Friday, September 27, 2013

Selfish sewing boat neck tee

Despite my best intentions Selfish Sewing week has been somewhat hijacked by both school holidays and a short family trip away. But I did get this essential garment done, a fitted boat neck t-shirt.

Self drafted boat neck tee

This is by no means an exciting t-shirt, but one that hopefully I can reach for on those mornings when I need to grab something quickly and get going for the day. I really like elbow length sleeves, they're comfortable and great for in-between season weather. And, whether fashionable at the time or not, I'm always attracted to boat necks as I think they balance out my pearish body shape.

Self drafted boat neck tee

I used my self drafted pattern as a basis then used Dana's boat neck tutorial for the neck opening. I liked my previous t-shirt but always thought the finishing wasn't great. But I've had more experience with knits since then and am more confident now. I like how the neck turned out and I think it adds a more professional feel to the t-shirt.

Self drafted boat neck tee detail

As an aside, lately I've been thinking a lot about the issue of sewing special clothes vs everyday clothes. And I've come to the conclusion that sewing basics really is a good way to go - they get worn a lot and appreciated more. Sure you can buy a t-shirt very cheaply at one of the big chain stores, but you can't choose the fabric, sleeve length, neck finish etc, and inevitably some area of it probably won't fit so well. And of course you also can't buy that feeling you get from wearing something you've made yourself :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

UFO no. 1: Ruby Star Wiksten Tank & some notes on fit

Trying to keep up with my promise to myself to clear my UFO pile, here's the first one off the list, and just in time for me to join in with Selfish Sewing Week - which I'm hoping will give me another little push along.

Wiksten tank Kokka Ruby Star

This is another Wiksten Tank, this time in Kokka Melody Miller Ruby Star Vinyl fabric. As I've made this pattern several times now I've tweeked it to fit me here and there and I think the fit now is pretty right for me. Recently I was reading about how one person tweeked a pattern many times til it fit right, and it made me realise that often I don't do that - I just accept the fit as that's the way it is and unless it's obvious that something's drastically wrong (like it's too tight or loose around the waist) then I leave it. But really I should be trying to get it just right.
So why don't I? I think it's:
A. impatience with a touch of laziness - I want it to wear now
B. I'm a pretty standard size, which is great. Most garment fit reasonably well if I follow the size guides and do any grading where necessary. BUT there are still areas that could be much better. No pattern is going to fit anyone perfectly right from the start as we're all different. To expect a pattern company to be able to create patterns to fit everyone with no alterations is just plain unrealistic. It just took me a while to realise this
C. After years of wearing almost 100% RTW til the last few years I think I'm just used to fit not being quite right. Ever. Know what I mean?

Wiksten tank Kokka Ruby Star

So with this pattern my mods are:
1. lengthen the hem by about 2 inches (I have a long body)
2. take some width out of the back using notes from this post
3. add a bit of width to the side seams at the bust to give me a bit more ease. Clearly a FBA is not needed by me, but I did like the fit of the XS size everywhere but the bust and thought going up a size would throw the balance out.

It's just a simple little top and maybe doesn't warrant all those alterations but I do feel a lot more comfortable in this version than this first one because of those mods. I look back on those pics now and can see all the little things that are not right (though I still love the fabric and wish I had more!). I hope I can keep up this attention to detail with other patterns, but am not putting any money on it :-)

Wiksten tank bound hem detail

And just a couple more notes on this version... I used a bias binding to finish the hem as well as the neckline and armholes as I thought it would finish it nicely. I made the binding with my Clover gadget in a complimentary coloured cotton. Somehow I managed to lose the scraps of the Ruby Rising fabric so couldn't use it to make binding and also couldn't add a pocket to the front! But I think it's fine anyway, there's a lot going on in the print of the fabric.

And speaking of the fabric, this cotton/linen blend is lovely to wear and feels more substantial than my other voile versions, but I do think voile sits better with this pattern. You can see in the second pic above that the cotton/linen sits a little stifly... but overall I'm happy with this one!

Now onto the next UFO. And I'll be keeping my eye on the Selfish Sewing Flickr group with keen interest this week, but hoping to not feel too inspired - that UFO pile needs to go down first!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Little red riding hood costume

I have such a backlog of stuff to blog, I wish I could just think the post and it would be done :-), none of this taking pics, editing, writing etc etc, it just appears. Maybe one day it will be possible, who knows!

Anyway... a little project I worked on several weeks ago were costumes for the girls' book parade at school. Big girl went as Pippi Longstocking, which was pretty easy, mainly just doing hair and pulling together a few clothes, but little girl was adamant right from the start that she wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood... this would need a bit more planning. And because it's her first year at school I wanted to make it all fun and nice for her.


I thought it wouldn't be too much to do...


First I made a little red cape from the 'Reversible play cape' pattern in my much-used copy of the book Growing Up Sew Liberated. I used a mid weight cotton for the outer layer and lined it with red polyester satin. Instead of adding a button to fasten the cape I made 2 strips of bias binding and sewed them between the 2 layers.


