jeans by the end of the month.

If I have time (which seems very. very unlikely) I’m still planning to make some Carolyn Pyjamas.

In other blog news, for the last year or two I’ve been trying to blog twice a week, though if you check the dates I publish posts, you’ll see I almost never achieved it and then I felt bad about missing my own schedule. So I’ve decided to write one post a week – with an additional one here and there if I have lots to share, though with my current sewing output, this seems unlikely!

 

 

Gold Scuba Ebony Dress

Basically as soon as I finished my blue brushstrokes Ebony dressI ordered more scuba and made another one (though it’s only just making it to the blog)! I possibly love it even more, because of the amazing fabric and the fitting tweaks I made.

I bought the fabric from Sew Me Sunshine but they are sadly now out of stock – though I’m not surprised as it’s so nice. Fabric Godmother do still have it in stock, though, if you want to get your hands on some. I first saw the design as a cotton and was tempted to get some but wasn’t really sure what to make so I was thrilled when it became available as a scuba.

I made mostly the size 2 again, as with my first version, but I retraced the sleeves and armscyes in a size 6 as the sleeves were soooo tight in the size 2. I also again reduced the seam allowance to 0.5cm instead of 1cm to give myself even more room. The sleeves and shoulders definitely fit better on this version, though the other version is totally wearable. I also want to make the Ebony tee (probably in the cropped length) so I’ll probably make the same adjustment, though with a stretchier jersey it might not feel quite as restrictive – scuba has a relatively low amount of stretch, at least judging from the 2 I’ve used.

I still love the swingy shape of the Ebony – it is one of my favourite silhouettes out of everything I’ve made I think.

I sewed the dress on my sewing machine, with a zig zag stitch and then overlocked the seam allowances. I finished the hem and neckband with my trusty twin needle. I can’t quite get the tension right on my overlocker to feel like I’m happy sewing actual seams on it – also having had to unpick some overlocking before, I make too many mistakes to not stitch things first on my machine and then on the overlocker. Am I just being a wuss?

The only slight downside of this dress is that I recently changed jobs and am now working for a furnishing fabric company dispatching fabric (living the dream!) so I’m no longer based in an office and am lugging around bolts of fabric all day so I don’t know how much I’ll wear this. Though I’m tempted to wear it anyway, once the weather warms up a little – my workspace is really cold and I’m currently wearing 3 layers to work so this may not be warm enough until Spring finally arrives! I’ve realised I have lots of handmade dresses, so I can’t not wear any of them! Though I’m definitely going to focus on more casual basics and separates for the rest of the year.

 

 

5 Things I Learned Making A Coat

After the triumph that was making my first proper coat (if I do say so myself!) I thought I would share some of the things I learned while making it and the resources that helped me, so here are 5 things I learned making a coat.

1. How to make bound buttonholes.


There are loads of tutorials on how to make bound buttonholes. I used this YouTube video, and I practised twice before I did it on the real thing. This tutorial shows you how to do bound button holes when you have a lining (or in my case a facing). The only problem was she didn’t make it 100% clear whether you need to put the pieces right or wrong sides together, but after practising it I figured it out for myself. There is an ebook by Karen from Did You Make That for only £2 which will also give you extra help.

 

2. How to do tailor’s tacks.


As I mentioned in my post about my coat, I tried to do all the marking for the coat ‘properly’ with tailor’s tacks – I say ‘properly’ because it feels like it’s the proper technique, though, of course, tailors must have used chalk for as long as it has existed too! Again there are loads of tutorials, but I used this one on YouTube – I feel like there are some techniques it is really useful to see someone doing, rather than to read instructions and look at pictures. Just be careful not to pull them out by mistake! But then remove them as soon as you don’t need them any more – I didn’t do this and spent several rather irritating minutes with some tweasers trying to get all of them out from seams I has sewn over the top of them!

 

3. How to do tailor’s basting


To be honest, I’m not sure I did the basting stitches quite right, but as I mentioned in the post about my coat, I was very glad to have an extra later to baste to instead of trying to stitch the hair canvas to the wool, without the stitches showing through to the other side – I have no idea how I would have done it! I did find it interesting to put in some hair canvas, having unpicked some (which was disintegrating) from my dad’s suit.

 

4. That sewing a slippery lining is really difficult!


Obviously coat linings have to be slippery to provide lubrication (snigger) to get the coat on and off, but I haven’t sewn with that many really slippery fabrics and this definitely proved a bit of a challenge! Not helped by the inaccurate job I did with the cutting out. If anyone has any tips, please pass them my way for next time 🙂

 

5. I really enjoyed the hand sewing.


Each time I do lots of hand sewing (like when I made my Dressmakers Ball dress and hand-stitched all the hems) I discover I like it. Especially making this coat where I planned to take my time, it’s nice to slow down and sew some things by hand. I hand stitched all of the interlining pieces to the wool, basted in the canvas, hand sewed the stay tape and attaching the lining to the shell along the bottom and the cuffs was all done by hand. I got a little fed up of hand sewing, though, when I had to redo the hem because I had shortened the lining too much and it was pulling the wool up inside the coat.

I would like to learn some more tailoring techniques – if you have any recommendations of courses (online or in person) please let me know.