Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 Round-Up

I have enjoyed sewing and crafting loads this year. It has been a welcome break to work and now the house renovations have eased up somewhat I have had the opportunity to get creative.

My top instagram images show a decent range of me-made-makes:

A summary of my makes are (not all blogged):
  • McCall's M6696 shirtdress in Liberty corduroy
  • Sew Over It 1960's coat in cashmere and wool mix herringbone
  • Simplicity 1364 top in Liberty Tana Lawn - stash
  • Colette Laurel top in cotton - stash
  • Colette Sorbetto top in cotton - stash
  • Liesl & Co Everday skirt in John Lewis viscose - stash
  • Dolores Pocket skirt in re-fashioned cotton fabric - vintage
  • Marilla Walker's Isley skirt in Robert Kaufman linen - stash
  • Dixie DIY Bonnell dress in cotton - stash
  • Charity shop re-fashions (dress to top & maxi skirt to midi skirt)
  • Self-drafted skirt with pockets - stash
  • Sew Over It Ultimate shirt in Liberty Tana Lawn - stash
  • Two applique Creeper Face cushions - stash
  • Re-fashion men's cotton shirt to Liesl & Co skirt
  • Tilly and the Buttons Bettine dress in gingham - stash
  • Tilly and the Buttons Fifi camisole and shorts in cotton - gifted cotton from Hong Kong
  • Ten Marimekko cushions - stash
  • Patchwork Baby Quilt
  • Sew Over It Francine jacket - stash
  • Two applique Christmas stockings
  • Grainline Scout tee in GirlCharlee UK knit - SewBrum winnings
  • Named Alpi Chinos shorts (still not finished)
  • Burda Style 7123 trousers (still need hemming and crotch fitting issues resolved)
The pie chart indicates the volume of makes by type. My need to decorate my home after the house renovation with lots and lots of cushions has slightly skewed the results a tad! 
Well, I'm pretty happy with the volume of makes. It averaged out to over two makes per month.
Not bad at all.
I have learnt lots of new skills including sewing; a fully lined coat and jacket, a t-shirt in knit fabric, a camisole and my first patchwork baby quilt.

My loose sewing plans for 2016 are:
  • To sew a pair of trousers that fit - I don't mind what pattern at this moment
  • To learn how to do bound button-holes - and then make a jacket using the technique
  • Make more items using knit fabric - a Grainline Linden sweatshirt / Colette Mabel & Moneta / Tilly and the Buttons Agnes & Coco / Named Geneva Raglan tee & Sloane sweatshirt
  • Make a summer dressing gown with The Buchanan pattern by Gather (using only stash fabric)
  • To use more of my stash patterns (a lot mentioned above)
  • Use more stash fabric than I purchase!
That's about it for now I think - that is plenty to be getting on with!

How about you? Have you got any plans for 2016?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Grainline Scout tee in Knit!

Yeah! This is my first ever successful knit garment and I am now beginning to wonder why I was so worried about sewing with jersey fabric. I can only put my nervousness down to some not-so-fun experiences 'trying' to make garments with knit fabric in the 1990's.

Back to my new top. The success is down to the lovely Girl Charlee UK fabric which I won in the raffle at Sewbrum in October and secondly down to the great TNT pattern that is the Scout tee from Grainline. If you are familiar with Jen's Grainline patterns this simple tee shirt is originally designed for woven fabrics but I cut it out in the knit and sewed it with a generous seam allowance.

So how did I overcome my aversion to knit? Every month I attend the Freestyle session at Ray Stitch and the lovely tutor Moyna gave me a few easy pointers about how to sew knit with confidence:
  1. Use a ballpoint needle
  2. Use a small zig-zag (setting 2)
  3. Use a 2.5 stitch length
After experimenting with scraps of fabric I realised I had to just dive in. In terms of construction as this was my sixth Scout tee I knew what I was doing. As I was sewing with a knit I chose to sew the sleeves flat.

I free-styled the length of the sleeves and also added a cuff to finish the hems. I also widened the self-bias neck binding so it created a deeper cuff. I top-stitched using a zig-zag (I'm not 100% happy with). Overall I love it!

Have you ever overcome a sewing nemesis?

I have not hemmed it because I haven't decided on the length yet

The neckline with a deeper cuff and top-stitched with a small zig-zag stitch
The sleeve cuffs - I managed to aline with the sleeve seam perfectly - what a fluke!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Sew Over It Francine Jacket

In October I booked a place on the Sew Over it Francine Jacket course with some fellow sewing friends, Caroline F, Kate and Valentina who I have met on previous SOI courses. I have been quite busy with work and other fun stuff and only just got around to blogging the journey of the Francine.
She is quite a complex lady with lots of interesting details to keep a more advanced sewer on their toes. You complete the jacket over three evening sessions with quite a chunk of homework in-between (in particular after week one). I was very happy to be taught by the lovely Julie Johnston again - this is one super talented teacher!

What new things did I learn? Quite a few things........

  • My first major plaid matching - wow, it takes a looooong time!
  • Full lining of a jacket using a technique that requires only hand-stitching a small section around the base of the inside
  • Interesting sleeve head & shoulder pad insertion
  • Great rolled collar technique
  • Self-covered buttons
The journey in pictures; from the fabric selection to the final jacket. Enjoy!

Glad you are still here!
This has been my most complex make to date.
I found it fun, challenging and stressful in equal measure. I am really pleased with my final jacket but definitely need a few quick sews after this intensive project.
The fabric came entirely from my stash which I am pretty darn happy about. The outer is a Cashmere and wool mix fabric that I picked up on a whim last summer from Shakut in Kensington for £24. I had just enough for this jacket. The lining was left over from my SOI Tulip skirts (as can be seen in this post).

After hours of cutting single layers of jacket pieces I was really fed up with plaid matching and was inspired to cut the collar from a beautiful 1/4 metre piece of 100% charcoal cashmere that my Dad gave me about 20 years ago (it was from his work where they used to weave beautiful scarves for companies like Burberry). The piece was just big enough for this collar and I am really pleased with the finish. Due to the nap of the cashmere I had to change the pattern piece and cut it in two sections so I could keep the nap even on each side of the collar.

All in all a very satisfying project.
What have you been up to in the lead up to Christmas?