Great for twirling in apparently :-)


And a little skirt and apron from some stash fabric: the gingham skirt is just a rectangle joined with a seam and an elasticised waist. Then I made the apron by sewing a lace trim to a piece of white cotton and adding a waistband with Velcro at the back. I added her white skivvy and she was excited to wear her favourite red shoes to school :-)


She then said she'd have to have a basket with red apples inside and a little cloth on top... well, I admire her attention to detail, though it did give me more running around to do (that seems to be a kid's job these days!!).


I'd definitely recommend the cape pattern to anyone looking for a play cape, it's a quick, easy sew with great results - lots of bang for your buck!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Handmade cuff


Last week I was due to start work on a design project for a friend's company (woo hoo, someone's going to employ me to do something useful again! And there's no child wrangling involved... wow). I wanted a new cuff to go with my outfit so I scouted around Google looking for tutorials to use as inspiration. And basically I found that strategically placed cuts were the way to go, and that as the cuff wraps around your wrist it forms a really nice shape.


I've had a few odd shaped scraps of leather hanging around for a little while, which I had bought with bag straps in mind. I found them at a little shop selling all sorts of bits and pieces and the lovely owner told me that they were offcuts from a shoemaker friend of hers who had been planning to throw them out. I only tend to use leather when it comes to me from another life - like the second hand jacket I cut up for slipper soles.


So I got out a few tools (scalpel, steel ruler, cutting mat, wooden button and waxed linen thread) and a short time later had myself a new cuff...


You just wrap it around your wrist twice and fasten.

And of course as tends to happen with us craft nut types, a couple of days later this one appeared ;-)...

IMG_2652 be an accessory for this dress.

Ah, don't you love a craft where no new equipment is needed, that uses upcycled materials and is fun?! It's so satisfying :-)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

UFO blitz

... that's UnFinished Objects of the sewing kind.


You know that feeling you get when you've got a cluttered desk - slightly out of control and just generally a bit unsettled? Well that's how I've been feeling about my sewing space, and I was just thinking about what to do about it when I read this post from Lladybird. The theme of her post is getting time to sew, but one point in particular resonated with me: Don't have UFOs!!

Now, I definitely do have UFO's, and they're not working for me... they're dragging me down mentally, cluttering my physical space and robbing me of all those new garments I could be enjoying wearing! Plus, my mental list of summer sewing is growing all the time and I can't, in good conscience, start on new projects with so many old ones hanging around. So... I'm challenging myself to get these all out of the way ASAP and I'm hoping you can help me stay honest by checking in on me ;-)

Here's my, um, quite substantial pile. Apologies if this is boring...

Pattern Sewaholic Thurlow trousers
Fabric Bottle green cotton drill
Stage of completion All cut and ready to go
Time in UFO pile About 3 months
Reason for procrastination Sheer terror at the thought of attempting my first zip fly
Ranking in priority High

Pattern Wiksten Tank top
Fabric Black cotton voile with contrast hand shibori dyed top section
Stage of completion Not yet started (so maybe not technically a UFO? But definitely a UFO in my mind!)
Time in UFO pile About 1 month
Reason for procrastination Concern over getting the shape of the top section right, hence not wrecking my precious shibori dyed fabric
Ranking in priority High


Pattern Simplicity 2226 skirt
Fabric Melody Miller Ruby Star Vinyl cotton/linen blend
Stage of completion Fabric cut
Time in UFO pile About 1 month
Reason for procrastination No so keen on the idea of this anymore - I had a vision for it, complete with a Briar in solid colour to wear with it, but I've gone off it
Ranking in priority Reasonably low


Pattern Wiksten Tank top again
Fabric Melody Miller Ruby Star Vinyl cotton/linen blend again (to use up the rest of the yardage I bought)
Stage of completion Fabric cut
Time in UFO pile About 1 month
Reason for procrastination Too many more 'urgent' UFOs in the pile
Ranking in priority Low


Pattern BurdaStyle Assymetric Jacket 03/2012
Fabric Navy blue mid weight linen
Stage of completion Fabric (almost) cut
Time in UFO pile About 2 months
Reason for procrastination Being totally sick of this pattern after having to add @#$%%^ seam allowance to the pdf pattern. Never again. I love the design of this jacket but am worried about not getting the seam allowances right. Oh, and the instructions are extremely brief... and there are about a million pieces... which I haven't finished cutting as I was sick of it = too hard!! But I love the fabric too. Oh dear.
Ranking in priority High in terms of desire to wear it, low in terms of desire to sew it!!


Pattern Elephants and Elegance bubble shorts (kids)
Fabric Chocolate brown linen
Stage of completion Half cut out
Time in UFO pile About 1 month
Reason for procrastination I hate to admit it but all the selfish sewing UFOs have been getting my attention: this is a present for a friend of my big girl's, which is now running very late.
Ranking in priority High due to guilt

I'm fully admitting here that the garment below is a no-goer (blogged here). I just can't seem to make it work, and am tired of trying. But I do love the fabric, so it will sit in the stash until an idea strikes...
So hopefully I'll start posting some of these finished projects here soon! And hopefully I won't need that labelled storage basket in the top pic. Wish me luck!

Do you have UFO's? I'd love to know.
Related Posts with Thumbnails