Brushstrokes Scuba Ebony Dress

This might be a record – I finished my first Make Nine pattern in January! And I love it. As you will have seen from my makes for January post you’ll know I’ve actually already made 2 Ebony dresses, both from amazing scubas.

The scuba fabric was from Fabric Godmother and it is possibly the most expensive fabric I’ve bought, but I had to have it! I think the design was available in cotton or another fabric and I thought about getting it. wondering what I would make – then it was available as a scuba and I snapped some up on pay day a couple of months ago. Since Heather Lou made her Ebony in scuba, I couldn’t get the idea of a copy-cat out of my head. And I’m so pleased with the result!

The pattern is the Ebony tee and dress by Closet Case Patterns and is designed really for drapey knits, probably in a lighter weight, but I Think it works in scuba too, as you get more of an idea of the swingy shape.

I made the size 2 because I figured basing the size on my bust measurement would be fine, as it gets wider as it goes down the body. But I know from other patterns that generally my waist and hip measurements (27″ and 37″ respectively) are a size or two bigger than my bust size (32″) so I maybe should have gone more on the waist and hips size as the sleeves were waaaay too tight and pulled a bit across the shoulders.

Luckily I had sewn the dress on my sewing machine, and then neatened the seams with my overlocker, rather than sewing (and trimming) the whole thing on my overlocker. I generally do this anyway, but particularly when I haven’t made a pattern before. Having tried to unpick overlocked seams I like to stitch with my normal sewing machine – and a zig-zag stitch – first so when I inevitably make a mistake, it’s not such a ball-ache (or such a waste of thread) to fix it. This is a very long way of saying I reduced the seam allowance on the sleeves and under the arms (the sleeve seam and side seam are sewn in one go so making adjustments is comparatively easy) to 0.5cm instead of the 1cm included in the pattern. I think probably if I had used a drapey, stretchy knit as the pattern demands, I wouldn’t have had to make this adjustment, but since scuba isn’t as stretchy (kind of like a ponte) it did feel really restrictive.

I would definitely recommend this pattern if you like swingy dresses and it’s a great pattern to show of a fairly large-scale print as the pieces are so big and there aren’t any darts or anything to break it up.

Handily the thread I used for the twin needle top-stitching was the left over thread from the 2 mini chestnuts I made for my friend’s daughter. I got the fear about making 2 so bought 2 spools of thread and barely used one. But luckily it meant I had 2 spools ready to go for the twin needling!

There isn’t a huge amount more for me to say about this dress, except I love it. And I love the pattern. I might give the other versions a go – once I finally get around to making some high-waisted Ginger jeans, the cropped version might be a perfect pairing for them.

Have you sewn with scuba? I was a little scared but it’s really easy to work with as it’s like any other stable knit. Do you love Heather Lou and Closet Case patterns as much as I (and the Love To Sew Podcast!) do?

December & January Makes and February Plans

I haven’t done one of these planning posts for a couple of months, but I want to get back into the routine so I’ll be more mindful and thoughtful in my sewing. December wasn’t super productive for me, what with Christmas and everything. I think I technically finished my New Craft House Party dress in December, though made most of it in November.

I did make the only 2 presents I successfully made in December – I also made another moss skirt for my sister, but it didn’t fit her because I forgot that the last time I made it, I reduced the seam allowances. I did make 2 Mini Chestnuts for my friend’s daughter and this Harry Potter tote bag for a secret santa present. The tote bag might have actually sneaked into January – I’m sure I’m not the only one who loses track of time over Christmas and New Year!

My first make of 2018 was my Chestnut sweater, which I blogged earlier this week. I really do love it! You can read about how much and the gorgeous snuggly sweatshirting I used in the post.

I also made 2 Ebony dresses from 2 different scubas and I love them both! And they’re really quick to run up.

I made half of a linden sweatshirt, but I was using a not very stretchy ponte for the sleeves, the neckband, cuffs and hem band but it wasn’t anywhere near stretchy enough to work for the neckband so I put it to one side and started on another project. I’ll probably finish it off this weekend.

