Tuesday 23 February 2016

Notch Collar Jacket in Scuba Jersey

Be warned: This will be a picture heavy post.

Pattern: This is the simple sew notch collar jacket. The pattern was part of the Love Sewing magazine issue 21.

Fabric: Scuba jersey - I only bought it because of the big purple flowers. I was/am not convinced by the feel of this fabric and I'm still not sure I would like to wear it on my skin. I bought it last summer in Walthamstow market, London. I can't remember the exact price but I don't think it was more than £3.50/meter.

The friend who was with me when I bought it explained I could make every pattern from it. However, being at home all by myself, I was not that sure anymore and thus the fabric has been sitting in my stash ever since. When the notch collar jacket pattern came along I just knew the jacket would look lovely in that fabric. (it might have helped that the jacket on the magazine cover is also made from a flower fabric, haha)

I was not that sure about the sewing practicalities, as in general jerseys do not press that well and this jacket involves loads of pressing as it has a full facing and a notch collar. But, I had nothing to loose and just plunged in.

Alterations: I did all the alterations I mentioned in my wearable muslin post, so have a look there if you are interested.

Sewing: The jacket was mostly sewn on my overlocker. I only attached the facing and sewed the sleeve hems with my sewing machine. Again, I understitched the facing wherever possible and graded the seams to encourage the facing to fold towards the inside of the jacket. Loads of pressing and steaming was involved as well.

Despite my efforts the facing didn't want to stay inside thus I slip stitched it by hand all the way around. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Despite the scuba jersey being on the bulky side, the outline of the jacket looks neat and sharp, yeah.

Have I worn it yet? Yes, a couple of times. It is the most comfiest jacket ever thanks to the scuba jersey! Freedom of movement! There is only one problem. I don't have clothes to wear the jacket with. Again. The moment I had finished the jacket, I run to my wardrobe and started to pull clothes out only to find that none of them really go with the jacket. The best fit is actually my polka dot Coco.

Seeing these photographs, it looks like the notches of the collar are different heights. I just had another look at the jacket and they aren't, phew.

How about you? Have you sewn with scuba jersey or are you planning to do so? Please share :)

Monday 15 February 2016

Bettine in Jersey

Pattern: Bettine Dress by Tilly and the Buttons.

Fabric: This time I made it in jersey as suggested by Tilly. It is a really thin jersey and I got it for £3/m from Walthamstow market, London. I bought it because I was lured in by the color and the flowers, but was not sure what to make with it. But I think Bettine is the perfect match, because the drapy qualities of the fabric suit Bettine well.

Alterations: This is already my third version (see V1 and V2). My last two versions were made from woven fabric and I had problems with the underarms ripping when bending forwards. So the jersey fabric was kind of a cheat to avoid this! (But don't fret, I'm still determined to solve that problem!)

The original pattern comes with a facing, Tilly however, has a tutorial on her blog about how to add the neckband instead of the facing. It is super easy to follow and my neckband turned out great first time. The only thing I'm not 100% happy with, is the hem. I had to iron it for these photos because it is all wonky. The twin needle and thin jerseys are not really good friends in my hand. And I was to lazy to stabilise the hem with fusible interfacing...next time.

Will I make it again? Can I hear you groaning, hehe? I really love this pattern. It is very easy and fast to sew. Even I can manage to make it in one day and that usually never happens! So I will definitively be tempted to make it again come summer *I'm daydreaming here. Warm days, hmmm*

Sunday 7 February 2016

Simple Sew: Notch Collar Jacket

Last year I was struggling to find sewing inspiration. Even all the beautiful makes I saw on other blogs couldn't inspire me. That changed in December when I got hold of the December issue 21 of "Love Sewing" magazine

On the cover was a beautiful notch collar jacket. It might have helped that there were flowers on the fabric *cough*. And I have a scuba jersey with similar flowers on it. Perfect. The jacket does not have any fastenings, no lining and no complicated collar. So as the pattern says, it should be simple to sew!

However, before cutting into my precious scuba jersey, I made a wearable muslin and that's what I'm showing you today. So bear that in mind when spotting the imperfections. If you wonder why I show you this muslin, let me tell you: I love it despite it's imperfections.

Size: I cut a size 8 at the bust, 10 at the waist and 12 at the hips. 

Fabric: Left-over denim that I bought 6 years ago in Cloth House in Soho, London. Hm, writing this, makes me wonder if I ever washed it, gulp.

Alterations: Before cutting out the pattern, I made some flat pattern alterations. 1) 5/8" forward shoulder adjustment: I added 5/8" to the back shoulder seam and removed the same amount from the front shoulder seam. 2) To accommodate my broad shoulders, I lengthened the shoulder seam line by 1" (ending at size 16 for the shoulder length). Then I redrew the armhole seam line so that it connected with the size 8 seam line at the arm pits. I did that for front and back bodice. 

