Striped Ebony Top

Before I altered my 2 ebony dresses, I made this top version (and it’s what gave me the idea to cut the dresses into tops) and I really like it. I like the swingy shape!

I made this top 5″ longer than the cropped version of the top (and this is the measurement I based the dresses on) because I felt that the cropped version was just a bit too cropped for my long body – and I’m naturally freezing all the time so I don’t like bare skin, or a top that when I put my arms in the air almost exposes my bra! I also made it in the size 4, but with size 6 sleeves, as I did on the second dress version because the sleeves were a bit tight.

This fabric is much more stretchy than the scuba I used for the dresses, so the sleeves don’t feel as restrictive, thankfully. I think if I made this pattern again I might size up a size on the whole thing and maybe go to a size 8 on the sleeves as I’ve got some drag lines coming from my armpits – so I think it’s a bit too snug around my arms/shoulders. But it’s fine as it is – totally wearable.

The fabric is from Crafty Sew and Sew and I bought it the day after the Dressmaker’s Ball when a bunch of us went to the shop. To be honest I’ve sewn it up much quicker than I thought – sometimes I take years to use fabric I’ve bought! And it was actually their suggestion to make an ebony top – I posted on Instagram asking what I could make from it and I had totally forgotten about this pattern! Excellent suggestion!

I did match the stripes on the side seams, and I kind of like how, because of the round shape of the front and back pieces, it kind of makes the strips go into points.

I hope that this will get at least some wear during the cold months (maybe with a thermal top underneath!) as it would be a shame to not be able to wear it for, like, 6 months!

Have you ever completely forgotten about a pattern and then been reminded of why you bought it and how much you like it?

Hawaiian Style Kalle Shirt

I know I’ve probably said this countless times before, but this is for sure one of my favourite makes!

The fabric is from Sister Mintaka – she was talking on her stories about whether or not to stock this fabric and I said words to the effect of ‘OMG you have to so I can make a Hawaiian style shirt!’. And luckily she did decide to order it so I snapped up a couple of metres of it.

The pattern is the Kalle shirt from Closet Case Patterns. I made a cropped version last year and I absolutely love it but for some reason I hadn’t got around to making any others until this Summer (I do have 2 or 3 more cut out and ready to sew too).

I made the size 6, as I did last time and I used the cropped version as a starting point, but lengthened the front to be basically the same length as the back and I gave both the front and back a straight hem rather than the curved one on the original.

I still love the huge pleat in the back of this pattern!

I spent way longer than I would like to admit making sure that the pattern matched across the front and I messed it up a bit! I don’t know how, but my calculations were slightly off so the button band is twice as wide as it should be to make it match as I didn’t have enough fabric left to recut one of the fronts, which I think I would have had to do to get it to match properly. This is definitely the most complicated pattern matching I’ve every tried – stripes are usually my limit! But it was an interesting challenge.

The best part of pattern matching I did (IMHO 😂) is the invisible pocket – can you spot it in the photo above?

Ta da!

Because of the button band fuckery the collar doesn’t sit quite right, but I don’t think it’s really noticeable to anyone else as long as I don’t do it up right to the top.

I love the buttons too – they were from my local sewing shop and I think they work quite well. I thought about doing the hidden placket version, but I thought pattern matching across the front would have been impossible if I had tried!

I’m quite sad now that the weather has turned cold because I probably won’t get much wear out of this until next Summer. I did manage to wear it a few times over the Summer (I made it in August 😳) and I got quite a few compliments – and my favourite, someone asking where I got it from and me being able to say ‘I made it’ while feeling pretty smug that it means I have a one-of-a-kind garment!

I’ll leave you with some outtakes – even with a remote and taking the photos myself I still end up with some gems!

This is my resting face – I don’t know if I look really pissed off or really sad – probably a combination of both!

And…..just……wtf!

Scrap Busting Pouf

In September New Craft House ran an Instagram challenge called Sew Yourself Sustainable and I joined in with some of the days (I’m terrible at joining in for a whole month for these kinds of challenges) and I pledged that I would make a Pouf out of some scraps and I actually did it! ZOMG!

These are the fabrics I used, piled on top of one of 2 bin bags full of scraps I’d been hoarding for ages! The blue and gold check was from this skirt refashion into a top which I never really wore because I shrank it in the wash (much sad). The gold denim was leftover from my first mustard cleo, the navy twill was left over from this skirt I made years and years ago, and the blue and black fabric on the right is from my coat.

The pattern is this free one from Closet Case Patterns. I cut out all my top pieces, and the side pieces – there wasn’t quite enough of some of the fabrics to make the sides completely match with the top, but both top and sides follow a pattern rather than being random. As instructed in the pattern, I overlocked all the edges of the pieces before I started sewing them together.

