Saturday, 26 September 2020

Goldilocks - sans bears

Some days the boredom is indescribable. The weather has turned cold and miserable and we're all locked indoors. As we have been for months. It's school holidays but that looks just like school days except there's no incentive at all for the kids to get out of their pyjamas...

On a long list of non events was the reason for this dress (last year's link here). I felt like not sharing it here in case an opportunity for the event arose later, but honestly it won't fit for that long. Who knows when "later" will be. So bored.

Anyways, here's Goldilocks! (and there's a huge pile of unsewn bear fleece in the stash ready for a post-Covid world)

She absolutely insisted on wearing my boots for this photoshoot and since I never thought she would wear the dress I consented. They're far too big, but I've been told when I've "grown out of them" they're hers.

This year was to be A's first Roobaix and a full family affair, so our costumes were chosen: Goldilocks and the three bears. The Roobaix was meant to be in June, and briefly, June was looking like a good month. We got out to the country for a weekend and saw my parents. I bought the fabric I needed for our costumes. Then, suddenly we were all sent  back into a long, long locked down winter.

By the time we can leave our small 5km radius and ride some of Melburn's cobbles it will probably be far too hot for bear suits.

I'd traced off the bear suits, but the only cutting I had got around to was this dress. I detest having unfinished things lying around so once something is cut, it gets sewn. And hey, I've inadvertently joined in with a hashtag - Sew Vintage in September, as well as the Sewing Pattern Review current costume competition.

The pattern is a one size (size 10) retro number from Simplicity. 

My copy has the surname of one of my aunts scribbled on it, so I'm guessing my poor cousin Narelle had to wear this first time around. I'd love to see a photo of that.

I gave A free rummage through all my patterns to pick what she thought would be most Goldilocks like and this was her pick. 

The fabric is just a poplin from Spotlight, and so was perfectly pleasant to sew. I appreciated the pattern's technique for the pleated neckline. The pattern is cut out with a square top. The pleats are sewn, and then a neckline/armhole template is used to shape the top part of the pattern. 

The hemline looks growth pleats but are actually folded bias strips stitched in place. The resultant length is quiet retro (read short) and between that  and the well fitted bodice it's certainly true to size and probably short lived.

I made one small change by using an invisible zip at centre back instead of a lapped zipper. It's what I had on hand and I always prefer an invisible zip in this kind of dress.

A porridge bowl and wooden spoon was as far as our props imagination went, and is enough of a nod to our titular character, no?

She surprised me by wearing the dress on a few occasions (when it was sunnier) after this photoshoot. Funny what they take to. I had no hopes for this to be anything but a one off costume.

Hopefully we'll get a Goldilocks day for the Roobaix some time soon - not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, and the freedom to find some cobbles outside our own little neighbourhood.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Dawn Jeans muslins - two near misses

I've had the Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern for so long now, and I finally thought to have a go at making a pair for myself....

There was some black, heavy, rigid denim out for another make which I'll share soon and so I decided it was time to trace off and cut out some jeans. At $4/m from Eliza's I had nothing to lose. Based on measurements I chose a size 10 waist blending out to 12 from the hips down.

And initially they were looking good:

But they were so short! I hadn't paid a lot of attention to the inseam length, but just gone for the "regular" length cutting line. I figured at 170cm (5'7") I was pretty "regular".

I also, perhaps wrongly, assumed that the models on the pattern cover were wearing the cropped length. It doesn't state whether they're wearing the cropped, regular or tall length, so it's not easy to judge the drafted length of the jeans...

I tried adding a cuff of denim to the bottom, but that looked daft, and they were still at least two inches too short. So I cut the cuff off, narrowed the leg to be more tapered and then single fold hemmed them again. The end result is only half an inch shorter than the "regular" length would be on me, and seriously, wtf are these if not cropped?!

The other changes that I'd made during construction was to take the centre back seam in by 3/8" from just below where the yoke attaches. That reduced the waist measurement by 3/4" yet the waistband was too short.

