Monthly Archives: January 2018

Finessing Fit for Trousers – 3rd time lucky!

Earlier this month I posted about some Navy track-suiting made up into trousers using Simplicity 2289 pattern.

The first incarnation using size XXL was so over-sized that when my husband saw them, he laughed. You could easily fit another, albeit smaller, person beside me inside this version. I finally got around to unpicking the garment. By that I mean really unpicking. Each and every seam, the top stitching around the waistband and the twin rows of stitching on each hem. I pressed each of the fabric shapes and laid out onto the pattern. I re-cut a size smaller (XL) and again constructed the garment, taking a ¾ inch seam allowance. Still too big. So for the second time, I unpicked the seams. Fortunately this time I had not stitched down the waistband, nor sewn up the hems. But by now I was fast losing any desire for a pair of track-suiting trousers!

For the third and final incarnation I would ignore the pattern! I retrieved a pair of cut off stretch denim trousers that do fit me. Using their measurements I re-cut the fabric shapes. Before stitching up, I made a paper pattern of this version.

The trousers do fit – not exactly as I would like but I believe as near as I am going to get without reverting to a traditional pattern of leg front and back pieces copied from an unpicked pair of existing trousers. It may well come to that but for now I have a paid of ‘relaxed’ fit, very warm and comfortable ‘leisure’ trousers.

And so the search for an ‘Ultimate Trouser’ pattern continues…..

Sally Jersey Dartmouth Dress Hack

Yet another pre-Christmas sale purchase was this 4-way stretch jersey from Fabrics Galore. Described as Viscose Elastane Jersey, a medium weight super soft jersey fabric 150 cms wide at £4/metre. I had not realised that dealing with this fabric was like trying to wrestle with liquid Mercury! The fabric slips and slides all over the place, additionally the cut edges curl tightly to the right side. Getting raw edges to match was a struggle! But, I persisted and the result is a lovely new dress.

Sally Jersey Fabric

I used that old TNT Dartmouth wrap top pattern from Cashmerette to hack a new bodice with a waistline seam to which was added a gathered skirt.

Original Dartmouth Wrap Top

First step was to measure my centre back-to-waist length. I transferred this measurement to the pattern, added a seam allowance and then cut the front pattern length to match. As usual the neckband applied like a dream. How I wish all neckbands were that simple! For the skirt width I measured the width of the waistline of the bodice, doubled it and cut 2 panels. I had originally intended to add side seam pockets but that idea got lost somewhere during the construction process. The sleeves have a narrow double-folded cuff and the hem of the skirt is stitched with a twin needle. I have deliberately made the skirt a little longer than usual as I think I will be wearing it with heels. For the photograph I have added a wide statement belt which has the advantage of covering the seam and helping to pull into my (imaginary) waist.

When my husband saw the dress modelled on ‘Dolores’ the mannequin he remarked that it looked like a very nice dress. Result!

 

Positively Stretchy Paola Top

As mentioned in an earlier post, now is the season of Paola tops. I purchased 3 lengths of jersey fabric from Girl Charlee sale offerings. This particular one was described as Light Yellow Wide Wale Cotton Ribbing and I bought 2 metres at £4.71 per metre. I duly cut out my standard Paola pattern and having threaded the overlocker with Cream, set to to stitch the top.

Within 1 hour I had completed the Paola which has turned out much larger than usual due to the stretch of the ribbing of this knit fabric. As it is a cotton and was not washed prior to construction I am hoping that it will shrink a little in the wash. Meantime it is still wearable.

Due to the stretchiness of the knit, rather than twin needle finish, I have applied deep cuffs to the sleeve hems. For the hem on the body, I used the overlocker and with additional stretch have resulted in a ‘wavy’ hem to the garment. This is quite pleasant but I think in future I may wear the top with a high- waisted skirt so that it  can be tucked inside. Alternatively, I have sufficient fabric to cut a hem band, similar to a previous Dartmouth top and this may be the way to resolve the issue.

So, final analysis, not a 100% positive result but this type of knit has provided a step on my learning curve. In future I will only use rib knits for ribbing or where excessive stretch is an advantage.

Oh So Warm – Reversible Fleece Jacket

Last week I caught up with this vlog in which Angela demonstrates how to make a reversible jacket. I thought to myself – ‘I can do that’.

Using my Bianca coat pattern from Sew me Something, I drafted a few changes to the pattern to turn it from the coat to a jacket.

First I measured the back length of my latest bias hem frilled tunic top. I wanted the new jacket to be long enough to cover this tunic. The back length needed to be 32 inches. I measured the underarm seam and added 3 inches for the fold back cuff – 19 inches. The centre back seam of the collar was reduced from the original pattern to 5 inches.

The fleece fabric in Purple and Grey was purchased from Fabricland, 3 metres each x 150 cms wide in each colourway. The first jacket was cut and stitched using the Purple fabric and Parma Violet-coloured thread. Stitch length was 4mm. The jacket took just 2.3 metres and as the fabric had been a generous 3 metres I will have sufficient left over to use on another project.

I made a faux flat fell seam on the collar centre back and again when attaching the front pieces to the back. At first fitting I established the location for a patch pocket which I cut from a scrap of fabric and attached without any turnings. The top of the pocket was ‘pinked’ and has two rows of top stitching.

Then onto the Grey version of the jacket. I used the same construction method and procedure but this time omitted a patch pocket.

Although in the video, Angela leaves the two jackets separate, I have combined the two jackets by placing wrong sides together and stitching with a 4mm straight seam 1 cm from the raw edges. I stitched all around the outer edge of the jacket and at the hems of the sleeves, which were then turned back as cuffs to expose the contrasting colour.

               

The jacket is extremely warm and I am sure will be very useful in the cold and windy days ahead.

Baggy Trousers!

 

I have used Simplicity 2289 to make three of the Tunic tops in fleece. For those I have made up size XL and they have proved to be ample size-wise. In preparation for making a pair of wide-leg satin-backed crepe evening trousers I thought it would be a good idea to test run the trouser part of this pattern. I checked the actual garment measurements and although I was pretty disappointed with the size (oh yes I know that it is only a number!) when I discovered that the best size was the XXL. OK, suck it up!

I purchased 2.4 metres of 150cms wide Navy track suiting fabric from Fabricland at a price of £4.99/metre.  I was pleased to see that this pattern has no side seams so construction was going to be really quick. No need for seam neatening, having stitched a couple of test seams, I could make  the entire garment on the sewing machine (no need to change thread on the overlocker just yet!)

Off we go – easy, peasy construction and within 1 hour the trousers were all stitched up. I tried them on. Yes they did fit – but there was sufficient room inside for another person – talk about comfy pyjamas! To have the crotch sitting in the correct place involves pulling up the trousers so far that I can tuck the waistband under my bra. The legs are the correct width at the bottom, but I really don’t need all that excess around the hips.

I am thoroughly fed up. I need to alter the trousers and refine the pattern, or trial another pattern before I can even consider making the evening trousers. There is just 9 weeks to go until the cruise and many other garments that I want to make, sew much to do and so little time……

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

For my first post of the New Year –  something different and unusual – I have made an alteration to a brand new project.

I was not happy with the ‘Apples & Pears – where did my waist go?’ dress that I posted recently. As it was, I knew that it would never be worn. I had nothing to lose and therefore decided to ‘hack’ it!

I removed the bias frill from the hem and cut off 8 inches from the length of the dress before adding the frill back on again. I now have a flippy, flirty, new tunic dress that co-ordinates well with my grey leggings. The length of fabric that I had removed from the dress was converted to a detachable cowl collar. Result!

Newly hacked flirty tunic top