Thursday, 24 May 2018

Shirts beautiful shirts!

...and I'm back! It's been such a long time since I blogged but I've still been sewing. I just don't like taking photos in winter and then get out of the habit altogether. So what have I been sewing? Lots and lots of duplicates. I seem to be on a shirt marathon at the moment. I love a good shirt! Especially the Deer and Doe Melilot. I've made lots of short and long sleeves versions but I'll restrict the fun today to the long sleeved ones. And reveal my latest addiction. To Clothspot. I found a link to them on the Diary of a Chain Stitcher's blog and of course clicked through, keen to find out about a new online fabric shop. It's marvellous! All the fabric I've bought from them is lovely, good quality and reasonably priced. Also, they have a lot of breathable fibres and also some good bottom weight fabrics that can be difficult to find. I've found that if I order before lunch, they'll post it out that afternoon and I usually get the fabric the next day. Brilliant! Nope, they haven't paid me to endorse their products etc.


Back to the shirts. This first one I call my 'Semaphore shirt' because it looks like lots of tiny semaphore flags. I bought this from...yes it was Clothspot. It's a lovely, medium weight opaque viscose that drapes beautifully. The buttons were from my button tin and are the same size but different shades of  dark mud. Whatever the colour, they're craftily hidden by the semaphore print. Along with the wonky stitching on the sleeve placket that you can't see even in the close-up below. Result!


I think I added an inch to the body length of the shirt and probably 2 cms to the sleeve length #sewingtall. I was feeling they needed a little more length and I think this was a good call. I'll do the same for future versions. Let's face it, I'm not going to stop my personal 'Melilot factory'. I love when I get the adjustments right and can just run off another garment without adjusting.


This green cotton lawn version I made with a fabric from John Lewis. I think it was about £16 a metre and not quite 150cms wide when I bought it last year. The colour in the above photo is true to life, the close up below is just weird! Anyone noticed how the fabric department in John Lewis Edinburgh store has plummeted downhill? I rarely go now, there's no incentive of great fabric to make the journey worthwhile. 


Anyway, this version was made before the semaphore version and obviously before the lengthening adjustments. It doesn't stop me wearing it as I love the print and the colour. Why is it so difficult to find green fabric?

Coming shortly, the black corduroy quilted jacket, perfect for the Scottish summer!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Fashionably dark floral Melilot shirt


Ah, this is definitely my favourite shirt pattern ever, the Deer and Doe Melilot! I even have yet another one cut out at home so you'll see that one soon. It was interesting playing around with the pattern placement on that one! But anyway, back to this dark floral one which is apparently very 'on trend' for autumn winter. That'll be a first!

The fabric was from Edinburgh Fabrics and I suspect it's 100% polyester. But it's an acceptable polyester. Some are not. It was quite easy to work with and seems to take a pressing very well. Anyway I bought the fabric without having a plan in my head about what to make with it. I just knew I had to have the fabric.


I used lightweight iron on charcoal interfacing and the buttons were salvaged from my button tin. The sleeve buttons are different from the front buttons. The seams were for the most part sewn on my overlocker but my new sewing machine was used sometimes too. It does really good buttonholes!


This time I followed the instructions and sewed the hem before sewing up the side seams and the finish is good. It keeps the hem beautifully curved. And that's about all I have to say about this new shirt except that it gets washed and worn almost weekly and because it's polyester it doesn't need ironing. What a marvellous shirt!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Lekala skirt and New Look 6217 slightly altered lace and linen top


I made this outfit a wee while ago and took it on holiday to Spain in June. Boy was it hot weather and natural fibres were essential! I tried some Lekala patterns last year and this pencil skirt is one of those. Lekala entice you in by creating sewing patterns according to the measurements, fit and body shape details that you enter into their website. Wait for a few minutes and the personalised pattern appears in your inbox. And they're very reasonably priced too, just a few dollars, which seems a good buy to me!


My advice is to measure yourself and be honest when entering those numbers! Although I do wonder if the software adds a little extra ease to make up for stretching the truth, but not the measuring tape. This happened to me and the skirt is a bit generous. I tried it on during the making process but I should have taken it in a little bit.