And finally last month I made most of this spotty melilot shirt, which I’ve been planning to make for a few months I think. I’ve just got the collar stand to stitch down and topstitch, and then the buttons and button holes. I really do like shirt making, it’s so satisfying when all the pieces come together and you get to do some lovely topstitching!

So onto my plans for February. I’m going to finish the melilot and linden, hopefully in a single morning. Then my main plan is to make a coat – my first proper coat. I refashioned a coat a couple of years ago but there was none of the structure you actually need in a coat, the lining is just cotton and rolls to the outside of the coat because there is no facing.

As per my #2018MakeNine the pattern I’m going to use is Marilla Walker’s Honetone Coat.

The fabric I’ve got is some lovely electric blue and black wool I bought from Barry’s fabrics at Sew Brum. I don’t have any lining fabric yet – I want it to be the electric blue colour but I haven’t found anything I like so far. I also don’t really know what kind of fabric would work well as a coat lining – I don’t want to use that cheap acetate lining fabric. Any ideas of a good coat lining, I would be greatly appreciative!

I think this is the least I’ve ever planned for one month, but I want to take my time with the coat so it’s something I can wear for a long time and in cold weather – I might try to underline it with thinsulate or fleece or something. Again any tips gratefully received!

 

 

Snuggly Grey Chestnut Sweater

After I made the mini Chestnuts for my friend’s daughter, I couldn’t wait to make my own version! And it did not disappoint!

Obviously most of the interest of this pattern is on the back – I love the little cut out of this version. I also like the version that completely undoes at the back, but I think the weather might need to be a bit warmer to wear that version!

I made the size 10, based on my measurements, and I’m pretty pleased with the fit – the arms fit particularly well. I might lengthen it a bit next time, though. Although I like the slightly cropped look – I have a long body compared to my legs so I think that’s why it looks a bit cropped on me – I think it could do with being a couple of inches longer so I don’t flash midriff/my top I’m wearing underneath! It’s too cold for baring skin at the moment.

The main fabric is some lovely thick fleece backed sweatshirting from Sew Me Sunshine. She still has some of this fabric left in stock, and it’s on sale, so I would definitely recommend snapping some up while she has it!

The bow at the back is made from a scrap of cotton I had left from lining my Freemantle coat – I couldn’t find any nice mustard yellow ribbon from my local sewing shop.

I used my regular sewing machine to stitch this up because my overlocker did not like sewing through fabric this thick! Luckily this fabric doesn’t fray, but it means it doesn’t look quite as nice on the inside as most of my makes since I started using my overlocker. I also used my twin needle to topstitch the neckline, cuffs and hem band. It really does sew up quite quickly – the most time consuming part is the facing and attaching the ribbon on the back.

I basically wore this as soon as it was finished, and I’ve worn it a few times since! We have dress down Friday every week at work and I’m trying not to wear it every time as people might start to judge me!

 

Today’s outtake is particularly excellent I think!

I was taking these photos myself with the timer on my camera so I was having to walk back and forth between the camera and my spot (I definitely should have bought a camera with the facility for a remote!) and I walked backwards a little hard and slammed into the bookcase, making it wobble alarmingly. I thought the piles of stuff on the top were going to fall on me and the guitars stacked next to the shelf, but luckily they didn’t. But this is my face as I tried to catch the bookcase and make sure it didn’t fall over! Lol!

In other news, I was going to go outside and take them but it pissed down with rain the whole weekend I had earmarked for taking photos. Boo.

All I want to sew at the moment is snuggly warm clothes. I’m definitely ready for Spring! How about you?

 

 

White Archer Shirt

I made another Archer! I’ve made 2 before and I wear them pretty often – the flowery one for some reason feels more work-appropriate and the spotty one seems more casual, though I don’t really know why!

