Tuesday 21 August 2018

Ballet Wrap Top with Oliver + S

This was a fun idea that came out of the Oliver + S Facebook group and a request for a tutorial to create a wrap tie cardigan.

I had a good long think about this one as I knew I wanted the bottom band and the ties to be continuous and cleanly finished. It worked really nicely in the end and the full photographed tutorial is up on the Oliver + S blog now.

Click on the image below to go to the tutorial:

The first version I made was with a remnant of some of the "maille merveilleuse" I bought from Mamzelle Fourmi a few years ago. It is lovely, thick, squishy cotton knit.

I cannot, for the life of me work out how the bottom band and the ties all seem to be one piece. The fabric is simply not wide enough to allow that, yet it certainly seems to be the case. Some bit of cutting magic that with the passing of time since I made it, I absolutely can not explain. Shrug.

Edit: In adding the Mamzelle Fourmi link above I noticed the fabric is a "tissu en tres grand largeur" measuring a whopping 185cm wide. 

I gave A the choice of whether it should tie at the side or the back and she chose the side, telling me that it would be uncomfortable in the car or sitting in a chair if the bow was at the back. Fair enough.

Yet since I've made it, she seems to want to wrap it crazy tight around her so that it's almost like a strait-jacket and then ties it at the back anyway. That's irritated me and we've ended up bickering about how it should be worn, hence it's not getting worn all that much. Silly me.

The second one that I made for the Oliver + S tutorial used the final colourway of the retro double sided knit that I found at Fabric Deluxe. (previous makes with this fabric are here, here and here)

I haven't any modelled photos of this one yet, but they'll come I'm sure as winter seems to be sticking around for a while longer.

Both tops were based on the size 8 School Bus T-shirt. The first version has sleeve cuffs added as the fabric length was insufficient for the required sleeve length.

It was a fun exercise to nut out the tutorial. They're great tops and I know, once I start ignoring how she wears them, they'll get plenty of use. If you're curious about turning a T-shirt into a wrap cardigan, check out the tutorial.

Sunday 12 August 2018

B6244 Coat - 2 way street

From the moment I saw this pattern I knew I wanted to make it up. I just had to find the right wool....

Given the pattern came out in 2015, it would be fair to say I was prepared to wait for the perfect fabric.

The pattern is Lisette for Butterick B6244, a very simple, but beautifully shaped, open coat. I was looking for a wool that would be suitably warm, didn't need lining, had a nice reverse face - or double sided for the bonus! - and had the lovely drape that this coat requires.

Armed with a generous gift voucher and the ever encouraging Blogless Anna at my side I hit up Tessuti where I found this perfect double sided boiled wool. I passed over the Prada one next to it that was more than twice it's price and bought 2.2 metres (that's relevant and you'll see why later) of which my voucher covered almost half. Ouch.

Then the challenge was to decide which way I wanted to have it. A charcoal coat with navy accents, or navy coat with charcoal... I wore it around the house like a blanket over a few days and I was leaning towards the grey. An Instagram poll had that option slightly ahead, but of course some funny wag suggested making it fully reversible. Yeah, like I'd ever try and do that.... ;)

I'm going to confess to being really bad-ass and not making a muslin. Kind of perverse when dealing with such expensive wool but I was just too exited and wanted to jump in. I did the super scientific thing of trawling other people's makes and then measuring myself and sizing down by one size anyway.

So this is a size 12 (I measured exactly the 14) with 1" of extra sleeve length added. Both the one size smaller and the extra sleeve length I borrowed from Justine of SewCountryChick - which makes no sense as I've never met her and have no idea how our arm length compares, but it just seemed like a good idea. And it's perfect, thank Justine!

The thing that really appealed to me about this pattern is the finishing. It uses flat felled seams almost everywhere and is hemmed. I realise it would be easy to leave a wool coating un-hemmed, and maybe that might even be better for a double sided wool coating but I just don't like it. I want to feel like I'm wearing a blanket, but I don't want to feel like I've chopped up a blanket and barely sewn it together. I need hems.

So, the funny wag on Instagram who suggested flat felling every seam?.... Well I thought it wouldn't work as there are vertical darts from the shoulder down towards the bust and if they were going to be visible, the coat would never be truly reversible. But after I'd sewn the collar (there's a photo tutorial here if you find that tricky) I realised the open lapels of the collar would always hide that dart.

So it really could be reversible....

All it took was to flat fell the sleeve head seams as well. Of course the flat felled seams never look quite as good from their wrong side as their right side, but still perfectly wearable at a pinch.

The wool was absolutely lovely to sew. Don't ever be afraid of sewing good quality wool. It doesn't fray, it presses beautifully and stitches like a hot needle through butter. To flat fell the seams is not hard. The sleeves need to be done in two directions, mostly from the sleeve head down, but then a bit from the hem end up. After flat felling the plastic, narrow, laminate, tubes-of-hell of this coat, no flat felled sleeve seam will ever seem hard.

So, why did it matter to tell you I bought 2.2metres of this wool?
Well, the pattern suggested I'd need between 2&3/8ths and 2&1/2 yards (size 12 to 14). In fact I only used 2metres exactly and had an odd shaped remnant that was the full 150cm width and between 20 and 40cm deep.

