Delving into Denim with Closet Case Ginger Jeans and Alina Sewing & Design Hampton Jacket

My journey with denim began a long time ago when at 15, inspired by my home economics teacher, Miss Hobbs, I made my first pair of straight leg jeans along with a tweed waistcoat and matching tie! No stretch denim back then and luckily no photos. My interest was renewed just a couple of years ago when I was lucky enough to be the only person in a Jeans Technique class with Lorna Knight. Sewing machines and fabric have certainly moved on in forty years.

The Ginger pattern I bought last year after seeing so many great reviews on IG but only got around to making up last month when I decided I needed to use my embroidery machine more. Having signed up for the Alina Sewing and Design newsletter when I bought the Chi pattern for SewMyStyle2019 I got an email on a promotion for the Hampton - more denim practice as well as another chance to embroider.

First I made the skinny leg version of the Ginger mid-rise pattern using some lovely dark denim from Guthrie & Ghani. This is a 61 page PDF pattern so I had printed at Netprinter. The big debate was which size to make as I have little difference between waist and hips. I compared my favourite RTW pair with the finished size measurements and went with the 8. I didn’t think through the fact that my fabric had a lot less stretch than the RTW pair so they fit pretty tight and had to reduce the leg seam allowance to be able to pull up.

On to the lining fabric. I have so much cotton fabric left from quilting to choose from but went for a colourful fabric that I thought would look good with denim. Then I wanted an embroidery design for the pocket to tie in with the lining fabric colours. It was quite hard to find a design with multi colours and would also fit well within the stitch lines. The design is Western Flair by Embroidery Library.

Choosing the embroidery thread was quite difficult as I was also matching the topstitch thread as well. So in the end it was more orange gold than the fabric and a lighter purple as the darker colour didn’t show up enough. I had just watched a class on my Bluprint subscription called Machine Embroidery on Denim by Katrina Walker which went through these issues.

I mostly followed the sewalong as I prefer photos to technical drawings. However, the pattern has been updated since the sewalong to accommodate a pocket stay (attached in the fly) which at the time of the sewalong was just an option. My only out of sync action was to sew the back pockets in before attaching to the front. The idea is to get to the stage of being able to test fit and check the position but I went with where my RTW sat as didn’t want to fiddle around topstitching later.

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I have to say if you follow the instructions you should come out with some impressive looking jeans. The contrasting overlocker thread is a great idea and I picked up the lining fabric colour and followed through with my embroidered name. I ordered a couple of zips, one as per the instructions and then 1” shorter, but in the end I used a much shorter one I had lying around. It was still a little long and uncomfortable with feeling for the metal teeth I used my little kit to take out the extra teeth and replace the end stops.

I hadn’t bothered with a test make so the only room I had for adjusting was when I came to sew the outside leg seams. This is when I realised how little stretch my fabric had. So from just above my knee I reduced the seam allowance by 1/4” and this is enough to get them on. Although I did end up with loads of small bruises where I caught my skin on my first attempt to get them on.

I attempted to sew on the belt loops with my walking foot attached but I just couldn’t see what I was doing. In the end I used my applique foot which is quite short and open. Along with the jean-a-ma-jig and wonder tape I managed 5 perfectly placed neat belt loops. And then the dreaded buttonhole. The buttonhole foot just kept catching in the seam allowance and knotted. I tried normal thread the same colour as the topstitch thread. After a google search I came across a Youtube video on a manual buttonhole. It takes a bit of practice but looks fantastic. However, I did use fraycheck on the back and let dry before I cut open.

Now a little more relaxed around denim I thought I would tackle the jacket - all those buttonholes! It was easier to decide which size to make as my waist measurement ties in with my bust and I again made an 8. Another PDF but this pattern is layered so I could just print out the one size and a manageable number of pages. Every single page lined up perfectly. Then it struck me there were an awful lot of pattern pieces - 20 in fact, A to T. Thankfully, as with the Ginger there is a fabulous sewalong to accompany the pattern instructions which have technical drawings. Again I mostly followed the sewalong occasionally referring back to the pattern but I should point out that they are enough but I prefer photos.