I went back to my traced off pattern piece and checked I'd cut correctly, yep. Then I checked my pattern piece against the original pattern, all correct.

The discrepancy appeared to be entirely on one side of the front. If I matched the side seams and notches it was all fine from one front edge all the way round the back to the opposite side seam. Then I was missing about an inch and half between that side seam and the centre front. Bizarre.

Given that I'd taken a decent wedge out of the centre back, and I don't mind the idea of easing the pants onto a shorter waistband, I just ignored the notches and ploughed on.

I fully understand the concept of easing trousers onto a smaller waistband, but this was not that. Either I'd constructed the fly incorrectly (and I don't see how I could have) or the waistband pattern piece was in error. 

From the photo above you can see how much droopy/gathered fabric there would have been in the back yoke if I'd left the centre seam alone. As it is I need to take some height out to get rid of that horizontal wrinkle.

And then I wondered what I could do about the horizontal wrinkles on the backs of my upper thighs..

I read some handy tips on Sewing Pattern Review that this might be due to the crotch curve pushing the upper leg down, and sure enough, if I pull up on the centre back waistband the wrinkles disappear.

So for my second pair I tried an adjustment to the lower seat curve where I cut a deeper curve and then added that fabric back on at the side seam. I only made about a 1/4" adjustment. 

I also then tried taking a little pinch more of length out of the upper back leg so that they would have to be stretched slightly when pinned to the front leg. I'm not entirely sure I achieved anything...

I've tried wearing this first pair as they really are very comfortable and feel like nice jeans to wear for a day, but the length is just stupid. If it's warm enough to wear cropped pants and have flat shoes and ankles on display, then it's too warm for heavy, rigid, black denim.

I have a shorter friend in mind that they might fit. Otherwise I don't know what I'll do. I'm definitely not one for tight fitting denim shorts. Eeek.

So muslin number 2: Some tweaks to crotch and upper back thigh length. The same centre back chunk removed. The same this-waistband-doesn't-fit-but-I'm-going-to-make-it moment. A bit of width added to the front upper thigh, and then sewn with a smaller front seam allowance over the upper thigh, trying to get that side seam vertical. And finally, an additional 3" of extra length.

And I still think they're too short!

Maybe I'm weirdly old fashioned, but I think jeans should at the very least touch the tops of my shoes. I'd actually prefer them to rest there slightly with a little fold, or quarter break

I looked up the description of trouser length and found this handy descriptor of no break, quarter break, half break and full break...

I hemmed these jeans by only a single 1/2" fold, so they're effectively 3&1/2" longer than the drafted "regular" length. I'd want at least another half inch, so I figure I need to add 5" to be able to hem them as per the instructions with the option of trimming a little off. That's bonkers!! 

I don't think I had much effect on those back thigh wrinkles after all.

But I did have a bit of fun with this second pair using all black thread and black hardware. I had some great matte black jeans buttons from Buttonmania, and then bought some black rivets from MRecht.

There's some detailed pocket stitching and I even embossed a little Kraft-Tex jeans patch with my blog logo. Initially i'd drawn it with a silver fabric pain pen but it was way too bright so I simply flipped it over and pressed the logo into the other wide by tracing over a printed copy with a ballpoint pen and pressing really hard.

It looked cool, but has all but vanished after the first wash.

So... If, and it's a very big if, I could be bothered with a round 3:
I'd leave the front crotch the same,
Narrow and shorten the back centre waist
Take even more out of the lower crotch and add it back to the outer thigh.
Add more again to the front thigh 
Maybe make the thighs a good bit wider all round and give myself a slacker cut
Add a bucket load of length

I have other rigid denim fabrics in my stash, but I also have a lot of other pants patterns that could make jeans.

As much as I feel like I may just be getting somewhere with this one, I wonder if starting over somewhere else may not work just as well. It would certainly be more interesting.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Jalie Jeans take two

Way back in February I made those green Jalie Eleanor Jeans which got a woeful reception (although I'm happy to say they've been worn occasionally since then) and I planned to try again.