I feel like there probably isn’t too much to say about the Archer, now this is the third time I’ve made it. I made the size 4, as I have before, but this time I took 2.5cm off the shoulder pattern pieces to raise up the sleeves a little and make the shoulder seam sit more on my actual shoulders. The fabric is from The Great British Sewing Bee Live, from a shop called Holland and Sherry and it’s got a really subtle herringbone pattern in it. And it’s nice and thick.

For some reason I made the vast majority of this shirt in November but when I mentioned it in my planning post, I hadn’t done the buttons and button holes. I did most of this back before Christmas (I can’t remember when exactly) but I forgot the cuff button holes and buttons, so it languished as a UFO for a couple of months until the weekend before last I finally had white thread in my machine and did the last 2 button holes.

I did wear this to work but I wore it with my suit refashion trousers and it definitely gave me school uniform vibes – my uniform was grey trousers, white shirt, royal blue and gold tie and a black blazer! I think if I wear it with other colours then it won’t be quite so bad. Everyone has a white shirt in their wardrobe and I never think they look like they’re wearing a school uniform.

I used the second cuff option on the pattern, with the corners ‘missing’ and I’m really glad I did.

Here’s a shameless close up of my topstitching, which I think it amongst the best I’ve ever done. Which is lucky because this fabric did not like being unpicked – there were pretty much permanent holes wherever the needle went in.

This is my sort-of-outtake from this photoshoot – I took a whole bunch of photos and then looked at them and thought I should really iron the shirt as it looked soooo wrinkley!

I’m definitely glad I now have a classic white shirt – a definite wardrobe staple! Also I’m wearing a navy blue vest top underneath (because I was already wearing it) and you can’t see it, so it’s great to know the fabric is pretty much thick enough not to show it!

 

 

Harry Potter Tote Bag

Just a quick one to share the second of 2 successful Christmas presents I made this year (both for my second Christmas with my friends in January). I say ‘successful’ because after making 4 skirts for my sister last Christmas (1, 2, 3, 4) I cut out another Grainline Moss skirt from the leftover red corduroy from the red Delphine skirt but I forgot that last year I sewed it with a reduced seam allowance, so it didn’t fit.

Anyway, back to the successful make…..my friends and I do secret santa each year (though we buy for 2 people and not just one) because one year there were probably around 8 of us (the number changes as partners change and 2 children have been born since the tradition started!) and so all of us buying for everyone else meant a slightly obscene number of presents. Plus we all fly up to Scotland each year now, so anything that reduced the baggage allowance has got to be a good thing! One of the people I drew was the girlfriend of one of the guys in our group, who I had not met yet (though she turned out to be lovely, so that’s good!) so I did what anyone would do in my situation – some facebook stalking!

I discovered that they had been to see a couple of musicals, they’ve travelled quite a bit and then I saw that they had been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and since I had, funnily enough, started re-reading all the books around the time I had to make a present I thought I would make a Harry Potter themed tote bag. Making things for someone you’ve never met is always going to be a bit of a gamble, but I thought a tote bag is always useful even if the design misses the mark.

I’m pretty sure I copied this design from something I saw on Etsy when I was looking for something to buy, before I’d had the thought to make something.

I used my own tutorial, which I wrote quite a long time ago now, for the dimensions of the pieces. I used french seams for strength and used medium weight calico from my local sewing shop. I used a narrow small stitch of zig zag to sew on the glasses and the scar – I looked for some felt in my stash but I didn’t have enough. I could probably have used some jersey, but I came across this cotton first and doubled it so it wouldn’t be see-through.

I reinforced the straps, as I have done with each previous tote I’ve made as I feel like one of the worst things would be for the straps to come off when someone was carrying some heavy shopping home!

This is a pretty quick post, really, as there isn’t much to say about a tote bag!

Have you ever made a present for someone you’ve not yet met? How did it go down? Did you find it as stressful as I did?!

p.s. I’m already on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I only read 2 books the whole of last year, so I’m close to doubling that in January!)