As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!
It has been over a week now since I attended the wedding of my husband’s eldest grandson, Michael to his fiancée Lisa.
Since then I have attended a Sewing Retreat day and a Patchwork & Quilting class. It was only today I realised I had not posted a picture of the final outfit that I wore for the wedding.
As you will see from the above photo, the wedding ceremony was held out of doors in a Bluebell Wood. Very romantic!
To get to the location involved a walk up a hill via a couple of fields and a wood. I therefore changed from my Silver stiletto shoes into ‘much more appropriate’ Cerise pink loafers.
The day was lovely and Mike and Lisa make a charming couple.
I shall be wearing my dress and jacket ensemble again in the future but do not foresee many outings for the fascinator!
Well, after yet more procrastination, here is the finished dress made up in the fabric choice of the Friday P&Q Sewing House Group. Listed as Stretch Poly/Viscose, I bought 3 metres from CheapestFabricsUK eBay shop at just £4.95 per metre (sadly now out of stock) and used my TNT hack of the Dartmouth top by Cashmerette.
This fabric is really fine and drapes beautifully, but is not for those new to stitching jersey fabrics. It slips and slides and is like trying to wrestle mercury! However, I persisted and have to say that I am now very pleased that I did as the dress is so comfortable to wear and looks really ‘classy’.
Most of the stitching was done on the overlocker but there are a few places where I have top-stitched by machine, partly to control the fabric! The gathered skirt was made using two panels cut 29 inches long by the full width of the fabric, so approximately 120 inches of skirt width. Two rows of gathering stitches plus clear elastic helped to control the fabric and ensure even gathers. For the hem, I plan to machine using a twin-needle but at the time of photographing the outfit, I did not have access to my machine (cat asleep on sewing chair!).
Every time that I make up the Dartmouth top, I have used a different jersey fabric. Each and every one has performed differently. On this iteration the crossover of the wrap has come out a little low, I may have to invest in a light lace-trimmed camisole to wear underneath.
Other accessories are a Silver Grey satin clutch bag trimmed with fabric roses and some Silver ‘crocodile’ textured peep-toe shoes. I will also have a pair of Silver-coloured mules to change into when the need arises!
After so much procrastination, at last the first garment of the proposed outfit for the family wedding is completed. I used the KWIK SEW pattern no K3736 with just a couple of minor changes.
For this iteration I used the Cerise ‘linen-look’ fabric that I had purchased from Fabricland at £4.59 per metre.
As I had made the pattern before, see http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/appliqued-denim-jacket-subtle-it-is-not/ and http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/black-linen-look-bolero-jacket-kwik-sew-k3736/ or here http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/kwik-sew-k3736-bolero-style-jacket/
The minor changes were to lengthen by 1 inch, ignore the fold-back cuffs, take in at the side seams by a total of 2 inches and this time I also top-stitched all around the outer edge of the jacket. I used two strands both threaded through a 100 top-stitching needle and straight stitch length 4.
Other than that there is not a great deal to say. Once again I am pleased with the final result which I think will co-ordinate well with either of the two dresses that I plan to make.
The reason for two dresses is the ‘Great British Weather’. I shan’t know until the morning of the day what the temperature is like. In the past I have attended Ladies Day at Royal Ascot which is in June. One year I wore a floaty dress and was very warm, another year a wool suit and was very cold!
Planning, Prioritising, Purchasing & Procrastination
Now that I am well and truly back home and the weather has improved so that we are enjoying a very late Spring, I have to make my sewing plans.
I have been delayed from my first love of dressmaking as I insisted on completing the quilt top in memory of my Caribbean cruise. But now that is done, it is back to dressmaking.
Planning. I have lost weight since last Summer so several of the makes no longer fit. I hate making alterations – I would much rather make an entirely new garment. I have sold a few of last year’s dresses and have plenty of ideas, patterns and fabrics to make new ones – but which ones?
Prioritising. I have a family wedding to attend in just three week’s time – I cannot wear the same dress as last year’s wedding for two reasons a) it no longer fits(!) and b) the wedding will be attended by the same family members. I have a certain reputation to maintain – if I attended the wedding wearing the same dress, rumours would start that I was feeling unwell!