A while ago I did:

Those few lovely weeks when the kids could go back to school and I could use the dining table to sew on my rostered days off, lead to these jeans.

The fabric is a stretch cotton of a sort of denim weight. I can't think where it came from but it was  a 1m remnant that was just the right amount.

The main problem with the first pair had been the height of the rise and the constant feeling like they were falling down 

For this pair I used the same size N pattern but made some adjustments above the hip. I cut the front pattern piece horizontally about mid way up the crotch curve and raised the centre front by 2" and the side front by 1&1/2"

The back pattern piece I also cut midway across and raised by an even 1&1/2". For my own reference there's a drawing in my sewing notebook to make sense of that. Then the leg length was shortened by 1&1/2"

I played around with some metallic topstitching thread on the back pockets, but it's such horrible stuff to use I'm glad she wasn't keen on topstitching everywhere. I've since heard the suggestion to use it in the bobbin rather than the needle (where it frays and snags terribly) so I'll give that a go next time.

If I was going for perfect fit I could probably try and "de-wedgy" that back crotch curve, but the way kids grow, you could muck around with the fit only to find they've outgrown that size by the time you get it right anyway!

I also cut the elastic quite a bit shorter for the waistband of these ones so they would be a snug fit at the higher waist. they seems to be much better and are one of the first things she reaches for if they're clean and in the wardrobe.

I do have quite a few cuts of stretch denim, more like jeggings fabric, and so long as I remember that extra butt room and extra height I think I could make her plenty of these and they'd get worn. I just need my sewing table back and some sewing mojo... 

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Jalie Tania Coatigan

This was one of those super quick ideas... I have lots of big coats, but since I can't go anywhere they're not getting worn much this winter. What my wardrobe was missing was an easy to throw on car coat. Something for the supermarket run, which is my one outing of the week.

Enter the Jalie Tania coatigan:

I decided on Saturday that I would make this. I traced the pattern off and rummaged around for wool coating remnants. I knew I didn't have enough for a whole coat, but I had this green/black coating, and thought I had enough of a blue to mix the two. 

Not nearly enough of the blue and barely enough of the green/black. The collar needed to be pieced with a centre seam and the inner collar is actually another black wool melton, but it's not really noticeable.

What I did have a little leftover of, was this check wool (flannel weight) that I'd used for P's Jean Paul Gaultier culottes all of six years ago!

I cut it on the bias, fused it to some heavyweight interfacing (the only thing I had to purchase - thank Fabric Deluxe!) and then found another wool flannel leftover (from these shorts), fused that to more interfacing, then basted the two together and treated them as one. Together they were so close to wool melton coating weight it worked perfectly.

I did all the cutting on Saturday afternoon as the kids watched a movie. By Sunday morning I'd decided that i just can't abide unlined jackets, and my mismatched wool flannels would have made for very odd insides anyway.. So I rummaged through the linings stash and found this lovely emerald green lining that was part of my friend's mum's bequeathed stash.

The Tania coatigan does come with a digital add-on for a lining but I really couldn't be bothered printing that off and retracing everything. So I did my "usual" way: I overlapped the front and back pattern pieces so they were single top/bottom pieces. I cut the back piece on the fold which gave me the 2cm of seam allowance (normally the centre back seam) as a pleat  to add a bit of wearing ease.

I've finished the bottom with a kind of mostly bagged and then eventually stitched with the hemming which is indescribable and possibly unrepeatable. ;) but it saved me from any handstitching at all. The lining has an extra 3/8" or so of length at both sleeves and hem so it slightly overhangs the stitching line, also giving that bit of vertical wearing ease.

by this time I was really enjoying myself and so I decided to finish the facing with some bias binding from the very last of the wool flannel. I also threw in a hanging loop and a label. I've stitched the facing down which is visible on the back of the coat - a bit unorthodox, but it's a fairly utilitarian looking coat anyway, and that allows the hanging loop to be functional without lifting the facing up.

I finished sewing it late Sunday night (OK, technically it was Monday morning) and I pretty much haven't taken it off since then.