I got very exited about how to use up the leftovers and actually ended up doing all of this sewing before sewing up the coat.

First up, a size small Genoa Tote:

This time I used the navy face of the fabric as my main side.

I found some leftover navy striped cotton for the lining and a floral cotton for the pocket. Not my usual super-plain style but I absolutely ADORE the inside of this bag.

Even the zip was in my stash so I was feeling pretty good about the use of leftovers here. I underlined the wool with a stiff interfacing and so the bag has good structure and can pretty much stand up by itself.

I scrounged around and found a D-ring and an old lanyard clip for the key chain.

Then I went to Leffler Leather for some straps - not realising they don't sell portions of hides, just whole pieces. Luckily the guy thought to show me these pre-made navy straps. The thin, navy leather is glued around the strapping and then stitched. They're perfect and I think they look more formal than plain leather straps, which suits the wool bag perfectly. I blew the project out of the water by buying the straps, a multi-size leather hole punch and a whole packet of rivets, but hey, it had to be finished somehow.

And I still had a bit of wool left over.

Just enough for a little pair of slippers! :)

The pattern is Happy Feet by Favorite Things. Each pattern piece is cut from two layers of the double sided wool, so a total of eight uppers and four soles, and I had just enough. I've previously made this pattern for the kids but this was the first time for a grown up. I was a bit baffled by the instructions on how to choose a size. It recommended putting ones heel against the back line and then allowing an extra inch at the toe....

Yet the different pattern sizes were all nested inside one another and so the back heel lines were not together. It seemed that to have the 1" clearance I needed the size L adult. It struck me as odd since the largest size was XL and the pattern suggested it covered men's feet as well. I know I have fairly big feet (size 40), but surely not the second biggest?

And the answer was no, not the second biggest. These slippers, while incredibly warm and seriously soft and cosy are just a bit too big to stay on my feet.

I've passed them on to someone who I may have insulted by indicating that her feet would fill them better than mine. But since I neglected to add any non slip stuff to the soles, I prefer to imagine she doesn't care 'cause she's having a blast sliding around the kitchen with really warm toes!

Of course I didn't get a photo of the coat, bag and slippers all together. It was never meant to be an ensemble! But if you see me out and about before winter is out you're guaranteed to see either the bag, or coat, or both.

Patterns: B6244 View A, Genoa Tote by Blogless Anna, Happy Feet by Favorite Things
Sizes: Coat: 12, Bag: S, Slippers: L
Modifications: Coat: 1" extra sleeve length. Flat felled everything.
Fabric: Charcoal/navy double sided boiled wool from Tessuti (sold out it seems, but the Prada one is still there ;) )

Friday 3 August 2018

Field Trip Raglans

Along with new trousers, P was in need of some long sleeved Ts for winter.

If you've read even one blog post about sewing for this kid you'll know it's all about sleeve length :) That's certainly the first thing that is outgrown with every long sleeved t-shirt. I should just shorten last year's winter tops to make next year's summer Ts - mental note to self.

These T-shirts are the Field Trip Raglan T in size 10, traced off when I had the pattern out to make the pants. If I remember rightly I added about 2" of extra sleeve length, but I should make the note to myself that this pattern does not run as short in the sleeves as the School Bus t-shirt. I can easily add about 3-4" to that one!

Both fabrics were lovely gifts from Sarah  (@fabrictragic) who had received them through an error in ordering and was allowed to keep them. They weren't her thing and she was intending to take them along to the Fabric ReStash Melbourne. When she heard I wasn't coming she pulled these couple of fabrics (and another) aside for me. She picked right as they're perfect for my kind of kid sewing. P loves them!

Both fabrics are merino wool blends. This blue one is a kind of double knit with a thin blue merino knit backed onto a slightly ribbed white weave knit.

I decided to use the reverse side of the fabric for the pocket and neckband. Then I thought it might be fun to give it a distressed edge look. The pocket is cut without the seam allowances and while the top edge is finished the other edges are just stitched on with a twin needle and left raw.

It took a bit of thinking to work out how to do the neckband and not have the lumpy seam inside the folded neckband. The neckband was sewn into a loop and then attached to the top, right sides together with only one of the neckbands raw edges sewn with the overlocker. Then the seam allowances were pressed away from the neckband and the neckband folded to the outside to cover the seam. This was then twin needle stitched in place.

It's a fun look and is no more fiddly than a regular overlock then twin needle stitch.

The orange fabric is more of an athletic knit. It came from the same store and is also a merino wool blend. The reverse side of this one has a very fine loop back finish. Similar to  loop back terry but with much tinier and closer together loops. I think it's very much designed for sportswear. I suspect it will be hard wearing, nice and warm and easy to spot in a crowd - that is to say, perfect for dressing a 10 year old boy!

No pocket or tricky finishes for this one, but the hems and neckband have a bit of rust brown topstitching.

I'm a big fan of raglan t-shirts as they're so easy to sew together. Quick and simple and well fitting and made with free fabric. Can't beat that.

Finishing up with a blurry photo out-take inspired by having watched the World Cup and seeing the defensive wall in a penalty shoot out: