Tuesday, 12 September 2017

True Bias Lander pant

Hi hi!

I just made a thing and had to blog it immediately because I'm so excited. The Lander pants pattern from True Bias came out over the weekend and I had some sewing time so the timing couldn't have been more perfect! The style is sooooo me and I have been checking out this cut in the shops for so long now. I am totally into the 70's/nautical vibe whatever the year and whatever else is "trending", so these are a worthy investment.

Because I knew I wanted to make this pattern work I was willing to put the hours in to making the appropriate adjustments. This fitted around the top type of trouser is never going to fit me straight out the envelope and certainly doesn't look great when I try RTW pairs on, but I made a toile to see how the original fit was working and straight away added more length into the rise. Once I had toiled with the added length, things were looking a lot better. 3 inches took the top of the trousers to my natural waist (minus the waistband), but my final adjustments were actually 3cm longer than the original pattern.

I wish I'd taken pictures of the toiles along the way, but you know how it goes and I was caught up in how I was going to make it work, but basically I needed a full tummy and thigh adjustment on the front trouser leg which meant adding some width in the front and extending the front crotch curve. The back was fun to do (I'm being serious) and I made a full calf adjustment because the trousers were getting caught on that area and took some length out of the back centre leg length because I had extra fabric under my bottom. Basically scooping out the back crotch sorted this with loads of shifting and pivoting of seam allowances. The below diagram shows the original pattern in pink and my new pattern pieces in black. Basically the crotch curve has an extreme slope from the front to back in order to fit my body. I really enjoyed this process of analysis and because I was on my own I just did one tiny tweak at a time.

The back calf adjustment looked like this...

Here are some scary pictures of me in leggings to show all my bumpy bits. Really sorry you can just see my pants through the fabric, but if you have a similar body to mine then maybe it will help you relate!

Probably some further tweaks could happen for future versions, but I'm pretty stoked! Certainly the waist needs some tweaks, because it is definitely too roomy, but I resolved that with some epaulette things in keeping with the overall look. Also a smidge more length out the centre of the back leg length and top of trouser wouldn't hurt. I don't know, maybe they are good enough. I shall wear these a lot as they are a brilliant match with my overall style.

I forgot to mention that I made these with a wool suiting fabric. I wanted a winter version that would fall nicely and this fabric was already in my stash. So pleased with the wool/pattern combo. Here are some close ups of the details to give you a better feel for the fabric. Can I just say, that I was so nervous about the button front fly. I thought I would feel self conscious drawing attention to my tummy, but it is definitely a new favourite finish. In love with this detail and it's so easy!

I lined the back pockets with some shirting from my husbands old shirt because I was working with wool. I really makes a nice finish and means the pockets won't stretch out.

Beautiful brass anchor buttons from Loop.

A hook and eye inside the waistband to help with any gaping.

The fly shield is faced with the shirting for comfort. I considered facing the waistband too, but I guess I got lazy. I also wish I had bound the seams, but the next wool pair I make will be all bells and whistles.

So that's been a whirlwind sewing romance and I really think this is a great pattern. I probably always say that about a pattern I try, but I mean it! I always expect to have to do adjustments on a trouser pattern, but I'm not always willing to put the time in if I don't feel the love right away. These were worth it for me. I shall wear these a load and see if anything particularly screams out to me as a tweak for future iterations. Love, love, love!!!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Floral maxi skirt

Hey hey, it's me again just one week since my last post!!!

This time I have made a skirt and it is self drafted, but dead easy.

I found this fabulous floral print cotton on ebay a few weeks ago and had to cut into it straight away. I bought 3 metres and used pretty much all of it in this skirt.

Ok, so it's self drafted so you can't have the pattern, but you can make one if you have a little experience with drafting or altering patterns! Just pop on over to the BHL website and use their awesome circle skirt app to get some waistband measurements and you're off!

I split mine into 7 panels (divide half circle into 8 panels and join 2 of these together for centre back panel) as per below.

Here it is all joined and laid out on the floor.

I created some pockets that get sewn in with the front side panels (which are a little too low unfortunately, oops!)...

and also a centre front button placket. How awesome are these buttons by the way? I have been ordering buttons from Textile Garden for some time now as Maggie has the most beautiful selection. I always seem to find the perfect match in her shop!

The skirt is so swishy and comfortable and I made the back waistband elasticated for some leeway when it comes to comfort and fit.

Not much else to say really. I French seamed everything for a quality finish and I am loving having a colourful floral print in my wardrobe.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Simple summer knit - windlass

Hello hello!!! 

I think this might be the first blog post of the year so far. How did that happen? (This is so wrong. Just checked and it's my third post...). I guess like everyone else I have been documenting my general craftiness on Instagram, but also I haven't been working on many personal makes. I have been feeling generally under the weather since Easter (although much better now) and also using any spare moments to work on new designs (yes they are coming) so have not had much to talk about, but I all of a sudden do have some garments I can actually share which is pretty exciting.

Today is a knitted garment as I am very successfully incorporating knitting into my daily life lately. It is making me so happy! I had a real hankering for some summer knits, so set about knitting with a soft and cool cotton/linen/silk blend yarn. It came on a cone (from ebay) and was a natural colour, but I hand dyed it this gorgeous blush pink. The pattern is a heavily modified windlass from Pom Pom mag, which caught my eye. I had intended to knit the lovely stitch pattern on the top of the bodice, but as I was knitting the body I just wanted to continue the plain design.

The length is cropped as per my mods with a level hem and shortened armscye. I also knit in the round as I was nervous about creating a beautiful side seam on such a plain garment.

I totally love it and I was completely happy with it, but then I had an idea which involved gold.

Yep, I printed some gold foil spots onto my hand knit that I spent hours making. Once the idea happened I couldn't not do it. No fear, just eager anticipation ;-) I ordered the foil and adhesive from here and simply painted on the adhesive and heat set the foil.

Ding, ding, ding!!! Over the moon happy!

The perfect earrings became mine (bought from independent maker Freya Alder) and were worn with this top last night. I do not subscribe to a konmari lifestyle, but I believe these things fit the bill nicely. My new top and jewellery fill me with nothing but joy and happiness.

I am now working on a second windlass tank in green which will hopefully be finished soon should the sun ever come back. See you again soon hopefully xxx

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Shoes for summer!

I have been thinking about warmer weather and my long lasting RTW sandals have finally bitten the dust! I normally eek out sandals for a fair few years by getting them re-soled etc, but alas their time was up! I do have other warm weather shoes, but just not a really good comfy flat pair.

I have not made any more shoes since my first and last pair here, but I have been thinking about it and forming ideas for construction during that time. I find that the time in between is really important for me to assess what I learnt from a task. What I did and didn't like and how I what lessons I would like to carry forward.

One of the things that has really struck me since my first pair is how I can fit this new skill into my life without it causing too much disruption. The tools and glue traditionally required for shoe making is not at all child friendly and seeing's as I'm with children for the majority of time I needed to find a way to make this more suitable. First off the glue! This is the worst bit, because although I know you can get friendlier less fumey glues the one I have is pretty noxious. I decided to be done with glue altogether as it seems too grim and I read somewhere that one of the reasons that shoes can't be easily recycled is because the components can't be separated easily. I am now using the power of the needle and thread and nails in it's place (with one tiny exception that I shall confess to later). I have also kept the tools as basic as possible and easy to store at my design/sewing space up high.

Another thing I find useful with many skills I've learnt is to research as much as possible about how to do things properly, try a few different methods out and then try and forget about what you've learnt in order to formulate a method that suits you and your style of working. Without going into the ins and outs of how I made each shoe, I basically adjusted my designs to suit my growing skills and constructed them in the easiest and most solid way I am personally capable of doing. I believe it took quite some time to figure out how I could achieve my end goal, but I am really happy with the results!

Here is the first pair I finished and these are my dino sandals ;-) The uppers and soles are all stitched together, which I was able to do easily by having the feature top 'spike' design. I sewed this seam last leaving the whole shoe open until the end. The stacked heels and rubber heel tip are nailed in place. The main shoe sole rubber is glued, which was the only bit I compromised on really. I hate that I did and I have since sourced some short shoe nails to be able to nail the sole in future. I have no idea how well these will hold up without glue, so the testing will be in the wearing, but they do feel pretty solid! The straight angles on the sole unit are an aesthetic I like, but are also much easier to cut satisfactorily neat, so serves a double purpose! The leather uppers are small pieces from a discontinued sample book (hence the non-matchiness) and the thick, whiter pieces of the sole and heel are some unknown leather scraps I bought off ebay. It is a large box of weird shaped offcuts that are probably of no use to anyone other than me! The yellow is not reclaimed in any way, but the thick leather is perfect for sturdy shoe parts and it is proving to be a great investment! The crepe rubber for the sole is from here.

The next pair I am making (not finished yet) are my favourite so far and definitely the most practical. All stitched so far and they will have a crepe sole nailed on at the end. The design is inspired by historical shoes with an unfussy fit and fastening. The back has been elasticated for a snug fit and the thick yellow leather from before is used as a heel counter. I am just finishing up the second one ready for the soles.

So that is me so far. Really enjoying my shoe journey and I am enjoying the breaks as well as the practice as this is a long term development of a skill. I can only really put my ideas into practice when I need or want a new pair of shoes, so it is fairly meditative in a way.

Anyway, that is all from me for now. Byeeeeeee x

Friday, 10 February 2017

Harriet bra

Hello hello!!!

I have not been doing any personal sewing for so long I have forgotten all about my blog, but I have broken my silence and been lured in by the brand spanking new and fabulous Harriet bra pattern by Cloth Habit. I love the Cloth Habit blog and it is one of those ones which I have read from start to finish as I didn't want to miss anything useful or inspiring, so when Amy released her latest pattern I bought it right away.

I have made two versions since and this pattern is probably the only bra pattern I ever need EVER. You may remember my experimentation with bra sewing and drafting over the summer which gave me loads of great experiences with construction and fit, well that has been super informative when beginning with this pattern. The bra block I drafted over this time is great to use as a comparison when selecting my size. I measured myself against the chart and came up as a 34C, but I often find bands a bit too snug from the patterns I've made up so I went for a 36B instead for my first Harriet.