I chose size V with equates to a european 42, and was the lower of the two sizes my measurements fell between. Given I was using a coating and adding a lining I might have been wiser to size up. It's a tiny bit tight across the back shoulders if I have a heavy jumper underneath and the sleeves are relatively narrow for a coat. This size would be perfect in an unlined linen summer version.

As it is, it works perfectly over a t-shirt, and is exactly the kind of thing I needed to throw on for short outings. Not as big as a full coat, and not as shabby as a Polartec camping jacket.

And all made from leftovers!

Monday, 27 July 2020

Crayon dressing

Being stuck at home (read: crappy, cold rental) made me realise I needed another pair of pull on ponti pants and more long sleeved wool tops.

I didn't have any solid colour ponti and I'm not quite ready for bright, printed pull on pants - give me another month of lockdown and I may yet eat those words - so I set off to Fabric Deluxe who have a great selection of solid ponti fabrics (1.5m needed - note to self). Chocolate brown is my jam!

The elastic waist pants are Vogue 9284 which I'd sewn once before and wondered about their legitimacy. Well, I wear them all the time, and that was before workwear, athlesiurewear and loungewear all got thrown into the Covid blender and became the same thing!

I could certainly do with another pair.

The sizing on this pattern is odd. I measure between the 14 and 16, yet I've made the size 12, even taken them in a little, and you can see they're still not tight.

The side seams are sewn last and that allows for a bit of fit adjusting. The pattern has a 5/8" seam allowance, so if you'd underestimated your thigh size there'd be room to adjust. I ended up sewing my 5/8" seam, and then, instead of a second row of stitching 1/4" into the seam allowance, I did it 1/4" into the pants. I've also added 1&1/2" length at the lengthen/shorten line and I'm happy to say they're the perfect length (the navy ones are a tad short). I can wear these with flats or boots where they have a bit of a jodhphur vibe.

In a nice, heavy ponti I like the slight looseness and it gives them more of a nana trouser look and less like leggings that I'm meant to be running around in.

In rummaging around in my stash I found this heavy wool knit that came from my friend's mum's stash (many thanks to the late Barb xx)

There was just enough for a long sleeved tee, so I made a Liesl + Co Metro T, size medium, no mods. Perfect!

Because too much brown is never enough, and we weren't quite at lockdown and face mask stage when I took these photos I dragged a kid off to a nice brown bird mural and snapped some pictures.

Of course, most of the time I'm wearing this outfit it's under a coat (even indoors, curse this crappy rental), of which I have quite a few brown ones! (this one is Gerard Darel and I bought it in London in 2001)

I handed the coat to my son to wear while he photographed me and he looked so gangsta and cool in it, I wish I'd taken a photo of him! :)

The shirt is my Liesl + Co Recital shirt in fabric from Phillips Shirts. For a very comfy outfit it almost looks "put together" - at least by my standards.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

City Stroll revisit

I made the City Stroll skirt for myself (twice) years ago but I under-grew it (is that the opposite of outgrew?)

Time for another!

I recalled that it could be made with a 1m cut of fabric, so I picked up just that much of this great mustard yellow denim from Fibresmith

It took a fair bit of puzzling to work out how to layout the pattern pieces and I was just about to go and hunt through my photos as I'd definitely snapped a pic of the final layout, when I figured it out anyway.

And then, what do you know, the very next day my phone did that "on this day" thing and showed me a photo from five years ago of the skirt pattern pieces laid out on a 1m cut of fabric!

My previous makes of this skirt had been a size 14 and a size 12. The 14 was always a bit big because I'd actually made it incorrectly and bound the raw edge rather than using the binding as a facing, but it worked back then. Here are the first ones and a link to an Oliver + S guest post showing what can, and can't, be done in a wrap skirt :)

The 12 was the one I'd kept and had under-grown. Thankfully I had traced off the size 10 when I was trying to find some way to make a skirt out of another remant piece of fabric (which turned out not to be possible!)

It's a really nicely shaped skirt with darts at the back, and it truly does behave better than any other wrap skirt I own.

