2 Pink Mini Chestnut Tops

I didn’t end up making any Christmas presents for actual Christmas, but my uni friends and I always get together in January for ‘Christmas 2’ (which I originally suggested when I knitted 2 cushions for my 2 best friends and I knew I wouldn’t get them finished in time so I suggested meeting up in January to give myself a couple of extra weeks!) and then CocoWawa Crafts released the Mini Chestnut pattern. I had already bought the adult version for myself and then thought the mini version would be perfect for my friend’s daughter (who I’ve made things for before, including the Norman wall hanging, felt allotment, travel matching game, and I knitted a baby cardigan when she was first born) who is now 6!! I checked with her mum, my friend, and she said she would probably like it and that her favourite colours are pink, teal and turquoise.

I got this lovely pink speckled jersey from Sew Me Sunshine. I ordered 1.5m because the pattern said 1.2m but I assume this is for the biggest size – I made the age 7 size (based on my friend’s recommendation of how big her daughter is) and I made 2 easily out of the 1.5m of fabric. The fabric was a little thinner than I thought but she can easily layer up the top with a cardigan over the top (which she did on Sunday) and it means she can still wear them when it’s a bit warmer.

I bought 2 colours of ribbon from my local fabric shop – in a matching pink and a contrasting teal. The teal picks up the colour of some of the specks in the jersey and I think it looks really nice.

I used my normal sewing machine to stitch the seams and then overlocked everything (except the cuffs as they were too small and I didn’t want to shred the sleeves at the last moment! I also didn’t overlock around the edge of the facing on the back as the overlocker did not like a single layer of this fabric! I’m glad I tested it on a scrap of fabric before putting the actual pieces through! I zig-zagged the raw edge, though it wasn’t totally necessary as jersey doesn’t fray.

I used some off-cuts from the ribbon to stabilise the shoulder seams, which is an optional step in the instructions. I thought it would help the tops last as long as possible (hopefully until she grows out of them rather than they fall apart).

I used my twin needle to top-stitch all the bits that needed topstitching – the facing on the back (which I also understitched), the hem band and the cuffs. I love how a twin needle makes things look really professional – as does the overlocking I think, even if the tension is still not quite right.

   

Making these tops was really fun – because the clothes are small, they’re quick to make up and making 2 at the same time definitely saved some time! I had hoped to have mine made in time for Christmas 2 so we could match, but I didn’t get chance to make mine yet. It’s going to hopefully be my first make for myself of 2018. I’ve got some really lovely thick sweatshirting all cut out ready and I could definitely do with a warm top/jumper at the moment as it’s pretty cold in our flat!

 

 

Selfless Sewing: Denim Moss Skirt for my Sister

I finally made the final skirt my sister asked for for Christmas a couple of weeks ago, yay! (Though I’ve got another one yet to blog) I decided to model it myself for some photos before sending it in the post. It is, of course, the Grainline Studio Moss Skirt.

denim-moss-skirt-1I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with this make. I like a simple skirt that has a front, a back and a waistband, but it was nice to make something a bit more complicated. And it has pockets!

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This was my first time sewing a fly, and I have to say it wasn’t as scary or as difficult as I thought it would be! The instructions for this pattern were really clear and easy to follow for the fly front. The only thing I found, though, was that the fly shield on the inside (which covers the zip on the inside) seems to be on backwards as the zig-zagged/ overlocked edge is the edge that shows then the zip is undone and the folded side is hidden, but I feel like it should be the flipped over. I know Jen from Gingerella also found this problem – which made me more convinced it wasn’t my mistake! She talks about it in this video, in case you don’t understand what I’m talking about!

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One of the things I really like about this pattern is the yoke on the back. I decided to use jeans-type top-stitching to make the skirt look like a proper denim skirt, and to show up the design lines that wouldn’t otherwise be obvious, like the yoke.

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I made the skirt in a size 6, and as eagle-eyed readers may spot, it’s a long version but without the band that is on the pattern for the long version. Phoebe didn’t really like the way that looked, so I extended the length of the mini skirt version instead, but 6.25 inches, to make it hit just below the knee.

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I was actually quite sad to have to give this skirt away to be honest, but luckily there was enough left of the denim for me to cut out a version for myself! You can tell I like it, by how many photos I’ve taken! I particularly like it with this striped top which my old boss gave to me! You can’t beat breton-style tops and denim!

