Monthly Archives: January 2020

XXL Necessary Clutch Wallet

My ‘journey’ into NCWs continues. I have now made the standard size wallet several times. A couple where I sized up by 25%, one where I sized down to 75% and now for this adventure I sized up to 150% of the original size.

To size up the pattern I simply printed at 150% and then where the pattern exceeded the size of the A4 sheet, added additional paper and ‘winged’ it! By increasing by 50% some simple arithmetic was involved e.g. where the original was 8 inches, the new size was 12 inches etc. To calculate the size of the pattern piece for the card slots was the most complicated. In the end, I drafted a new piece by drawing out the fold and stitching lines based on the formula of 2 ½ inches for the first line, *1¾ inches for the second, 2¼ inches for the third*, repeat from * to * until when folded the finished piece measured 6 inches in length plus seam allowances.

I started the construction by making up a long adjustable strap. I used 30mm nickel hardware for the adjusting rectangle and two nickel swivel hooks.

Next I cut out the main outer pattern piece, taking care to centre up the design and also stitching two pieces together so that the one-way design had the correct orientation once the clutch wallet was made up. I then cut the flap and tried to match up the design. I ensured that the stand of the central motif continued down from the flap to the clutch wallet but sadly did not quite achieve a perfect match for the outer jellies!

I made up the flap and used Peltex stiffening in addition to the heavyweight fusible interfacing. For stitching I used a ‘Jeans’ no.80 needle in the machine. As the flap is so much larger, now was the opportunity to use a different lock. I had ordered this Large Flip Lock

from Emmeline Bags in the USA* and although the size was listed on the website it was still larger than I had anticipated but was an ideal size for this project. Insertion of the lock went really well as I now have a dedicated screwdriver to use on those pesky tiny fixing screws. *For future supplies, I will use Sew Hot based in the UK

Stitching the large card slots fabric pattern piece that had been interfaced with some stiff fusible interfacing was a little like wrestling a bag of cats, but I got there in the end.

Next was the two zipped pockets. I used some spare fabric from my stash of fat quarters and a pair of zips that my father had supplied from when he worked at the Opti-lon zip factory in Kent. Making the zip pockets was fairly simple. As is my usual practice – I added some colourful tassels to the zip pulls. I then had to stitch them into the clutch wallet and finish off with a rectangular shaped box to fix everything in place which is the very last piece of stitching on this project.

The insides of my first XXL-sized Necessary clutch wallet

Lastly, some riveting. I love to apply rivets to my projects and cannot get enough of them!

Front of the XXL NCW

I am delighted with the bag and think that I will take it with me to use as an evening clutch when on my Greek Islands cruise in May this year.

Back of the XXLNCW

Completed 28th January 2020

Abakhan Jersey Dress

This is yet another version of my ‘Gerry’ dress which is a hack of the Dartmouth Wrap top by Cashmerette into a dress with a variety of skirt options. This time I used the half circle skirt from the Penny dress by Sew Over It.

The fabric is a pretty understated geometric design in Mustard on a Navy background. The fabric is a soft and warm jersey from Abakhan that I bought in August last year. Unfortunately I do not know the fibre content, only that it has good width-wise stretch and recovery.

Due to the width of the fabric I cut the skirt in 4 panels and adjusted the waistline to fit the Dartmouth bodice. The sleeves have deep double cuffs that can be folded back if required. The hem of the skirt is stitched with twin-needles. Sewn in part on my sewing machine and partly using the overlocker.

Abakhan Jersey Wrap Bodice Dress
matching Hotter ‘Jewel’ballet flats

The dress is one of my favourites and I have already worn on two occasions. The finishing touches are my usual wide Navy elasticated belt and Navy faux snakeskin ballet flats from Hotter.

Completed 24th January 2020

House Mouse Dress

This is my hack of the Dartmouth Wrap top by Cashmerette into a dress witha variety of skirt options. I shall call this my ‘Gerry’ pattern and this particular iteration is the ‘House Mouse’.

The colour and print is so not my usual style. This is a muted floral print on a dusty Burgundy background. I don’t know the construction of the jersey but it does have a tiny loop wrong side that is a sort of taupe colour. Also don’t exactly know if it was from Abakhan or a gift from my sister – either way it definitely counts as stash so that’s 4 projects made. Now I can justify buying something new.

I used the Dartmouth wrap top for the bodice and a simple gathered skirt. Wished that I had put in pockets! The back panel of the skirt is patched as I did not do a very good job of calculating the skirt length and width. Still it is at the back and fairly well disguised by the gathers. Long sleeves have narrow hem band and skirt hem is finished with twin needle stitching. Mostly sewn on my Juki overlocker.

House Mouse Dress

The addition of the wide elasticated belt helps to improve the look of the dress but I will never wear it outside the house!

Completed 20th January 2020

‘Mona’ tee shirt

My sister gifted me several lengths of fabric when I visited her back in August last year. One of the lengths was this pretty jersey of unknown origin and construction. Unfortunately there were myriad tiny pin holes all over the fabric so I knew that whatever I made would have to be a ‘wearable muslin’.

I have made the Moneta dress by Colette patterns a couple of times before and since then the pattern has been loitering at the bottom of the box of pdf patterns.

As the bodice is more fitted than the usual boxy tees I decided to give it a whirl and hack into a tee shirt that I have called ‘MONA’.

There was not a great deal of yardage (approximately 1 metre) and combined with the pin holes meant that a deal of pattern tetris had to be undertaken. I managed to cut the front bodice with no holes, but there are quite a few in the back. But who looks at the back when wearing a garment? The sleeves had to be cut very short but this was resolved by addind a folded hem band. I repeated the technique for the bodice to provide an additional couple of inches of length there.

The neckband stitched on like a dream and the resultant tee shirt fulfils the requirement of a wearable muslin. In fact, despite the cold and wintry weather outside, our house is cosy and warm so I am wearing the tee today!

completed 17th January 2020

Pussy Bow Blouse

When I visited my sister in August last year, she very kindly gave me several lengths of fabric. I fell in love with this very bold printed polyester crepe de chine and knew that it would make a lovely pussy bow blouse.

Bold print Polyester Crepe de Chine

I drafted a pattern so that the bow would come at the point where a rever would normally turn back, a shaped hemline to the bodice and long sleeves into a button cuff.

When I laid out the fabric I found that I had insufficient for the long sleeves so cut at elbow length and planned to have a narrow elasticated channel at the hem.

The fabric was extremely slippery and I used french seams throughout for the construction. I cut two pieces of fabric 5 inches wide x the width of the fabric (42 inches) for the bow tie. This fitted perfectly into the neckline. I could have made the tie slightly wider – say 6 inches and slightly shorter and have therefore made a note for the next iteration.

I completed the entire construction of the bodice using some pretty buttons from my stash then turned my attention to the sleeves. I pin basted in one sleeve before turning to Instagram® for comments on whether or not to continue with the sleeves or to make the blouse sleeveless.

General consensus was to make sleeveless. I used one of the sleeves to make a long length of bias binding 1¾ inches wide which was pressed in half. After attaching the the wrong side of the armholes, the seam was trimmed and the binding top stitched to the right side of the bodice.

Sleeveless Pussy Bow Blouse

The blouse fits well and the tie is great. I can wear the blouse on its own or under a cardigan or sweater. I count this as a success and now plan to make another with long sleeves to wear under pinafore dresses.

15th January 2020

Burgundy Shirtwaist Dress

Many years ago I had a Burgundy needlecord shirt dress and this dress is a re-imagining of something that I loved back in the 1970’s.

I used a King Size Duvet cover from Dunelm Mill in a Burgundy jacquard cotton/polyester blend to make a wearable toile.

I had originally intended the dress to be worn on Christmas Day. Unfortunately the construction was delayed and I thought ‘OK never mind, I will wear the dress on New Year’s Eve’. The Eve and New Year’s Day came and went, then due to illness it was not until 10th January 2020 that I finally completed the dress.

To paraphrase a western movie, the construction has been a tale of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ouch!’

The good – brilliant pattern matching on the bodice,

The bad – uneven revers on the collar,

Pattern matching on the collar at back

The Ouch! – I left a glass headed pin inside the collar and stitched it closed.

All that was on 29th December and the thought of unpicking combined with a raging headache meant that the dress was put aside until I could face the unpicking and re-stitching.

I had also originally planned to make the dress button through the bodice and skirt, although the buttons from my stash were a perfect match, there was not enough so I had to fix the opening at the waistline seam.

The skirt is the full width of the duvet cover gathered into the waistline seam and there are concealed pockets at the side seams.

I also drafted long sleeves into a button cuff (similar to the original inspiration) but on completion found that I had been over-zealous in shortening the sleeve length so even with the addition of a 2 inch wide cuff, they are just short of my wrists. With a big sigh – I could remove the cuffs and make new wider ones but with all the previous problems, I don’t think I can face another alteration to the dress.

Completed Dress

I do have sufficient fabric to be able to send to Harlequin for a matching belt but I was pleased to find that one of my wide elasticated belts co-ordinates well with the colour of the dress and that is how I plan to wear in the future.

I have retained the modified pattern for this dress and have several other lengths of fabric that I plan to use to make more in this style. I even have some needlecord….. hmm watch this space.

10th January 2020

Companion Carpet Bag

I have now made three versions of the Companion Carpet Bag using the 8inch frame, this will be the fourth and possibly last, at least for a while!

Now that we are in the throes of Winter weather, cold, wet, and windy I decided that I needed a more ‘neutral’ handbag.

For this version I used some furnishing weight linen that was gifted to me together with some faux snakeskin vinyl that I bought back in August from Thimbles Fabrics and Crafts at the Festival of Quilts held at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. For the lining I raided my stash of fat quarters from New Threads Quilt Shop and the zip for the internal pocket came from the stash that was supplied by my father from when he was an Engineer at Optilon zip factory. The fabrics were stabilised with heavyweight fusible interfacing plus Bosal ® foam wadding.

As I have made the bag before, the construction was pretty straightforward. Unfortunately I did not have sufficient of the Grey colourway of linen but was able to use some co-ordinating print linen for the bag frame channel. Some wrestling of the fabric was involved as I turned the bag right side out as all that stabilising, wadding and faux snakeskin made the outer very substantial.

I had found the fabulous plastic and nickel finish bag handles in my bag-making stash and attached them to the bag with rivetted tabs of faux snakeskin. I particularly like this method and it will be appearing on future bag makes. I attached a flap closure using two pieces of faux snakeskin with a concealed magnetic snap.

Inside showing zip internal pocket with tassel trim

The finishing touches were pretty little tassels on the zip pull of the internal pocket and a faux leather ‘handmade’ label attached to the plain outer side of the bag.

My new favourite Companion Carpet Bag

I am just so pleased and proud of this bag that it makes me smile every time I use it.

18th December 2019

75% NCW

Since attending the NCW workshop in October I have been ‘hooked’ on this pattern. I have already made several versions with the pattern scaled up by 25% and have lately re-printed at 150% scale. This purse is made at 75% scale.

I used a couple of Fat Quarters from New Threads Quilt Shop to make the outer and flap with the insides also made from sugar skull print plus another fat quarter of pink floral print.

In the process of construction I soon realised that there would not be sufficient space inside to make the usual double zip pockets and therefore this version is restricted to two sets of cards slots, 3 slip sections and just one zip pocket.

Card slots inserted

I used my regular heavyweight fusible interfacing and standard 30mm wide twist lock in nickel for the closure.

Card slots and zip pocket now completed
Finished 75% NCW Purse

I am really pleased with the finished result but feel it is just a little too small. I plan to re-print the pattern at 80% and that additional 5% may be all the extra that I need to make the perfect purse.

15th December 2019

Sora Sweater Mk II

Whilst looking for something different to sew that could also be stitched using the current thread colour on the overlocker, I rediscovered the Sora Sweater pattern by Blank Slate Patterns and some colourful jacquard Ponte Roma in my stash.

According to the website the Sora Sweater will take you from winter snuggles to summer evenings! This versatile pattern offers a variety of stylish layers for your wardrobe. Choose either cardigan or pullover with short or long sleeves, with all views featuring a beautiful shawl collar. Sora is perfect for sweater knit, jersey, french terry, and more.

Sora Sweater by Blank Slate Patterns

I made my first version in February 2019 using a low stretch Chocolate embossed ponte roma from The Textile Centre but unfortunately it finished up too small and had to be donated. Some time has passed since then but I omitted making any notes on the pattern so once again this version is not a perfect fit. However, I love the collar and in this fabric it has proved to be a slightly better fit. Again, there is minimal stretch in the fabric and I could do with a little more room over the tummy and hips, plus the sleeves are also a very slim fit. This time I will make notes and adjust the pattern so that next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I can expect a perfect fit.

Ponte RomaSora Sweater

As I intend to ‘finesse’ the pattern it may be that I hack the collar onto one of my TNT knit bodice blocks. Whilst I quite like the godets in the Sora I am not addicted to them, they may well not make it to the hacked version. If I use my TNT bodice block I will also be able to redraw the armscye and sleeves to my preferred shoulder height and sleeve width.

15th December 2019

Grey Luna Lapin

Whilst on a roll of gift-making I thought I would make another Luna Lapin. This time I used some Pale Grey felt plus some spare pieces of quilting weight cotton print from a charm pack for the insides of the ears and soles of the feet.

The Luna came together very quickly and despite the fact that I always avoid hand stitching as much as possible, actually enjoyed the process.

Having completed Luna, I took the time to add a fluffy tail to her and the previous iteration using a pom-pom maker. I have never used this item before and it certainly made pom poms very quick and easy to produce. I still have to make clothes so both ‘girls’ are currently naked.

Grey Luna Lapin

I later changed my mind about giving this Luna as a gift, in the meantime she shares a place on the pillow of the spare bed with the first Luna and my ancient Teddy Bear!

completed 4th December 2019