Blue Spotty Archer Button Up

I made a shirt! With a collar and cuffs and sleeve plackets and a yoke and pockets and everything! Can you tell I’m pleased with myself!?

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This is, of course, the Grainline Archer Button Up Shirt. I bought the pattern a while back from Raystitch and the fabric at (are you getting sick of this yet) Rolls and Rems. It’s a nice soft cotton, and it’s spotty, though you can’t really tell! I bought it in this shade and in navy blue. I intended it for something else when I first bought it (I can’t remember what that was now), but then I thought it would be perfect for my first Archer.

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I can definitely see more Archers in my future! It’s still fairly casual to wear a button down with skinny jeans, but it can easily be dressed up to look a bit smarter for work. I don’t own a plain white shirt, so I think a white one will be next. And then maybe some in plaid for weekends – I (uncharacteristically) popped into New Look today and they had a bunch of quite nice plaid and stripey shirts, so I now feel inspired to make about 10!

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I had never sewn any of the special things that make a shirt a shirt – namely the collar, cuffs and sleeve plackets. All I can say is thank god for the sewalong! I’m sure the next time I make this the instructions included with the pattern will be sufficient, but some of the parts definitely needed more explanation the first time.

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I made the straight size 4 and am pretty happy with the fit. It’s a bit gapey at the back, as everything is, so I think I may finally actually tackle a swayback adjustment the next time I make it to try to make it pool a bit less than this one does, though it doesn’t bother me particularly. But part of the point of making your own clothes is to make ones that fit you perfectly, so I should really fit it a bit.

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I wonder if the pockets are a little big on me – what do you think? I wonder if making them a little less long might make them look more in proportion?

This was meant to be a close-up of the details on the back and my amazingly neat top-stitching, but The Boyfriend didn’t really under stand. But at least here you can see that the fabric is spotty! It also does look a bit wide on me across the shoulders at the back, boo!

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The only other change I might make would be to slightly shorten the sleeves as they are a little long on me. I think I’ll wear them rolled up most of the time – I tend to wear all my sleeves rolled up most of the time – but it would be nice for them to be a little shorter for wearing under jumpers.

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Apparently this is the way to demonstrate that the sleeves are too long…….

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Also, I thought you might enjoy this outtake photo – it’s fairly subtle but I definitely look a bit drunk or something!

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Have you made the Archer? If not, are you tempted to give it a go? I found I really enjoyed working steadily through all the new techniques and details like top-stitching. I tried to enjoy the process of making it instead of racing for the finish line, as I sometimes do (and then I get frustrated because things always take longer to make than I think!). I made this in little chunks over 3 different weekends, having cut it out the weekend before I started it, which is pretty slow for me. Do you enjoy the process or focus on the finished product?

Pink Pencil Skirt

This is going to be a pretty short post I think – what can one say about a pencil skirt? Apart from ‘I really should have ironed it before I took these pictures’?! This is my last make of 2015 btw, I made it between Christmas and New Year, having cut it out a couple of months ago.

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This is the pencil skirt pattern from the second Great British Sewing Bee Book. I loved the pink spotty fabric they used, and decided to make a pink skirt myself – albeit a different shade of pink!

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The fabric I used was from my stash and was given to me by my friend Fran. The zip, thread and interfacing were from my stash and I got the book for free during my days of bookselling, so this is about the thriftiest make ever!

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I didn’t make any changes and made the size 10. I love the double darts on the front – which you can’t really see on my skirt because of all the wrinkles!

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I’ve really run out of things to say about this skirt now, so here’s another picture…..

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I’m thinking I need some other colours to wear it with, but grey seems to work okay. I think it might look weird with black tights, but I could be wrong. Any thoughts?

Aztec Print Linden

I made my first Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt! I say ‘my first’ because I’m definitely going to be making more! I feel like this could be a smart enough pattern to wear for work, depending on the fabric you use. And obviously it’s a great casual, slobbing around the house, kind of pattern.

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I made the straight size 2, view A, which has the cuffs and hem band – and long sleeves, obvs. This was a really easy pattern to put together and only took a couple of hours, really, once I’d figured out how to attach the neck band, cuffs and hem band. And especially when I realised I was meant to cut 2 hem bands, on the fold and not just one – I did have a few minutes of ‘well how is this going to fit around my hips’ before I realised my mistake!