I failed to really take any more progress pictures, but I left off the optional piping and the bottom is completely made of the navy twill as I had the most of that left. I also put a zip from my stash in the bottom so I could stuff the pouf and then zip it closed. I didn’t (yet) make the bag for inside the pouf to hold all the scraps as I wasn’t sure I would need it to be washable, and so far it’s okay, but I could always make a bag some time in the future.

Yay! It has made a real difference to mine and my partner’s comfort while sitting on our sofa – as you can see our tv snug is quite small and we only have a 2 seater sofa so there’s not really anywhere to stretch out……until now!

Be warned, by the way (as I think Closet Case have mentioned) this takes A LOT of scraps to fill up. I had 2 full bin bags full of various scraps and I used all of them! And I think it could even hold more, as the scraps have settled and compressed a little.

These photos weren’t staged at all! 😆

I do love this and it really took an afternoon to cut out (and decide which fabrics were going where) and to sew it! I would definitely recommend doing this if you’ve got tonnes of scraps lying around. I feel like this could also double as a spare seat (almost) if we ever have more than the 2 of us watching tv!

I’m so pleased the New Craft House challenge finally prompted me to make this project – I always put of things like this and I don’t know why. They’re always much quicker than I think and the pay off is totally worth it!

 

Alter It August-ish

Back in August there was an Instagram challenge (I can’t remember who ran it, sorry!) to alter the homemade items languishing in our wardrobes so they all could get a new lease of life.

I thought I would do a little round-up of the things I altered – I didn’t realise it would take me this long to get around to it, but oh well.  I’ve also altered a couple of things since August so I’ll share them too!

The first change was a super easy one – these are my Mercury Trousers before:

You probably can’t really tell what was wrong with these, but basically the elastic in the waste band wasn’t tight enough so the trousers just didn’t feel secure, so I never wore them.

It was such a stupidly simple alteration, I should have done it ages ago, but at least it’s done now, and I did them in time to wear them during the Summer quite a bit.

Another easy alteration, and basically the same one as for the Mercury Trousers was to take in the waste of my Portobello Trousers:

You can kind of tell in the before photo, above, that the waist has a bit of ease, but this was made worse by my previous job working in an upholstery fabric shop, which involved lifting 20kg rolls of fabric all day every day, so I ended up losing an inch from my waist and hips (so most of my trousers are now too big).

Again, this took, like 10 minutes and meant that I had another great pair of trousers to wear in the warmer months.

A slightly more involved alteration was this coco top that I made a couple of years ago and basically never wore because the neckline ended up really stretched out and I think the fit looked funny in such a lightweight fabric – also I have a long torso and this top just emphasised that!

So I chopped 9cm off the bottom of the top, leaving a 1cm hem allowance. I used this offcut to make a neckband, which I made 6cm shorter than the unpicked neckline, which turned out to be a good guess! The neckband was 1.5cm wide (I wrote myself notes and I don’t know if this means it was 1.5cm once folded in half or not – I think when folded in half.)

This alteration took maybe half an hour and I ended up wearing the top loads in the warmer weather – and there are some blues in the pattern which perfectly match the portbello trousers, win win! A whole new outfit with very little effort!

And now onto the items I’ve refashioned/altered since the end of Alter It August. I was looking at my wardrobe, and realised I almost never wear any of my dresses – especially now I work in a bookshop, I would feel very overdressed compared with how most people dress. I love the 2 scuba ebony dresses I made (blue, gold) – well I loved the fabric – but I realised I would get much more wear out of them as tops, so I spent a couple of hours measuring them to the length of the top version of the ebony, cutting the skirt off and hemming them into tops.

I’ve already worn both of them twice, so I definitely made the right decision!


The last item I’ve recently refashioned/altered is my chestnut sweatshirt. I know the lovely main feature of this pattern is the tie detail in the back, but I made a bad choice of fabric for my ties – I used a cotton, and not a jersey. I also always felt a bit cold in it, even though the fabric is a really thick sweat shirting, because of the gap in the back.

So I unpicked the back facing, removing the ties and cut a semi-circle to fill the gap, stitching it in place and restitching the hem on the neckline.

The piece I cut maybe makes me look a little like I have a hump, but I much prefer the filled in back and I think I’ll get lots of wear from this sweatshirt now it’s pretty cold again in the UK.

So here is my little collection of refashioned me-mades and I’ve got several new items to add into regular rotation in my wardrobe.

Do you ever alter things once they’re finished? Or do you, like me, tend to move onto the next new pattern instead of making a tiny change to an already finished make?

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.