3) Now the question was, which sleeve size do I need? Thus I measured the length of the armhole seam line of the front and back bodice. I also measured the length of the sleeve cap and to my surprise found that the size 8 sleeve cap had only 1/2" ease and would thus nicely fit into my armhole. As I had done a forward shoulder adjustment on my bodice, I also moved the shoulder point on the sleeve cap 5/8" forward. I used this tutorial by Phat Chick Designs for the forward sleeve adjustment - one of the best ones I've found so far.

4) I also moved the bust dart down by 1" which seems to be one of my standard alterations with every pattern I'm sewing.

I then cut the jacket and as you might notice from the photographs had more adjustments to do! The problem was that the front bodice was not hanging straight but tilted towards the back. So basically the side seams where running towards the back at the bottom. I managed to solve that problem by pinching out some fabric at the neckline - so these are the darts that you can see on the photographs. 

I know they are not the prettiest, but I don't care. They are doing their job and I was able to pinch out the same amount from the paper pattern. I also had to change the facing. As I had the facing already cut, I had to pinch out a dart there as well. Hence the slightly ugliness.

Construction: Sewing was straightforward and I finished all seams with my overlocker. The instructions didn't say, but I understitched the facing. I also hand-stitched most of it to the main fabric because it just didn't want to stay inside the jacket. I also attached the pockets, although I have to admit I prefer the jacket without. 

Have I worn it yet? I have worn the jacket once and have to admit it is not the comfiest one. My arm movements are quite restricted towards the front. It might be because the jacket is made from denim. Or because I have to add some more fabric to the back in the shoulder area. Or both :)

Nonetheless, I really like the jacket, because it goes with so many of my clothes. I'm sure it will get loads of wear as soon as temperatures are rising. I especially like how this jacket looks with my McCalls Shirt Dress that I made 2 years ago - yep it is still alive. So how about you? Would you wear a wearable muslin or a not so perfect garment in public?

Sunday 31 January 2016

Last years Bettine Dress

Pattern: Bettine Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. It is already my second version - my first version I made for our Honeymoon.

Fabric: This time I used a very drapy viscose. I think I got it from Walthamstow Market last autumn. As always when I see a fabric with butterflies on it - I just can't leave without it. I tried, but came back at the end of the shopping trip. I knew immediately that it would be perfect for Bettine!

Alterations: I have some minor fitting issues with my first Bettine. A) it is too short, B) it rips under the arms when I try to bend and stretch forward, and C) the shoulder seams slip backwards. The length was easy to fix, I just added 4 cm to the pattern. For the shoulder seams, I added 1.5 cm to the back shoulder seam tapering to nothing towards the sleeve and removed the same amount from the front shoulder seam. Tapering again to nothing towards the sleeve. As you will see in the photos, the shoulder seam is still slipping backwards.

Lastly, I did a broad upper back adjustment and added 1 cm to the front and back bodice in the shoulder area. I'm not sure if this adjustment is actually the right one for me because I have a narrow back. The problem of ripping underarm seams is not completely solved yet, as they still tend to rip if I'm not careful (although there is some more give). I guess the actual problem are my broad shoulders, so I have to look into fitting these.

For this version I also added the optional sleeve taps and small white buttons that came from my Kiev shed find. I didn't make the pocket version as I felt the fabric is not stable enough.

Have I worn it yet? I did loads in autumn and I really love the fabric. It is super soft! However being so soft can also be disadvantageous. I noticed already that something weird was going on with the fabric when I tried to straighten it before cutting it out. I was using the thread pull method to identify the grain. I did not pull hard but the thread kept breaking. Not snapping but just disintegrating.

So, when I was wearing the dress the first time after a couple of hours I noticed pulled threads on the front of the skirt! The culprit was my kitchen table. The wood of the table apparently pulled the threads out. Leaving white spaces behind where the thread had been before. That has never happened to me before. With none of my garments.

I'm still wearing it because the marks are not that visible but they are there (you can actually see them on most photographs). Has anything like that happened to you before? I have not sewn with soft viscose much, so maybe it is a usual feature of this fabric? Or maybe it is just bad quality...

Sunday 24 January 2016

Foxy Coco

Thanks a lot for all your lovely comments last week. I had a rummage through my wardrobe and have indeed found a few of the colors that you suggested I should wear with my black and white polka dot sweater. I would have taken some pictures to show you, but with it raining all weekend there is just not enough light! So, be patient :)

Fabric: A thick sweater knit with fleece on the inside (you might remember it from my last weeks make - Moneta Sweater). I bought it from Yakhlaf Stoffen - a fabric store in Albert Cuypstraat in Amsterdam. The shop had a lovely choice of sweater knits and jerseys (so difficult to decide which one to buy) and the sweater knits were only 8.95 Euros/meter.