Also, this skirt, and other styles I've made, are only just long enough. My height is all in my legs, that's for sure, so I should have measured the pattern and adjusted. These patterns are great starting points but you might need to make a few tiny tweaks to get the fit just right for you. Having said that, I've bought and sewn up three Lekala skirts of different styles (two are unblogged) and would thoroughly recommend them. Well, except for Lekala instructions which are very brief. Sometimes there aren't any instructions and sometimes they're in Russian, not English.

If this skirt looks very familiar, it is, because I used the same fabric to make into a shirt here. I won't be wearing them both at the same time! I lined the skirt with black bemberg rayon, oh how I love this lining! Can't go back to polyester now. It was an easy make with no problem.


The top was made from remnants of black linen from these trousers and black lace I'd bought in a sale. The bias binding around the neckline is made from the black linen and works well to stabilise the unstable lace.


I used the old favourite New Look 6217 pattern and drafted two new pattern pieces for the lace. It's worked out very well. I used the overlocker for most of the construction, overlocking the sleeve edge and turning it up, then machine stitching the hem. For the lower hem I think I overlocked the edge then turned up an inch before machining the hem.    


So there we have it, a complete outfit that I've even worn in summer-averse Scotland. Have you tried Lekala patterns? Tempted?

Friday, 18 August 2017

The marvellous Kalle shirt in merlot linen


After my mixed feelings on my green Closet Case Carolyn pyjamas, I already had the Kalle shirt pattern downloaded and stuck together. The merlot linen was purchased from Edinburgh Fabrics for about £14 a metre, prewashed and I was good to go. I absolutely love the finished shirt! This is a great pattern and produces a lovely garment with a high quality finish both on the outside and inside. 

Now, as I show you these photos of my tunic/shirt, keep in mind that I'm 5'9" tall (or 1.75m for metric folk) and remember, I didn't add any length to this. In fact, what you see is the size 14 sewn up without any alterations made to the pattern. At all. Heather's advice was choose the size based on the bust measurement, so that's what I did. Good advice.


I tried the burrito method of encasing the yoke and this time it worked out for me, although it was very strange and took some figuring out. Just do what the instructions tell you, look at the diagrams and put your trust in Heather's knowledge. The first time I tried it, on a muslin for the Kelly anorak which may or may not get sewn this year, it didn't work out and the shoulder seams were on the outside. Ah well, that's what a muslin's for, isn't it?


For the hem, I didn't want to make bias binding from this fabric. It would be too rigid and too bulky. I tried the baby hem, as suggested in the pattern but like Goldilocks, this just wasn't right either and didn't sit well at the hip curve. So I used the front and back pattern pieces to cut 3" wide facings. I overlocked the side seams together, then finished the top edge with the overlocker. I then joined the facing to the hem with the overlocker, turned the facing to the inside and topstitched about 2.5" from the finished edge. It's worked beautifully and adds some weight to the hem which gives it a certain movement that you can feel when walking. I think this treatment suits a heavier fabric like linen and I'd do it again.

I used black iron-on lightweight interfacing on the collar and button and buttonhole bands. I was swithering between lightweight and medium-weight but I reckoned I could do two layers of lightweight if it was too insignificant. I'm so glad I went with one layer of lightweight. It's beefy enough on the linen but isn't too rigid, thank goodness. I don't like seeing collars that 'fly' due to heavy interfacing.


I love the buttons. I finished the shirt and had a good investigation of my button tin but nothing grabbed me. So I took the shirt and went off to Edinburgh Fabrics where I found these little beauties. They're just right for this shirt! The collar is also the right size for me to wear it comfortably buttoned up, which is a new look for me. I like it!


Currently the shirt is on a wash and wear cycle, which says it all really. I could also be frantically trying to wear it as much as I can before summer ends which in Scotland will be in about two weeks time! Did I say I love this shirt?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Short sleeved Melilot shirt...in some kind of animal print


And underneath the wonderful orangey-red raincoat from last week, I was wearing my new obsession, the short sleeved Deer and Doe Melilot shirt. The orangey-red blobs seem to match perfectly with the colour of the raincoat (unintentional!). 

I bought the fabric from Mandors in Glasgow earlier this year. It's a lovely cotton poplin pique with not too much, not too little, just the right amount of stretch to it. 


I've already made a pencil skirt (unblogged) from this fabric and had enough to experiment by making this too. Try something new, I say! I won't be wearing them together, that would just be too much and I suspect this shirt will be washed and worn to shreds long before the skirt. I used black buttons from my button tin so the shirt really cost me very little. 