As my readers will have concluded, I enjoy wearing bright and colourful clothing. So, for this wedding my colour choice is Cerise Pink. I have the fascinator and will make a little jacket in the same colour.
Purchasing. The fascinator hat was purchased new from The British Heart Foundation charity shop in Winchester. The linen-look fabric for the jacket was bought from Fabricland in Salisbury. I plan to make another version of my ‘hacked’ jacket from KwikSew 3736.
Whilst the design of the dress will be a simple fitted bodice with an almost circular skirt (from the Lady Skater Dress),
the fabric choice for the dress is almost limitless.
Procrastination. I have been buying lots of jersey fabric. Whilst at Fabricland I fell in love with this ponte roma that coordinates very well with the Cerise ‘linen’ for the jacket but the ladies of the sewing house group deemed that it was not sophisticated enough for a wedding.
Scuba from Fabric Styles
Although the floral print would be fine unfortunately on closer inspection I found that the colour in the tassels print clashes slightly with the Cerise ‘linen’. Finally, the ladies were unanimous in their selection of this fine jersey from CheapestFabricsUK who sell through eBay.
I have to agree that this delicate print is fabulous. I only hope that I can do it justice. To take advantage of the great drape qualities, I may well opt to make the wrap front bodice- a hack of the Dartmouth top from Cashmerette.
Other plans were inspired by a visit to the Joules store on board ship during my recent cruise holiday. I was particularly taken with these striped jersey tops.
I could use the Fraser sweatshirt pattern from Sewaholic – or draft my own dividing lines for the different prints.
From an eBay seller I bought some lovely ponte roma in White with a narrow Navy stripe and plan to combine with some floral print as a yoke across the bodice and sleeves.
The floral ponte roma came from the CheapestFabricUK.
I also plan to re-fashion the Neenah shift dress (now too big) that I made with the Navy/White version of Ponte Roma and use some of this bold-coloured floral printed fabric (purchased from Minerva Crafts) for the yoke.
So that is just 3 garments – possibly 4 that I plan to make in the near future.
If I can just stop procrastinating and get on with sewing the outfit for the wedding then I can pursue the exciting projects that I have planned for the Summer. I will write and tell you of my progress and finished garments next month.
Well I have thought quite long enough about this project. Now it is time to stop looking at the fabric and get on with the project. First step was to trace off the pattern from Simplicity 4032.
I used the back, side front, front panels and centre panel/facing/collar pieces from view D. To remove the hem flounce I added 3+5/8th inches to the length of the pieces whilst retaining the gentle curve at lower front edge on the centre panel/facing/collar pattern. I adjusted the centre back by 1 inch for my sway back and added extra width at the hips – ‘just in case’ it was required.
I am pleased that I checked out the faux fur and discovered that there was a definite nap, all pattern pieces were laid so that the pile was going down the garment.
I used some spare fabric to run a couple of stitching tests. Was I going to have the fur on the inside or the outside? I decided to have the faux fur on the outside so that the smooth knit was next to my other clothing and would reverse at the collar giving my face a frame of the Cerise Pink colour.
I tested out seam finishes. Option 1) Lapped seams with all seam allowances overlocked in the Cerise Pink thread – preferred.
Option 2) a straight forward seam with Right sides together – not good as that left a lot of raw/fluffy seam allowances on the inside of the gilet.
I threaded the machine with a Light Blue Grey in the needle and a Cerise Pink in the bobbins. All seams were stitched from the Right side.
For the first fitting I pinned all the seams to check the fit. After some adjustment of the seams I then stitched each one twice. First to secure the top layer in place and secondly to secure the under layer and prevent it from flapping about inside the garment. This method gives a nice smooth finish to the inside of the garment thus making it easier to put on and off.
For the armhole finishing I simply overlocked the raw edge and then turned the knit side to the outside before hand basting in place. I changed the top thread to Cerise Pink before zig-zag stitching the turnings in place.
The front panel/facing/collar piece was also applied using a lapped seam and finished in the same way as the other panel seams. The entire outer edge was then overlocked to finish the raw edges.