The fit is good and after wearing it for the first half of the week is so comfortable I forget I'm wearing it, but it is probably not as snug as it could be. I needed some minor tweaks to the cups anyway, but I think the bra band is very true to size, so I could go smaller. I absolutely love this version though, so it will get regular wear and I may even move the hooks inwards slightly if it starts to feel too loose. All elastics were dyed by me using Dharma Trading acid dye in 'Radioactive'. In fact I followed Amy's advice for dyeing elastic here.

The second version I made is this silk satin one.

Taking into account what I learned about the fit from my first lace one I went with the same cup size with adjustments, the next size down bra band with the 36B centre bridge as I have a wide gap there. Oh the beauty of making your own bras and learning why RTW is never comfortable!!! I completely altered the style lines on this one to create a princess seam cup without the top section. I really like and prefer this cup, but I made the curve too pronounced at first and some dodgy alterations I made mid construction meant I had to hide the seams with this grosgrain trim. So annoying as I really just wanted a plain navy bra. It's really beautiful and comfortable though, so I can't be too unhappy with that! Again I dyed everything myself to co-ordinate and used a foam lining to give a smooth shape.

Note - The seam on the foam was nice and flat before dodgy alteration...

I feel like this pattern has been a breeze to get the fit spot on which I don't know if this is because of all the work I did over the summer or what, but I really think this is a top quality pattern. I didn't follow the instructions, but I shall be making this a few more times over the coming months so I have a decent  selection in my drawer. The bras I made over the summer are in a box in my sewing room and have been mainly good for teaching me about bra making. My bra block is great to have and again I learnt a lot from making it, but it is mainly good for helping me assess fit and I don't love it as much as I love the Harriet.

So there you go. Gushing over and if you want to try making an underwired bra then you could do worse than trying this pattern!

P.S. photographing lingerie is really hard...

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Wendy Ward - Culottes

Hi everyone, it is my turn on the blog tour for Wendy's wonderful new book 'A beginners guide to skirts'!

First of all I have been following along with Wendy's progress on this book from the beginning via the magic of Instagram so I was really looking forward to seeing the end product. You can tell as soon as you open the cover that a lot of attention to detail has been paid even down to aaaall the hand drawn illustrations so I was really happy once the book was released and I was offered the chance to review it!

The projects run through the book in order of difficulty, starting with a simple jersey tube skirt and ending with a gathered skirt with button front and pockets, but all look like they could be tackled by an advanced beginner from the offset. What I like about the projects is that they start with a fairly simple template, so my immediate instinct is to imagine what bold fabrics I could use or what pattern adaptions I could make. There is a lot of scope to make your own mark on these styles and as they stand they are really great wardrobe staples. My favourite being the Roehampton culottes I did make and the Rusholme midi A-line with pockets that I have yet to make.

The instructions themselves mainly reside in the back of the book where you are instructed to flick back to for things like inserting zips or making up pockets etc... There is a lot of detail here that could easily be used for projects outside of this book.

I made the knee length culottes in this linen look suiting supplied by Fabworks mill shop. I was trying not to get too excited about the prospect of free fabric and choose something that would slot into my wardrobe nicely and this has a really good heavy drape to it! I even managed to squeeze these out of 1.5 metres of fabric, but this was a risky strategy that I wouldn't advise...

The fit is spot on and the only change I made was to insert a centre back zip instead of in the side seam. I really, really love them! Ok, so that bubble at the top of the zip is annoying and also the waistband overlaps on top instead of underneath. The poppers hopefully make it look intentional, but all I can say is I was deeply distracted by the finale of 'The Fall' (creepy BBC series) whilst making up this area, which if you were watching it too you will understand why I was unable to fully concentrate!

Here we are demonstrating how wide they are!

I personally feel that this style works best in a soft drapey fabric, as they are lovely and swishy, but the book sample does show them in a heavier fabric for comparison.

Because of the plain fabric I had great fun finishing everything nicely with press studs and bias binding on the waistband. I also used a bias binding extension on the centre back seam where it forms the lap over the zip as the seam allowance needs to be wider to account for this (which it is as per the pattern on the side seam). This was only because of my deviation from the pattern, so you probably won't need to worry about that!

 So to sum up this is a great book in my opinion and a great basis for loads of different skirt/wide leg trouser options beyond those in the book!

The only thing that I was not such a fan of was the way the patterns are laid out on the sheets in the back. The leg of the trousers for example are split into a couple of pieces that you need to bring together in the tracing and the lines are all different colours which I found tricky as I was tracing a pale blue line which was difficult to see through my paper. If the publishers offered a link to download the pattern sheets to print at home I would definitely have gone for that and just cut them straight out (note to publishers). Anyway, just a small thing really to improve the user experience when locating the patterns.

Honestly though I really value having this in my collection and just picking it out of the shelf to write this post has filled me with joy and confidence in it's contents!

I hope you enjoyed reading my review and that it has provide you with a rounded view, but if you have any questions then just ask! xxx