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For the topstitching I used gutterman topstitching thread, in that goldy colour which I associate with jeans. I lengthened the stitch length to 4 (instead of my standard 2.5) and used blue thread in the bobbin, as there isn’t much topstitching thread on each roll because it’s so thick. I did have to play around with the tension a bit, because of having 2 different thicknesses of thread.
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If you follow me on instagram, you’ll already have seen that I used a jeans button for the first time on this skirt – sorry for the blurry photo, though! I was a bit scared to put the button on, because you can’t really move them once they’re on! I made the button-hole first and then made sure it all sat flat and straight and then marked where the button should go. And it all worked out okay!

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Here are some closer shots showing the topstitching. There is supposed to be a bar tack at the bottom of the fly shape, which sort of worked, but not really. If anyone has any tips of how to do that, I’m all ears!

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I did double rows of stitching on the centre seams and on the yoke, because it seemed right. Because the waistband is quite narrow, though, I thought one row of stitching would look best. I ummed and ahhed about the hem, and whether to sew it in matching or topstitching thread, and I’m glad I went for topstitching thread as it looks right.

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I used some thinner fabric for the waistband facing and the pocket linings. I think this might be the first time I’ve used contrasting fabric in this way, and I love it! This fabric is actually from a dress which my friend gave me in a big pile of things before I left London. The little dark flowers might look black from afar, but they are actually navy blue, which nicely matches the shade of blue of the denim.

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The pattern is really well drafted, so there’s absolutely no way the pocket linings will poke out to the right side, but it’s nice to get a flash of the lining when you look inside the pockets!

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My sister very obligingly took a photo of herself wearing the skirt – unfortunately it’s kind of teeny! The skirt looks a little big on me, because it’s a size bigger than I will make for myself, but it looks pretty perfect on her! Phew!

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Once I make my own denim version of this, it might become my favourite skirt pattern! Made in a smarter fabric, without the topstitching, and with a normal button, I think it will look smart enough for work.

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Selfless Sewing: 2 Delphines for my sister

As I mentioned in my December planning post, my main task for that month was to make some skirts for my sister as she couldn’t really find any in shops that she liked, but she can’t wear a lot of the trousers she has because of her prosthetic leg. I managed to make 3 in time for Christmas and 2 of those were Tilly and the Buttons Delphines, from her book Love At First Stitch. I’ve made one of these for myself and was glad to have another go at the pattern.

The first one I made was from some lovely, soft red corduroy from Fabric Land – it’s so soft that it’s called buttersoft! I was worried the skirt might not hold its shape in such a drapey fabric, but it does, which is excellent. I made the skirts in a size 3 and lengthened them by 3 1/4 inches so it would hit just below her knee and cover the place where the prosthetic attaches onto her leg.

phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-2As well as lengthening them, I sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of a 1.5cm seam allowance as Phoebe’s waist measurement is 28 in which is exactly the finished measurement of the size 3 but I wanted to give her a little ease. You probably don’t know this unless you know someone who has had a leg amputated, but initially, although you get your permanent leg fairly early on, the way it attaches at first is around the waist, so Phoebe’s waist is a little bigger than it otherwise would be. I can always take in the waists if they end up too big once the leg is attached with suction – the reason for this change is that it can take up to 8-9 months for the residual limb to shrink down to its permanent shape and size – there is swelling and fluid retention to being with – and this shrinking happens faster once you have your prosthetic. So there’s a little lesson for you!

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The navy blue drill was also from Fabric Land. It was really hard to photograph, so I apologise for the blurriness of these photos! I think this fabric is a little more on the petrol end of navy blue – I guess navy blue isn’t a colour that’s always just one colour, it’s not black or white! Phoebe’s not so keen on this one, but I think it might be easier to wear it when the weather gets a little warmer as she will hopefully have things that go better with it. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world! It’s a quick pattern to make.

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The other change I made to the pattern was to use non-invisible zips because my sewing machine will not sew invisible zips. I think the bobbin is out of sync or something because when I put the invisible zip foot on, the needle always jams inside the bobbin case. Grrr. I should get it serviced really….. I can’t remember the last time I sewed a non-invisible zip (I kept persevering with the invisible zips, but sewing them with a normal zip foot) and I’d forgotten you need to sew the bottom part of the seam first and then put in the zip, and not the other way around as with invisible zips. So I had to unpick the first one a couple of times because I twigged!

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When I was home for Christmas, I got Phoebe to model the red skirt. It fitted really well and was the length she was after – win! It looks good with her apt Christmas jumper too! She wore it the whole of Christmas day (after she had opened the present) so hopefully that means it has the seal of approval!

I quite enjoyed doing some selfless sewing – maybe this is the solution for when I feel like I have too many clothes but still want to sew things? I could make clothes for other people!

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