Monthly Archives: November 2021

Freya Cowl Neck Top #6

This will be my last Freya top before I switch to Christmas gift-making. Freya is my TNT pattern for a long sleeved top with cowl collar. It takes just over an hour from start to finish to make a new top.

For this version I used some unusual printed viscose jersey with a crepe finish, 2 metres for £9.98 from Rainbow Fabrics that I bought back in September 2021 – so not been long in my stash!

I used a seam allowance of 1.5 cms as the fabric was very stretchy. I sewed some seams on my machine using a zig-zag stitch set at 1mm width x 2mm length. Other seams were completed on the overlocker.

For this version I once again added a double folded cuff on the sleeves. For the hem I first overlocked then turned up 1.5 cms before twin needle machine stitching in place.

I am particularly pleased with the print placement on this top, who wouldn’t want a Goldfish swimming on their midriff? This top will be worn over trousers and skirts. Now onto sewing Christmas gifts!

Project #81 completed 28th November 2021.

Christmas Robins

This morning I opened the curtains and was greeted with the sight of a light sprinkling of snow all around the garden. What better reminder that today was the day to start on my Christmas Gift sewing?

First on the list was an apron and project bag using a charming Robin printed linen-look cotton. I purchased just one metre of fabric from Amazon for £11.58 and used the ‘Sam’ pattern free from Helen’s Closet.

I made view B of the pattern and used cotton tape for the straps. It took about an hour and a half to make the apron and I am delighted with it. I definitely need one for me!

I based the project bag on the design that Lizzie at Sprat & Winkle Quilters showed us a few weeks ago. I am thrilled that I managed to pattern match the birds over the closure strip and also that the quilting is the same on the reverse of the bag. The zip on the project bag came from the stash, as did the tassels on the zip pull. The crystal clear PVC was bought from Amazon, 2.5 metres for £6.20so I have plenty left for more project bags.

So that’s the basics ready for one lady on my list, for the next I need to clean the machine and re-thread with Blue to make another project bag using Bargello strip patchwork. Watch this space.

Projects #82 & #83 completed 29th November 2021.

Freya tops #4+#5

Having completed the colourful Autumn Leaves ‘Jane’ pinafore dress I knew that I now needed to add some plain long sleeved tops to my wardrobe to wear in the coming colder months. I decided to make the ‘Freya’ pattern from Tilly and the Buttons book ‘Stretch’ as although I like a collar, currently I prefer the cowl neck as it is not so restrictive around my neck. I would choose colours to pick up on those in the print of the pinafore dress and for which I also have coordinating opaque tights.

I browsed the internet and purchased the following:-

Freya #4 – 2 metres of the Plum Viscose Jersey was bought from an ebay seller ‘vegatextiles’ for £8.98.

Freya#5 – 2 metres Maroon Viscose jersey was also bought from an ebay seller ‘pepe_monty’ for £10.00.

I have a traced copy of the Freya pattern in my size with alterations for my short arms and less than ‘hourglass’ figure. Cutting out and construction takes just over one hour (provided I don’t have any interruptions!) thus after two afternoons I had completed both tops.

I have some fabric left over from these two makes for colour blocking, plus a few more lengths of jersey for long sleeved tops but dressmaking will soon be temporarily suspended whilst I concentrate on Christmas gift-making.

Projects #79 + 80 completed 23rd November 2021

Refashioned Polo neck Top

Some time ago I bought a polo neck top from Cotton Traders. The very first thing I had to do was to reduce the length! Since then the top had been worn only once as I found the polo neck too tight and high. So, it sat in the cupboard waiting for me to get around to it.

Today was the day. I cut off the collar, removed the sleeves and cut out the seams on the shoulders. Using my self-drafted Paolina pattern I re-cut short sleeves (could not avoid the Cotton Traders embroidered log) and a new scoop neckline. I used two pieces of 2 inch wide strip cut from the remainder of the sleeves to make a neckband.

First thing to stitch was the new shoulder seams (¼ inch seam allowance only) using some stay tape in the seam as the fabric is very mobile. I used a narrow zig-zagstitch and then finished with the overlocker. Next was the neckband. This went in like a dream!

Finally I turned up the hem on the sleeves and as I had never cut the original side seams, set the sleeves into the armholes using the ‘in the round’ method.

All finished in around 40 minutes. A great ‘new’ tee with a much more comfortable neckline.

Project #78 completed 21st November 2021.

‘Jane’ Pinafore Dress #3 Autumn Leaves

I bought a couple of remnant pieces of this lovely printed ‘curtain weight’ cotton from a seller on eBay for the grand sum of £10.99. In total there was about 3 metres in length x 120cms wide fabric. I knew immediately that this would be perfect for a Pinafore Dress and ideal to go over many plain Autumn-coloured jersey tops (yet to be made!).

I used my self-drafted ‘Jane’ pattern which is now a TNT design that I intend to hack into a Summer dress next year.

I lined the bodice with Grey acetate lining that I found at the bottom of my stash. This will work well for making it easy to pull on the pinafore dress over the tops as it is so slippery.

I added a total of 12 buttonholes down the front of the dress and used some coconut shell buttons that I recently purchased from eBay (60 buttons for £2.99 – a bargain!). This time I added two patch pockets on the front skirt, the pattern is so busy that you can hardly see them and I did not even try to pattern match. I finished the hem of the skirt with the blind hemmer stitch on the machine as the tiny stitches disappear into the print.