I absolutely love it! And the bonus is that I can button the collar up too, if I want to. With my swimmer's shoulders/arms/neck that usually isn't possible without potentially damaging my health. This rounded collar is the perfect size to wear buttoned up all day, if I want to.


The kimono sleeves mean there's no setting in of the sleeves and no cuff placket to sew, although there is a sleeve cuff. Even with the intricacies of a collar to sew up, this was a fairly fast sew, all things considered. I have to say it helps if you've already got the adjustments perfected from a previous version. This is a 'new thing' for me to try, a new shape and with the buttoned up collar, something I never thought would suit me, but I think it does. I absolutely love it! There will be more...

Thursday, 3 August 2017

An orangey-red raincoat...perfect for the Scottish summer!

'Action shot' of the raincoat successfully keeping me dry
This year's been pretty quiet on my blog for a few reasons. I put my flat up for sale at the start of the year and just didn't have the time to do any sewing at all. It all ended well though, with the flat selling very quickly, as they usually do in Edinburgh. I also finally cut into some expensive (£35.99 a metre!!!) but lovely fabric I bought in London in Berwick Street, last October. I think it was from The Cloth Shop. It's a lovely orangey-red colour and is waterproof, although I didn't bother taping the seams during the jacket construction. The fabric is a lovely weight, very dense and pin/needle holes are definitely permanent!

It's not raining

Back view. Still not raining
 I used the Waffle Patterns Tosti jacket pattern that I've used before here and lengthened it considerably. I was going for 'sensible' and 'practical' with this jacket! I didn't add a drawstring to the waist just because this fabric is so dense and quite heavy and I didn't think that would work out at all.

Collar needing a snap or two
When it rains here it gets a bit cool. Even in summer. So I added a quilted lining using 2oz polyester batting and quilted it to the polyester lining fabric. Quilters, look away now! I'm not a quilter so I basically sewed straight-ish lines of sewing over the lining and batting. Don't look closely, the lines are very wavy!

In the construction I used horsehair iron on interfacing for the collar, facings and shoulder tabs. There are metal snaps on the shoulder tabs but I haven't added them to the front storm flaps yet and actually the more I wear it the less inclined I am to add them. The collar does look like it needs a snap or two so I'll probably add one or two. It's also very difficult to punch through two layers of this fabric plus interfacing to add the snaps.

Action shot of zip
I lined the pockets and also added some medium weight iron on interfacing. I changed the pocket design from bellows pockets to patch pockets. Bellows pockets would be too difficult to sew in this fabric. I also added a coat loop for hanging it up.


Quick repair on frayed lining at the right shoulder snap
Well, now you know what's been keeping me busy! This jacket was definitely a Big Project but I'm really happy with how it's turned out and I've been wearing it lots (unfortunately!) as some days we seem to have monsoon rain that just doesn't stop. Basically, weather in Scotland is very changeable and one day can be lovely and sunny, the next can have grey skies and rain.

I love the Waffle Tosti pattern. It fits and it's a good, modern style which is a great solid pattern that you could use with a wide range of fabrics. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's brilliant and the instructions are really detailed. And did I say I love the colour of my new jacket!

Monday, 17 July 2017

A couple of Sutton tops


Not the most flattering photo I've ever taken but it demonstrates exactly how much I love the True Bias Sutton pattern. So much so, that I made two black ones before going on holiday to Spain last month. Yes, I was on a bit of a sewing-production-line! I bought two meters of black viscose fabric from Edinburgh Fabrics and cut out a plain black Sutton. I have coveted this version for a few years so of course I decided to copy it! That's how the two black Suttons came about.


The only really fiddly bit is sewing the bias binding onto the lace around the neck. That takes some patience and some time to do correctly but the effort is worthwhile. I sewed the plain black Sutton using french seams throughout. 


For the lace version I used french seams when sewing viscose to viscose but if lace was involved I overlocked those seams. I felt that trying to french seam lace was just too much of a challenge!


For the sleeve hems I overlocked the hem edges, then turned the overlocked edge to the wrong side, and straight stitched the hem. Job done! I absolutely love these two and have been washing and wearing them almost weekly. The thing I love about this pattern is that it sits where you put it. There's no adjusting it through the day when you're wearing it and the v-necked front doesn't make a dive for the floor when you bend slightly over. It just works. That surely must be the sign of a great pattern!