Friday, 10 March 2017

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat...or how I managed to rescue a cutting mistake

These are probably also the last photos from my mini-series, the Christmas Tree collection! Never one to waste some good mediocre photos I thought I'd just use them anyway. Call it thrift!

So, yes I made this during the festive break and I like how it's turned out. I haven't worn it yet but that's because I think it's a summer print that's not for steel-grey coloured cloudy skies of Scotland in the winter. What's the cutting mistake? Can you guess? It's staring you right in the face...the central vertical line. That's actually a piece of fabric overlocked to a left front and right front pattern piece. Normally you'd cut this pattern piece on the fold but because of the stripes I was aiming to cut this in a single layer. Except...I cut around one side of the front pattern piece...and then instead of flipping the pattern piece over and cutting around the other side...I started cutting UP the front towards the neckline. So I had two fronts. *sigh*

I was a tad annoyed...until eventually I thought about cutting a strip of fabric and overlocking it to the front pieces. Problem solved, a wearable garment created and actually, I really like it. The fabric is a cotton jersey with a little bit of lycra in it that I bought months ago from Edinburgh Fabrics. The pattern is one I've made before, Simplicity 1463 . I was careful about the pattern placement for the neckband and sleeve bands and the neck band is a smidgeon too long but I've noticed this before with this pattern. The hem is finished with a twin needle. 

All in all, quite a simple top. Have you ever rescued something from a howler of a mistake or disaster?

Monday, 13 February 2017

Velvet t-shirt

I've been so busy with a large amount of 'un-fun' stuff that hasn't involved sewing that I'm only just now getting around to blogging a few more makes from the end of 2016 and the start of 2017. You'll see what I mean by the Christmas decorations in the photos! Oh well, I know you're here for the sewing, so that's good.

I bought 'Sew' magazine and got a free New Look pattern. Who doesn't like that?! So I thought I'd use it to make myself a velvet t-shirt/top. I also found some teal coloured stretch velour in John Lewis and bought some of that. It was my first time sewing velvet/velour but I didn't have much of a problem sewing this up. Then again, my walking foot is permanently attached to my sewing machine so that probably helped a lot. I didn't want machined hems so I hand stitched the sleeve and body hems.

Can you imagine using bias tape to finish the neck on this?! There lies insanity! I drafted some front and back neck facings and used some iron-on stretch jersey interfacing. And do you know what? It was absolutely fine and didn't show any flattening of the pile. Maybe that shows how resilient polyester is! I would not treat silk velvet in that way.

What I didn't do, and I put this down to my laziness so this is entirely my fault, I didn't do a full bust adjustment and I really should have. I used the overlocker for most of the seams and inserted the sleeves flat as I always do if it's humanly possible. I also used a clear crystal vintage button from my button tin at the back neck. However the neck is large enough, and the fabric has some stretch, so I can pull it over my head. That's just as well because the rouleau loop I successfully managed to turn inside out (using that strange wire-tool-with-a-hook-at-the-end) for the first time ever in my life, is too bulky to stay closed over the button. So I sewed the button loop almost closed.

Do I like this top? It's ok. I haven't worn it since these photos but it's been very cold here in Edinburgh so that's not a surprise. I also think I've gone off the fabric too. However, I will use this pattern again though, and make myself do an FBA. There is always space in my wardrobe for a good top pattern!  

Friday, 6 January 2017

Lots and lots of plain tops

It hit me one day that my wardrobe is full of lovely patterned garments and I also have lots of lovely patterned scarves too. You can see where this is heading, can't you? With lots of patterned tops hanging in my wardrobe and sitting in my drawers I only had about three plain coloured tops. Time to do something about that! So over the festive holiday I sewed up quite a few and also bought fabric to make more (which I haven't yet started).

I used two patterns for the tops and this proved very useful as I found I could get two tops on two metres of fabric. Result! The first pattern was one I traced off from a favourite RTW top. I've made it before here and here. The other pattern I used was Simplicity 1463 that I've also made twice before, here and here.

The grey and black jersey fabrics are all viscose jersey with a little lycra and I think I bought them from John Lewis. The burgundy fabric is a similar weight and thickness but has some non-scratchy wool in it so it's lovely and cosy. I bought it from Remnant Kings in Glasgow in September. Have to remember to select wool wash on the washing machine though!

You'll see from the middle photo above that I had to cut the back piece for the grey Simplicity pattern version as two pieces and have a seam up the back but it looks fine. My favourite from these five tops (one black, two burgundy and two grey) is the one I'm wearing in the top photo which is from the pattern I traced. I don't have a pattern piece for the neck band but I've now developed my own method for working out how much to cut. I roughly measure the neck circumference which is usually 26", subtract 2" to tighten the band up and give it the right amount of stretch around the neck. It works for me. For the record, and for future me sewing this up again, I cut a strip of fabric 1.5" wide. I like this narrower band. Body and sleeve hems were turned up and stitched using my twin needle. I didn't do any twin needle stitching on the neck band. I like it just turned and pressed and it's behaving very well as it is.

So there we are, not exciting but essential and tops that I'll wear loads. Some good, solid practical sewing!