I am very pleased with this make and sure that it will get a great deal of wear through the rest of Autumn and through Winter until the Spring flowers appear.

Project #77 Completed 18th November 2021

Sorrento Jacket

I have a Blue RTW denim jacket in my wardrobe but would really like another in a different colour. Enter Sorrento by Sew Over It. The jacket is part of the Summer Dreaming e-book released last year and is described thus;

The quintessential denim jacket, Sorrento is a classic piece in anyone’s wardrobe. Designed to pair beautifully with the other styles in this summer sewing pattern collection, the Sorrento Jacket is the perfect throw-on when the evenings turn chilly. Sorrento features everything you’d expect from a denim jacket including a front and back yoke, chest pockets, collar, cuffs, and waistband tabs – all finished with double lines of immaculate topstitching. With tonnes of classic details and a clever construction, Sorrento is an enjoyable, hugely rewarding project that you’ll love for years to come.

As I am currently losing weight I was not sure which size to make so would definitely need to make a ‘practice’ garment to check not only the sizing but also the various techniques involved in this type of garment. I elected to make a 22 across the bust and grade to a 24 at the hips. The only modification was to shorten the sleeves by 1½ inches as I know that I have short arms!

For fabric I raided my stash and came up with this charming heavyweight furnishing linen named Cockerel by Vanessa Arbuthnot. The fabric is gash roll ends from the printing factory and was originally intended to be landfill, but by a circuitous route it found its way to my bag-making stash. I added some Red printed cotton offcuts from my scrap bag for undercollar, lining the yoke, lining the pocket flaps, the pocket bags and placket bias strip bindings.

Although it was late at night I was determined to cut out the jacket so it was only in the hard light of day that I discovered I had cut some pieces on the straight grain and some on the cross grain. Still I powered ahead as I thought ”this is only a practice garment”.

The pattern instructions are excellent as they order the work in such a way as to minimise the number of times you have to change the needle and thread(s) from Jeans (for construction) to Topstitching. I also found that every single notch marking married up with its counterpart and that helped to make the sewing very speedy.

Conclusion: I enjoyed the whole process with a possible exception of installing the metal ‘jeans’ buttons. I had not used this type before and although they are OK, I am not convinced that I will use them on my ‘proper’ jacket. This jacket is oversized on me which will be useful for wearing over chunky knits in the colder months. However, I will be sizing down by at least one size so the next iteration will be a 20 at the shoulders and bust, grading to 22 at the hips. I will keep the sleeves at their reduced length as they turned out ‘just right’. I think that I will shorten the length of the jacket as this one comes to the high hip and I would prefer it to be on or only just below my natural waist.

Project # 74 completed 11th November 2021

A Grand Day Out!

When it was first announced that the Sprat & Winkle Quilters would be having a Quilt Shop Hop on Saturday 30th October 2021, I immediately put my name down to join the band!

The plan was to travel by hired coach to visit two quilt shops. The first was Village Fabrics based in Wallingford, Oxfordshire and the second, Lady Sew & Sew in Henley-on-Thames.

We met at 8.30 am in a local out-of-town car park armed with shopping lists, money and packed lunches. After a mad dash across the car park in the pouring rain I settled into my seat in the luxurious coach.

Although we arrived a little early at Village Fabrics, they were ready for us! A very informative talk given by Yvonne McAtamney the owner of the store followed by an enthusiastic shop, filling our wicker baskets with many sewing goodies and a l-o-n-g browse around. I bought 4 metres of a pretty cotton print for dressmaking, some Christmas print layer cakes and a panel kit for ‘Winter Chill’.

After a quick introduction we were let loose in most enjoyable (and for me expensive with just two purchases!) tour of the store. I bought 5½ metres of Kaffe Fassett fabric that I plan to make up into my version of Vogue 8577. I also topped up my store of lightweight calico for toile making.

By 4pm we were all very tired and happy to re-join the coach for a, what turned out to be, busy trip home. First there was the judging of the ‘Name the Quilt Block’ competition – that I won! Lorraine and Kate then took over with a Wordsearch game followed by Sewing Bingo. There were also some more raffle prize draws.

We arrived back at the car park in good time and I was home well before the heavens opened for yet more rain.

Caroline Gilham 31st October 2021.

Rookie Error!

I fell in love with this particular printed Viscose Challis on sale from The Textile Centre and ordered 3 metres at a price of £15.27 for the length.

After considerable humming and hawing I decided to make the Harley Bodice with a Penny (Sew Over It) skirt. The viscose has a superb drape and is so fluid that I now realise that this style of dress is just so wrong for the fabric! The bias on the skirt panels means that it was the very devil to get an even hem. Whilst I continued with making up the dress, I did not spend hours and hours on the construction – no French seams, no side seam pockets!

The other major error in making this particular style is the fact that the bodice and waist need to be fairly fitted. I cut out the dress a couple of weeks ago and since then have lost 7lbs in weight (I believe that 10lbs weight loss is equivalent to 1 dress size) so it will always have to be worn with a belt. In the meantime, I have ordered more of this design. When it arrives I know that I will be making a ‘Moira’ dress that will be absolutely perfect to showcase the print and drape of the fabric.

Project #71 completed 3rd November 2021