Pattern: Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. It's already my third version (version 1 and version 2), but I'm still tweaking it for a better fit! The fabric is a bit stiff so I imagined it would hold the A-line shape of Coco very well. It does!

For this version of Coco, I decided to sew a simple turned neckline which I stabilised with hem tape before sewing. I love to use hem tape for knits - to stabilise not only hems but necklines and cuffs that are only turned over. The hem tape prevents them from stretching out and also makes sewing much easier. Nonetheless my sewing machine had troubles to sew the neckline at the shoulder seams. With the fabric being so thick it took some convincing to get over the seams.

Alterations: You will notice as with my previous versions, I added two back darts to mimic the shape of my sway back. I also shaved off some excess fabric from the front and back armholes as well as from the sleeves. I think I could have removed even more as there is still a fabric bulge close to the armpit.

Embellishments: I added a little fox embroidery to make the dress more interesting (and yes it is a fox and no cat, mum). A fox came to my mind because, obviously, the dress is orange. On google I found this adorable little fellow - he is a free pattern - from Alicia and just had to have him on my dress.

I've pencil copied the fox on some piece of thin fusible interfacing and then fused the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. The interfacing added some stability as well. I then used two threads of embroidery thread and with some difficulties started to embroider. The curios thing with embroidering such a heavy knit is, that the needle does not go in and come out at the same position. I had to unpick a lot until I was satisfied with the result. The dress has been in the wash several times and so far the fox is still staying on. No unraveling of stitches, phew.

Have I worn it? Yes, I've worn the dress almost every week since I made it in November! It is really warm and cosy as you would expect from a sweater knit. There is only one annoying thing: when walking the dress sticks to my thighs and starts to ride up in the front. I'm not sure if this is because the dress is (too) short or because of the fabric. I've noticed that it is not as bad when I walk slowly, but unfortunately I'm a fast walker!

Saturday 16 January 2016

Sweater Mania

I'm having a massive shortage of sweaters in my wardrobe. Especially sweaters that I can wear with my high-waisted skirts. But you know how it is, basics usually end up at the end of the sewing list. Not anymore.

Before Christmas I decided it is time to overcome that sweater shortage and dug out my Colette Moneta dress pattern. Colette patterns have a great tutorial on their website showing how to turn the Moneta bodice into a vintage-style sweater.

I've made the Moneta once before (here) and struggled with the big sleeves. This time I substituted the sleeves with the sleeves from my Tilly and the Buttons pattern Coco - the sleeves fit me much better. I also copied over the armholes to make sure the sleeves will fit.

Although not perfect (yet) I'm more than happy with the result: three sweaters :) and all are made from leftovers! (Although not all of the main projects have made it to the blog)

Sweater No 1: Made from an orange sweater fabric (it has fleece on the inside) with beige rib knit for the waist and cuffs. The neckline is only turned and stitched with a zigzag stitch. I found it quite hard to find a color that goes with the orange and think my color combination is a bit retro (but very autumny). The sweater goes best with my Colette Beignet which I'm wearing in the pictures. I've made a Coco from the fabric, it is already photographed so you will see it soon.

Sweater No 2: I've made the Oslo Sweater (Seamwork) from this fabric and sadly didn't like the outcome at all (I think the Oslo in this fabric is just not my style). But I do love this sweater. For the waist and cuffs I used the wrong side of the fabric to have a bit of a contrast. Also I added a neckband to stabilise the neckline. For this version I made another change: I tightened the sleeves as they were massive on me. They don't look as massive on my version 1, because the orange sweater fabric is much more stable than this blue (ikat?) knit. This sweater goes best with my denim Delphine skirt.

Sweater No 3: This was the sweater I was most looking forward to. Because I've made a Coco from the fabric that I love (here). But for some reason I have not fallen in love with this sweater. It might be that I have troubles to pair it up with any of the garments I have. I'm wearing it in these pictures with an old H&M chiffon skirt. Lescha doesn't like this combination at all. I think it goes well together and the outfit looks very 1970s. This is probably enhanced by the rolled collar. So far I hadn't the courage to wear the outfit in public. Any suggestion what you would wear with this sweater?

In other news: As I said in my last blog post, we were house hunting for the last couple of month. Beginning of November we've made an offer that got accepted. However, the chain here moves rather slowly so we haven't moved yet. But because of all the house buying stress, I was depressed and not in the mood to look at my sewing machine at all (I'm one of these people who get easily overwhelmed with big projects - it reminded me of certain phases when I was sewing my wedding dress). Hence my absence from the blog. I'm much more relaxed now (probably because we can't do anything anyway) so I've made a couple of things that I want to share with you. Happy sewing ;)

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