The gilet is big enough to lap right over left and could have a button or snap fastening but for now I will leave it as is.
A very comfortable gilet which has provided me with the new experience of sewing with faux fur. Now I have to vacuum the sewing room which is awash with Grey fluff!
I am planning to make a sleeveless jacket using some faux-fur lined/Pink knit fabric purchased from The Textile Centre.
A great deal of thought has gone into deciding which pattern to use. After referring to my sister ‘What do you think?’ she suggested something with Princess seaming. I knew that I wanted to have a collar to exhibit the faux fur and having browsed through my sewing record book came across a reference to this pattern – Simplicity 4032.
I originally made the pattern – view D way back on 18th February 2011. How’s that for fabulous record keeping!
So whilst I prepare for the new sleeveless jacket, I thought you might like to see the previous iteration of the pattern.
I used a beautiful Brocade fabric purchased at one of the Sewing for Pleasure shows at the NEC. The fabric may be lovely but was rather tiresome to sew in that it frayed a great deal and also left a dark Grey staining on my sewing machine (although that came off quickly with a baby wipe).
All the internal seams were neatened with the overlocker and I drafted my own self-fabric facing for the collar, revere, front button facings and also a facing for the hem frill.
I particularly like the shawl collar which sits really well on the front of the jacket. I was fortunate to find some great antiqued silver buttons in my stash. There were 4 available and I have stitched 3 for the front fastening and the spare inside the left front.
I have received many compliments on this jacket which co-ordinates well with skirts, trousers and dresses. I am pleased to say that it still fits!
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.
Building on the success of the Fleece Tunic in Blue, I made another Tunic top,this time in a cheerful RED!
The fabric came from Fabricland at just £4.44 per metre and as I bought 2.2 metres I still have approximately 30 inches remaining that I can combine with the same amount of the Blue colourway to make ‘something else’. I have no idea what, let’s just wait and see what inspiration strikes. Possibly a colour-blocked Lekala 5656 Raglan sleeved top?
Again I cut an XL with sleeves extended by 3 inches and this time I changed the neckline slightly. I dropped the point of the collar insert by 2 inches and extended the collar piece accordingly. It has not quite worked but at least it is now comfortable with more ‘breathing’ space and not too close to the neck.
The entire tunic was sewn on the machine using a jersey needle and straight stitch, length 4.5. Again I reduced the size of the pocket width and set them 2½ inches in from the side seams. There were no other alterations to the pattern.
The sleeves are now just the right length although they could be reduced in width slightly – a note for if and when I make a THIRD version – maybe in Dark Forest Green? The tunic goes easily over a basic vest or if required – a long-sleeved polo neck when the weather is very frosty.
A very long time ago I made this pattern in a Grey fleece fabric that had been gifted to me. The tunic has always had a place in my wardrobe ‘just in case’ the weather turned exceptionally cold or I needed a cosy top to wear. As we are expecting to be in the wake of Storm Caroline (sic!) over the next few of days, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit this style and a fleece fabric.
I bought some 150cms wide Dark Blue Fleece from Fabricland at just £4.44 per metre to make this new tunic top. The fabric is a lovely Blue colour and has a pile that is very soft and velvety. A real pleasure to wear.
Referring to my original top to double-check measurements, I cut an XL. The pattern took just 2.2m so this works out to be a very cost-effective tunic top at £9.76. The thread used came from my stash and no other notions were required.
The entire tunic was sewn on the machine using a jersey needle and straight stitch, length 4.5. I reduced the size of the pocket width and set them 2½ inches in from the side seams. There were no other alterations to the pattern.
On completion I have found that the sleeves are a little short and I have therefore not turned back the cuffs. In future I will increase the sleeve length by 3 inches and continue to wear the cuffs unfolded.
The close-fitting shawl collar
I also found the shawl collar comes up tighter to the neck and is altogether a closer fit. Next time I will not double fold the hem on the collar and maybe this will provide a little more ease and a looser fit.
Whilst in Fabricland I bought an additional length of the same fleece fabric in Red colourway. After the weekend I plan to make another 2289 with that and will therefore be set up and ready for whatever the Great British Weather throws at us!