I wanted to embroider the back but wanted the design to fit within the centre back panel as I didn’t want to go over the bulky seams. This time the pattern is for a non-stretch denim and I used a mid blue from Empress Mills. This influenced the design I used because a lot of the designs would work on either bleached or very dark denim. I found another Embroidery Library design that I thought would work really well called Wild West Blooms. I changed out the teal for a more turquoise colour to pop on the denim.

I traced the pattern piece and roughly cut around so I didn’t have to be too precise in the hooping as I am still a complete beginner with the bigger hoops. I then traced out the pattern piece ensuring it was exactly in the centre.

I used smaller designs in the set for the front yoke and side panel. To help with placement I drew on all the seam allowances and top stitching lines. I am so pleased with the result.

The welt pocket worked beautifully and with a sigh of relief I moved onto the front pocket flaps and the buttonholes. First, I had to choose a button. The copper laurel wreath looks fabulous with the embroidery. Remembering to ensure the seam allowances would be out of the way I managed two perfect buttonholes. I was using a Gütermann Jeans thread which had caught my eye on the trip to Sew Your Own Wardrobe. The description is a “two-colour appearance which makes it suitable for darning and decoration”. As I was embroidering the jacket I didn’t want the design to compete with the thread and I thought this would be ideal. It looks metallic especially in the dense stitching of the bar tacks and buttonholes but it isn’t as thick as the topstitch thread I had used on the jeans.

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At this point I thought all the hard work had been done. The jacket was coming together and was looking fantastic. The first struggle was top stitching the front yoke. My machine just did not like going over the flap with all those layers. A few bangs with the rubber mallet really did help! There is also a lot of fabric to get through on the centre front edges especially at the corners but I pressed well and called on the services on my husband for some brute force.

The collar isn’t lined so that went in really well. The instructions for the cuff are excellent and looks so professional. The only fiddly bit is topstitching the second sleeve seam where you are sewing in a tunnel. Having just done this with my leggings I wasn’t phased. This is one of the best patterns I have used as everything lined up perfectly and even the button placement was where it should be. However, my favourite part was the set in sleeves. The pattern requires three rows of gathering stitches and then I pulled these up over a pressing ham before placing into the jacket. Perfect first time.

Myosotis Dress - Deer and Doe New Pattern

The Myosotis is the May Sew My Style online sewing challenge promoting the creation of handmade wardrobes.  I hadn't made the April Marigold jumpsuit as not my style and I had no-one to make it for so I eagerly awaited the release of the new Deer and Doe pattern.  

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When I saw the pattern I wasn't sure whether I would make it - not a flouncy girl.  Then I remembered the beautiful cotton lawn fabric I picked up at the Guthrie and Ghani stand at the Olympia Knitting and Stitching show.   I looked up the fabric requirements, more than I had available, but given it gave one amount for the whole size range I thought I would buy the pattern and see if I could squeeze it out.   

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A good start - the pdf is layered.  My hips are one or two sizes less than my top measurements so I printed two sizes.  With the gathered skirt this was an easy choice, no blending necessary.  I just used the smaller size for the skirt so is slightly less gathered than it should be which suits my style.

I was so pleased when there was enough fabric.  Just enough length but plenty bits spare around the sides as I didn't want the pockets.

Not a complicated make so just a few pages of instructions with illustrations which are more than adequate.  Six darts to do first.  I use a clover tracing wheel and transfer paper to mark the lines.  These marks don't come off so I only use to mark on the reverse of the fabric.  I do the pattern side up first and trace along the lines.  Then I flip over and use the mark lines to trace on the reverse side of the pattern.  Perfect darts!

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I then interfaced the collar and front facings with some really soft non woven interfacing.  The facing went in well.  After sewing and finishing the shoulders and seams I moved on to the collar.  You attach the collar to the wrong side of the neckline and then fold up on the right side and topstitch in place.  I prefer to fold up and press the bottom edge before attaching so I have an even collar.  The collar wasn't quite right on one side so I ended up unpicking and redoing.  I know I wouldn't wear if not happy with the finish.

So on to the buttonholes and my very helpful tools!  The Simflex expanding gauge makes marking buttonholes a doddle.  I am pretty accurate but this takes all the effort out of measuring especially if you want to re-position.   The other is the extremely sharp buttonhole cutter.  Mine is a Bernina and comes with the wooden block.  So neat and tidy. 

I do have a little confession to share.  As I think with most machines today you just pop your button into  the buttonhole foot and it sews a perfect button.  For the last two makes the buttonholes have been too long.  With the Kalle pattern this was not a problem as hidden in the placket and I only cut open as much as needed.  With this pattern only having the three buttons in a short space ti looked odd.  One early morning start I remembered to check the foot as it has an adjustment at the back.  Yes, it was on long from when I made the coat at the beginning of last year and needed more room for the thick buttons!  At least on the cotton it wasn't too long a task to unpick.  This time I used the short setting as slim buttons.  I won't forget to check again.

I  like to prepare the hems before the side seams or attaching to the bodice for sleeves as so much easier to work with.  My best tip for this is to mark a line twice the width of the hem and fold up to this line.  Then, for this pattern just fold over again and press.  Unfold to do the seams and then simply repress in place over the seam.  Then just the buttons to finish.  I thought the little wooden buttons went well with the botanical fabric.  All ready to wear for the sunny spell.

I am 5ft 6in which is the height most patterns are made for and I thought it just long enough to be comfortable walking around in.  I would say the bodice is a slim fit.  I did compare the finished measurements to other dresses I feel comfortable in to help me decide which size to make in the first place.  The sizing was spot on.  So really happy with the dress which got a big thumbs up from everyone especially the collar.  I will definitely look at the other Deer and Doe patterns available.

More Madalynne - Barrett and Noelle

Making my way through the free patterns from Madalynne.  There are some beautiful kits on her website but thought I would try out using my own stash.

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First up is the Barrett which I have paired up with the undie from the Madalynne Simplicity X 8624 pattern.  I did buy all the other patterns in a bundle at the same time!

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The heart mesh is a recent purchase from Emerald Erin.  For me I needed a bit of support so tried out a number of fabrics for the lining but went with a strong powernet in red.  

For a free pattern the instructions are pretty good with great pictures.  The only part I struggled with was placing of the elastic at the cross over.  I couldn't get mine to look like the picture but this maybe due to the size I was doing.

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I did make sure that the heart matched at the centre front.  All cup and side seams are enclosed for a comfortable fit.  I was amazed at the fit and support for a bralette.  Can't wait to do in the glitter mesh kit.  

 

 

As I also lined the undie I could enclose both gusset seams.  I didn't have a scallop edge on the mesh so I added 3/8" to the pattern to allow for the turn back of the elastic on the leg opening.  Worked pretty well but when I make again I think I will go down a size.

So pleased with the result.  Another stunning set.

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Next up is the Noelle bralette. Unlike the newer Barrett pattern this has just written instructions.  Not an issue as a project for all levels.  Had this lace around for a while and definitely needed lining.  Again I went for strong powernet.

I used a temporary spray to keep the lace in place and did the darts through both layers as I didn't want them to show through the lace.  Enclosed the side seam between the lace and lining of the back and did the same for the band.  I am now getting a feel for how much to pull the elastic, if at all.  I do like to pull along the underarm as this gives a much better fit.  

The seam between the body and band is hidden by elastic which also keeps it in place.  Elastic is also attached to the bottom of the band which stops it from riding up.  I didn't have a large enough black ring for the back so I just used a black sharpie on a white one!

Another impressive make!  Looks gorgeous and again supportive because of the strong powernet.  I will definitely be making more of these.

Madalynne Simplicity X 8624 and Orange Lingerie Kingston Thong

As there is a beautifully photographed 3 day sew along on the blog this is a short post on the Madalynne X Simplicity 8624 pattern and the white and yellow bra kit. As an an alternative to making the Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief, as I always do when I have a small amount of lace, I tried the Kingston thong.

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The first point to make is that the kit is made in a slightly different way to the pattern so do check carefully especially for the fit of the hook and eye fastener.  

When using lace I like to mark the seam allowance on the pattern so I can see the point at which the lace will meet.  I cut out one side and then flip over to find the perfect pattern match.  I then place the pattern piece over rather than just cut around the pattern.  For the back band I have used a spray adhesive to hold the lace to the powernet and then cut out in one.

The foam cups are butted together and sewn using a zigzag.  Personally I use a stitch length of 4 and stitch width of 1.5 as taught by Beverly Johnson on her Craftsy Class.  Then I overlock the upper edge of the cup.  At this point I would just like to mention the thread I use for lingerie which is Gutermann Mara 120 industry quality polyester.  Another tip from Beverly.  Is is really fine and blends into the fabric.

The elastic is added to the back band and then attached to the cup.  The elastic is placed behind the lace which is different to the pattern where it sits on top.   This where you need to check the fit of the hook and eye.  Then the elastic is added to join the two cups.  It is really important to get this in the right place.  Depending on the size you are making you may want to use ribbon instead of elastic.  I used a white iron on stabiliser the width of the elastic.  Just the very pretty straps to do.  After making up I attached at the front, put on the hook and eye fastener and tried on so I could check the position of the straps at the back.  I had to move over to the middle slightly for them to sit correctly.

What to make with the leftovers?  With such a small amount of lace I went for the Kingston thong which like the Montgomery brief as a front lace panel.  I had plenty of stretch mesh over to line.  I spray baste together and cut as one on paper which I find helps give a clean cut with lace.  There was enough yellow elastic for the waist and I added white elastic for the legs, a cream lightweight powernet for the back and gusset as well as narrow elastic to match the mesh for the top of the lace panel.

As with the Montgomery the back seam is enclosed.  This is done by folding one side along the fold line wrong sides together. Then fold the other side around this piece with right sides together and stitch the back seam through all layers.  You then bring to the right side by bringing the top back piece over the seam.  Very pretty as I do like to tell myself!

Emerald Erin Jordy Bralette - Lace overlay version

Just a quick look at the making of the lace overlay version of the Jordy Bralette along with the Orange Lingerie Montgomery brief.

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This time I used the lovely Emerald Erin kit.  Everything I have ordered from the website has been great quality. 

What I like about the pattern is that seam allowances are marked which is particularly helpful when cutting out lace.  As you can see from the second picture I have the point at which the lace cups meet at the low point of the scallop edge.  I then flip over and match for the other side.  I have also placed white paper under the lace so I can actually see the pattern and also helps with a clean cut.  

There was enough of the bra tulle to line the cups.  So for the inner cups I used temporary spray adhesive to keep the lace, tulle and tulle lining in place.  For the outer cup I used the spray to keep the lace and tulle in place.  You can use either a small zigzag or straight stitch along the scallop edge of the lace to attach to tulle.  Then I sandwiched the inner cup between the outer cup and lining.  Perfectly matched cups!

The fold over elastic is then applied to the inner cup first, then the outer cup leaving a tail to attach straps.  I also used some stabilising tape to the tail.  The cups are then attached to the band.  I like to draw in the line along which I can pin the cups.  I sew along the bottom of the cup first on the wrong side and then flip over and sew along the top of the band so all perfectly straight lines. I then trim any excess back to the zigzag.  I did think about overlocking the bottom of the cup but didn't want to create any uncomfortable bulk.

Just the straps left to do,  I like to use a glue pen to keep the straps in place as I sew. 

As I always like to make a set so I went for the Montgomery brief as only a small amount of lace. I used the tulle to line the lace as it does have stretch in one direction.  I attach the clear elastic along the scallop edge with a three step zigzag.  

Back and front prepared, leg elastic added and nearly there.  Just the side seams to finish.

Emerald Erin Pattern Release

I first came across Emerald Erin when I started making lingerie last year.  Sourcing supplies was difficult from here in the UK so I spread the net and tried out a whole range of fabrics and findings for both lingerie and swimwear from her shop.  I was hooked!  So when she released her first patterns I wanted to be one of the first to make.

So we have the Jordy Bralette and the Tuesday Boyshort.  

The Jordy comes with three options - lace overlay, fabric or foam lined version.  The Tuesday has a choice of either classic centre front seam or solid front and you can use either fold over or plush elastic on both versions.  I immediately ordered kits in both as well as a number of other items!

As usual I couldn't wait for the order to get here from Canada so I thought I would have a practice to get the size right.  

 

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I thought I would try both versions of the Tuesday using fold over on one and plush on the other.  The pattern pieces come with the seam allowances marked so if you use the fold over elastic you need to cut this off.  I did highlight this on the pattern piece for next time.

You can just serge the seams but with curves and 1/4 inch seams I always sew the seam first with a stretch stitch.  I start with some stitch and tear when I sew stretch fabric to stop it being dragged into the machine.

The classic front is straight forward sew with the gusset enclosed in the side seams only.  The solid front has an enclosed gusset by using the "burrito" method.

Here are the two versions before the elastic went on.  The size was spot on although my personal preference is the solid front.

So on to the Jordy.  I started with the foam version and made paper versions to get an idea of the size.

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This is a really quick make especially as I used straps cut off from another bra.  Again if you are using fold elastic you need to remember to cut off the seam allowance. 

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I prefer to draw around the foam and then cut out  The foam cup has no seam allowance but you butt the edges together and I sew using a zigzag of  length 4 and width 1 (as per Beverly Johnson)  Perfect match!

You baste the fabric to the foam and attach the fold over elastic before attaching to the band.  I cut the band elastic to the size up just in case.  I drew a line in chalk along the seam allowance to ensure the cups were straight and checked they were equal distance from the centre to ensure neither had stretched out of place.  I attached the straps at the front and pinned at the back so I could gauge the size of the back band,  Once I was happy with bank band I attached the hook and eye fastener.  With the fastener on I checked the straps again before sewing them to the back band.  For straps I always like to use a fabric glue pen to keep in place whilst I sew.   

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One to the next version with is the lace overlay.  Used items from my stash mostly from leftovers from my Tailor Made kits,  Such good value.  The bralette looks great with the lace Bella pattern from Evie La Luve.  Too much in a hurry to take pictures but will get some when I make the kit,  Just love it when testers are good enough to wear.

Lingerie Weekend - Tailor Made Order Arrived

I waited in eager anticipation for my order from the Tailor Made Shop to arrive which included the Orange Lingerie Marborough bra kit.  I order as soon as Ying posts new kits on Instagram as they seem to get snapped up in minutes.   I have been so busy so had to wait until weekend to start making.  Good job it was cold and wet all weekend!

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There wasn't a bra and underwear kit available but from previous experience there is always enough to make something to match the bra.  I was not disappointed!  Plenty of the charmeuse and probably enough lace.  I had also ordered a pink findings kit, blush stretch mesh, wires and various other bits.

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As I wanted to make a matching set I decided not to use the peach findings and powernet that came with the kit and used blush from my stash.  Then I had to decide what underwear patterns I could get out of the fabric I had.  The first issue was that the charmeuse is a woven and most of my patterns call for stretch.  Then I didn't have a huge amount of lace.  So I got out my lace patterns.  I went for the Ohhlulu's Claudia as I could just scrape out my size and I had enough fabric to cut the front panel on the bias.  As I had just bought the blush stretch mesh I thought I would make up the Montgomery Brief which is designed to match the Marborough Bra pattern.  

I have made all three before and had the pattern pieces ready.  The bra went together beautifully but I was not too fond of the charmeuse as it does fray quickly.  The construction process allows you to enclose all seams between the fabric and the non-stretch lining.  Before topstitching each seam I did have to tidy up the fabric in the seam allowance.  I also line the lace as well as attaching narrow elastic as it gives much better support.  Although the hook and eye should fit I always check before attaching the strap.  I had to shave a little off the back band.  When making and attaching the strap I switch to my walking foot.  I also use a water soluble glue stick to keep the strap in place whilst I sew.  This way I always get perfectly aligned straps.  I had to cut down my wires which  I then re seal with some plastic tubing and use a heat gun to shrink wrap around the end.  A bit of fray check on the wire casing and I was done.

The Montgomery brief is such a quick and satisfying make.  The pattern is for a lace front panel.  Although online shows a picture with a fabric front details are not included in the pattern but there is great blog on how to make the adjustment.. As my plush elastic colour wasn't just right for me I used some blush FOE instead of using the plush along the whole of the waist.  

Then onto the Claudia Panties.  Another great fitting pattern for me and lots of options.  I had to squeeze the lace panels out so couldn't match up but you don't really notice because of the design.  I chose some pretty decorative elastic for the leg line in white which I thought would look better against the white gusset lining than the multi colour fabric.  Also, although I do have a cover stitch machine, I was worried about the fabric fraying on such a narrow seam.  The blush FOE was perfect to finish.  The best ever advice from Norma, Orange Lingerie, is to steam you garment when finished as this relaxes the elastic after the sewing process.  It makes a huge difference.

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Thought I would finish with a picture of the back of the briefs and the inside of the bra.  Just so pretty!

 

 

 

 

Sewing Round Up

Been rather busy with actual work so not much on the sewing front.  A colleague had a baby so I got to try out Blank Slate Patterns Snuggle PJs.   A good size range from 3m to 12y.  The organic cotton panda fabric is perfect.  I didn't have to make any binding as I had the black jersey bias the right width and weight of fabric.  The bottoms are quilting cotton I chose as it had just a hint of pink.  

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The new baby also meant I got to try out embroidering a plushie.  Not as easy as they make it look.  This is a Mumbles zippy.  There is a zip at the back so although you can take out the body pod there is still a big head to manoeuvre around.  I did try to get hold of an Embroidery Buddy as you can also take out the head pod but can't find anyone in the UK who sells small numbers.  I did have a birth announcement  template to use but just too much to get in so kept it simple.  I added the pink gingham bow for balance.

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Although a huge stack of planned projects I am always sidetracked.  This time it was the Josie Tunic, a download pattern, in Sew magazine featuring some lovely heavy rose pink and grey Ponte Roma knit from Minerva Crafts.  So I rounded up on the metres as I like to make mini items with leftovers.  It took about 1.8m when the requirements said 1.4!  The next issue was the size to make.  The pattern included 8-20 but no indication anywhere in the magazine or online what that meant or finished sizes.  So I went with the size of pattern I always start with not my RTW.  I made the mistake of thinking it was a quick  make so just go with it.  It was huge.  I shaped the sleeves into the wrist as well as at the waist and took a large amount off the hips.  As the back skirt seam was on a curve for shape it no longer met the front skirt seam.  It also meant the pockets were close to the side seams.  Still it is very comfy and I wore it the very next day.

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I also had another quick make with Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan. For this one I used fabric sold by the weight fabric from Abakhan.  It feels and smells like wool when wet but you you can never tell what you have bought from the receipt!  I just love this pattern for me being the 5ft 6" most patterns are drafted and with long arms.  Designed with layering in mind, it has minimal excess fabric in the front and a close fit around the neck and shoulders.   I made View A which extends down to the mid-thigh and includes patch pockets at hand level while view B ends at the hips.  Based on my measurements I made a medium and yes it fit how it should.  The sleeves are long but the cuff size means they sit just where they are meant to.  

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Urban threads had this Kitty Specs design on sale and it was another I just have to make project.  It was meant to be as I decided to clear my desk of all those things that I didn't want to file in case I forgot I had bought them and there were these Lecien Jelly pink handles from Sew Hot.   There was even a pattern with the handles.  No problem finding suitable fabric in the stash.  The premium vinyl is also from Sew Hot.  It iis worth getting the premium vinyl as it is both strong and supple making it so much easier to work with.  Not sure it will ever get used but makes me smile!

More Lingerie

Deciding what to do next became more of a problem over Christmas as the arrival of the Cricut Maker and the Sizzix Big Shot brought even more possibilities.  So many new skills to learn. I was quite glad when the kit I bought on discount arrived from Costura Secret shop.  Instagram is great for promotion alerts.  

Bra and Pantie Kit

Bra and Pantie Kit

Everyone seems to be using Scuba for lingerie so I thought I would give it a try.  This fabric had caught my eye on Instagram and I bought on  a deal over Christmas.  The description does give a list of bras patterns that would be suitable.  When the kit arrived the plush elastic for the bra band was only 3/8" and not 1/2" which I would use for the underarm not a bra band.  For some the fabric for the gusset was not cotton may be an issue.

I did have all the patterns mentioned but I had been thinking of trying the wrap around version of Willow bra pattern by Evie La Luve.  There is plenty of fabric and foe to make what you want.  I did need extra strapping and findings included a front closure for the back strap. So the back strap had to be red and I swapped out the gold findings for rose gold (from Evie La luves' etsy shop) as I had everything I needed in this colour. 