It even works for cute kids: When 4 year old A wanted a "skirt that goes flat like yours" I made her one too by altering another pattern. I should revisit that idea!

I've added 1 inch of length to the size 10 here and the fit is perfect.

And it has pockets!

The pattern intends for you to close the wrap skirt invisibly. Buttons facing inwards are sewn to the outer wrap and buttonholes on the inner wrap.

As I had done on my first one I chose to use some of my snaps. These are a brass snap and looked perfect with fabric. Easy on, easy off I figured...

Only the snaps are so stiff i can't just pull on the fabric to undo them for fear of ripping the snaps right out of the (interfaced and reinforced) denim. So I can only get undressed with the aid of a butter knife! :)

Size: 10, with 1" extra length

Sunday, 5 July 2020

warm woolly Bento

I've hit that depth of winter will-I-ever-be-warm-again feeling.

So, I sewed a warm, woolly jumper. I'd bought the fabric ages ago from Rathdowne Fabrics, probably intended it for one of the kids.... I was feeling colder than they looked so I had a play with seeing if there was enough for a jumper for me.

The fabric is a really thick, loop back wool knit. Kind of like a super thick french terry that smells of sheep when you iron it.

Along each selvedge was a section of thinner stripes with a raw, fringed black edge.

A cooler person than I would have used that selvedge with the raw edge somehow. But I just couldn't get my head around it...

I kept it simple and reached for a pattern that i already had traced off. The Liesl & Co Bento tee. This is the size L which is what I made when I first used the pattern and I knew that would be plenty loose enough for outerwear.

The only modification I made was to add the bottom hem band. Perhaps I made that a bit more gathered than it should have been, maybe I should have added a side split to the hem. Either way, I lost the square, boxy pullover idea that had been in my head all along.

But I gained a really warm, cosy jumper and I've hardly taken it off since I made it.

And I've since been back to Rathdowne and stocked up on more super thick wool knits. Easier than learning to knit!

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Birthday t-shirt time

You might have noticed that I'm pretty fond of sewing t-shirts and if I can get the chance to cut a stencil and stick something on the front I'm even happier.

And it's June, which means it's the big kid's birthday t-shirt time.

This year he wanted a flying soccer ball. Actually, he wanted a flaming soccer ball but I kind of interpreted that  in my own way which was more monochromatic. And easier to reconcile with my stash of iron on vinyl. I chose iron-on vinyl over fabric paint as the ball had to be white

I really wanted it to be reflective silver, but he vetoed that :( 

After a bit of dabbling with my friend's Cricut machine last year, I was now going back to my roots and wielding a scalpel.

I downloaded an image, traced it in grey lead pencil, transferred the tracing to the vinyl by rubbing the back, went over the lines to make them clearer, then hand cut it. Once it was cut. it was just a matter of getting all the bits to line up as exactly as possible and then be ironed in place.

The t-shirt is the Oliver + S School Bus t-shirt. I'm pretty sure it's size 12 as per the recent pyjamas, but I've no idea where I put that tracing, and now I'm wondering if I pulled out the size 10 tracing instead. I need to blog faster or make better contemporaneous sewing notes!

What I do know is that I added about 3" to the length and a whopping 5" to the sleeves!

He knew I was going to make him this t-shirt for his birthday although he didn't know which fabric I was going to use. When I found this lovely, soft, cotton lycra in the stash I also found a 1m cut of fabric I'd bought at Spotlight with the intention of making a t-shirt for him.

So I made another.

Given how much length I need to add to a sleeve pattern to get long sleeves, I didn't have enough of this fabric. Which is a pity as it's nice and soft too, and would make a lovely winter t-shirt. I have added about 2" to the short sleeve cut line for this version.

I have been pleasantly surprised by some of Spotlight's printed cotton knits. The quality and designs have really improved over the last few years. Sadly, they're always fairly narrow fabrics compared to the more "usual" 150cm wide European knits.

I couldn't pass up skateboarding cacti in sunglasses!