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I didn’t make any fitting changes and, as you can see above. there is quite a bit of excess fabric on the back, especially in my lower back. I pretty much always find this and since it’s a loose pattern, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I do really need to learn how to fix this, though, for future, more fitted patterns.

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There also seems to be something weird going on around the armpit area – does anyone know why this is? I’ve found on previous patterns that I need extra room there sometimes, but I’m not sure if that’s the case here, as it’s such a slouchy pattern.

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The fabric was another ‘remnant’ from my beloved Rolls and Rems at Holloway Road. Their remnant bin has long lengths of one-offs and not just the end of rolls of stuff they sell by the metre, so you can often pick up some interesting stuff for not much money. This must have been about 3 metres and it was only £9.99. I love the aztec-y print, and check out my pattern matching at the side seam:

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You can barely see the seam, I’m super proud. You can’t really see where the cuffs are either, though it messes up the pattern slightly, but you can’t tell. I also like how the neck band is one row of the zig zags.

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The only downside of this sweatshirt is that the fabric isn’t quite as warm as I thought it would be. I definitely want to try this in a proper, thick, sweatshirt fabric and also to experiment with colour blocking – I’m always a bit afraid that colour-blocking will go horribly wrong and I’ll choose 2 things that definitely do not go together! I think I’ll try stealing from a ready to wear top like I did for my Refashioners Dear Creatures rip off!

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Have you made the Linden Sweatshirt? Has it become one you’ve made over and over again?

OMG, I made (or, more accurately, re-made) a coat!

I actually made a coat! And I love, love, love it! I know I say every one of my makes is my new favourite, but I think this might remain my favourite for quite a while!

Fara-coat-20As you may be able to tell, the pattern is the Marilla Walker Freemantle coat. I cut out the size 2 and made view A.

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This was actually a refashion of the old coat I bought from the Fara Workshop. Remember it?

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I just googled ‘Brian Tucker Dublin’ and according to The Irish Times, he was “a leading figure in the Irish clothing industry, affectionately known as “the blazer king” in the early l970s for a jacket that became his trademark. With a reputation for skilled cutting and for good fit, the Tucker label became synonymous with well-made coats, suits and raincoats, women’s outwear staples that were sold all over the country.” So I guess this was a fashionable, quality coat back in its day.

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My original plan was to remove the faux fur cuffs, which it turned out were added by hand by the previous owner – you can see the stitches below.

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This may have been a way to cover up some of the holes in the lining, of which there were many!

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My original plan was to just replace the lining, using the old one as  a pattern, and then to use the Freemantle pattern as a basis for the shape of the new coat, to make it a cocoon-type shape. But then it turned out it was easier to just make the whole coat, cutting up the shell of the coat and making a new lining. It took a bit of squeezing to get the pattern pieces to fit, but I realised they would, as long as I made the length in between the short jacket length and the long coat length, cutting off 16cm from the view A length.

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I unpicked all the seams at the neck, took off the sleeves and unpicked the original facings as I needed that extra width to fit on the pattern pieces. This did mean that I didn’t have enough fabric to make the new facings for the coat, which was a bit of a shame, but both the shell fabric and the new lining fabric I bought are easy to iron so the lining doesn’t peek out too much – nowhere near as much as it does on my black Victoria blazer anyway!

As you may have seen from my post about the Knitting and Stitching Show, this is the fabric I bought for the new lining:

P1040244The pattern calls for an underlining and not a lining, but the way I had to piece the original coat meant I had lots of extra seams that would have needed bias binding attaching, and I’m lazy, so Idecided to make a full lining instead. This is what the coat looks like inside out – I might be tempted to wear it this way around sometimes if the outer fabric wasn’t so itchy!

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And here is the obligatory ‘flasher’ shot!

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I used this tutorial on Grainline to bag out the lining – I got stuck on how the sleeve linings would be attached to the cuffs, but this post makes it perfectly clear!

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As a couple of other people have mentioned, one of the great details of this coat is the underarm gussets. It took me 2 days of getting increasingly more annoyed to work out how to construct these…..because I had sewn something wrong! I often cut some corners when I’m sewing, to get the thing finished as quickly as possible – so I can get to wear whatever it is as soon as possible. I therefore skipped the tailor tacks on the pattern – I didn’t even draw them on with chalk. This was a mistake!

I had the pattern pieces out for reference when constructing the sleeves, but when I sewed the back of the sleeve to the back of the coat, I sewed it too far so then couldn’t work out where the gusset should fit. I unpicked so many of the seams to try to work out what I’d done….except the one I needed to unpick! You know the phrase ‘a stitch in time saves nine’? Well I have a new one: ‘a tailor tack in time saves 2 days of getting annoyed and not being able to understand the instructions’. I think it’ll catch on!

Now I’m going to post loads of photos – sorry, not sorry – because I’m proud of how this turned out!

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There’s an extra seam on the back because there was a seam on the original coat down the centre back.

 

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I had to piece the sleeves slightly as the original sleeves weren’t wide enough or long enough – so there’s a little extra sort of cuff at the bottom of the sleeves.

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If you follow me on instagram, you’ll also know how proud I am of the welt pockets – I’d never made them before, but following the instructions in the pattern, they worked perfectly! And there’s a little flash of yellow from the lining inside them.

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I used 2 poppers to fasten the coat, and the sewed buttons on the top – it looks a bit puckered in the photos, but it doesn’t sit like that in real life.

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I’m glad Marilla Walker put the pattern back in sale as I really like the shape, and think it would be flattering on lots of people in lots of different colours. Are you planning to make a coat this Winter? What patterns do you like for coats and jackets?

Tilly and the Buttons Mimi Blouse

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Tilly and the Buttons‘ book Love At First Stitch for free from a publisher at my old job. I also was lucky enough to go to the launch at Drink, Make, Do waaaay back in May I think. I like quite a lot of the patterns in the book, as I mentioned in my review, and I decided quite a while ago that the first pattern I would be the Mimi Blouse.

Love-At-First-Stitch-7I did make my blouse quite soon after getting the book, but have only just got around to writing up the make!

Mimi-Blouse-1I made the size 1 and accidentally traced the wrong size of the yoke, so couldn’t get the pattern to go together and tried for ages to work out why it didn’t work, until I finally figured out I’d cut out the wrong size! Duh! Rookie error.

The fabric is yet another ‘remnant’ that I got some Rolls and Rems in Holloway Road. I’m not sure what the fabric is, but it’s got a quite nice drape but is quite thin. It also marks super easily, and any pin marks seemed to be pretty permanent, so I made sure all my pins were inside the seam allowance. I love, love, love this fabric – it reminds me of Orla Kiely, who I love! Also, this was quite a big length, so this is not the last time you’ll see this on my blog!

Mimi-Blouse-3I made one or two little changes. One was to use calico instead of interfacing, as I didn’t have any interfacing in my stash. I thought this would be fine – and it may have been if i had already pre-washed the calico, which I didn’t bother to do as I generally use the calico for muslins or other makes which aren’t going to be washed. As soon as I washed the blouse, the calico shrunk and make the front of the blouse a bit puckered and wrinkled, which is a shame. But I’ve learned my lesson – I won’t substitute interfacing again in the future! You can see in the below photo the front doesn’t sit flat and the collar is a bit odd. I might try to unpick some of the seams and take out the calico. Any tips on how to do this without having to completely unpick and re-make the blouse?

Mimi-Blouse-4The buttons were in my stash and came off my parrot shirt refashion. I think they go a lot better here than they did on the shirt!

The other change I made involved the sleeves. As I mentioned with my stripey Colette Laurel dress, I seem to have bigger arms that the rest of me would dictate in sewing pattern sizing. I made the size 1 sleeves, with the pleats and cuffs/facing…….and couldn’t get them on. So I traced off the size 2 and made the sleeves again…….and still couldn’t get them on! Not sure what is up with my arms – maybe they are really freakishly fat?! I don’t care if that is the case, it’s just mildly irritating to have to redraft sleeves. I decided to leave it as the size 2 and leave off the pleat and cuff/facing, so I just have plain sleeves, which I hemmed with a small hem.

Mimi-Blouse-5I also took 4cm off the length and then did a hem of 2cm folded up twice. I’m not really sure why I took it up so much – it did end up quite short. If I make this again, I would just do a normal hem and leave it with a bit more length.

I do still like this pattern and the fabric, in spite of all the errors on my part and changing the sleeves, I really like the collar and the gathers on the shoulders – there are some unique design elements, which make this pattern interesting.

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