The bralette is a "C" cup fitting.  I didn't make a trial version as I use this brand of patterns quite a lot and have a good idea of how they fit.  I crossed over two sizes so I made the smaller one as the pattern doesn't have a back closure which I usually end up adjusting,

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Once everything is cut out you baste the fabric to the lining of the centre front pieces before attaching foe.  You could just use temporary adhesive but in this instance I used a silk thread which pulls out easily without leaving any marks.  The pattern is specific about how much foe to cut.  I always add 1/2" each end as I find fitting to the edge fiddly and then trim excess.  

You then enclose this seam between the fabric and lining of the side front.  To reduce the bulk the instructions tell you to grade the seam cutting the lining fabric shortest and press.  I left the same length as the lining is quite sheer and I didn't want to be able to see the dark fabric on the inside of the bra.  Once pressed the seam was fine.  

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After repeating for the other side you enclose the side front between the fabric and lining back.  Just the strapping to put on now.

 

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I always switch to my walking foot when making and applying straps because of the bulk.  I also find using a fabric glue pen helps keep the strap in place as I sew.  Nothing worse than wonky straps.

The patterns says to use 5/8" rings for the main front pieces.  I didn't have any this size and the 1/2" ones I did use didn't cause any problems.

The fit is pretty good although I did have to make the straps quite short.

Then I had to choose what panties to make.  I remembered that the Frankie pattern has a version with a dip back and strap that would match the bralette.  You can make this pattern in so may variations.  I chose to do the fabric front with foe and lace back.  

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I usually play around with the placement of the lace so that the seam line falls at the low point of the lace.  I then cut one side and flip over to find the mirror image.  Perfect!  As the lace is so fiddly I  always use a stretch stitch to sew the back seam before I serge The next step is to enclose the front between fabric and lining gusset and then apply foe to the leg openings.  I also made the back strap at this point whilst Ihad red thread in the machine.

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Again I use a stretch stitch before I serge when I attach front to back and side seams.  Although I had plenty of red foe left I used navy as I thought it would look better with the lace. 

Looks fabulous and I think my FOE technique is so much better.

Street Style Patterns

Street Style describe themselves as scandinavian inspired sewing patterns for women and is the clothing line of designer Melissa Hendrickson also the owner of Brindille & Twig who create sewing patterns for babies and toddlers with a focus on knit fabrics.  

I had been trying to find good fitting casual patterns from the major pattern houses without much luck so  I thought I would give them a try as I love the shape and fit of the children's patterns.  The first pattern I tried was  008 Lounge Pants.

Pretty good fit

Pretty good fit

They were offering a discount on Black Friday so I picked up another couple of patterns.  With so much going on I have only just got around to making them up.  The fabric is a really soft sweatshirt fabric from Guthrie & Ghani  and the rib is organic cotton from Jelly fabrics.   So here with have SS021 Tack pants ans SS006 Hoodie.

I always prewash knits as they do shrink.  Both patterns went together pretty well.  I was ultra cautious with the hoodie pocket.  I marked out the corners so the shape would be spot on.  The pattern gets you to fold up the bottom pocket edge once turned to right side.  I sewed all around the pocket leaving a small gap at the bottom to turn as I thought this would provide a neater edge.  I steamed the pocket once I had sewn in place and it looked great.

The track pants sit high on my waist but for me that is how I would want them to unlike the lounge pants which sit much lower down.  I have broad shoulders and long arms so I tend to go up a size.  However, I have very slim wrists so for me the cuff didn't sit tightly enough around my wrist.  I would certainly make all three again.  The only issue I have is that I can't find soft flat tubular drawstring in the colours I want.  

 

 

Kelly Anorak - Making Up

Finally got to start sewing today.  Out of sequence with the pattern I did the lining bits first as I had the blue cotton in the machine.  I also thought I would see how well the hood and sleeves went together before sewing the waxed cotton.  The walking foot came out for the understitching as I had a lot of bulk especially on the back pleat.  Fitted together pretty well.  

The first step is the back yoke followed by the front yokes.  I used a faux flat fell seam for the front yokes as my fabric is so bulky.  Even my overlocker felt the strain. Then the fun starts with the pockets.  I  did resort to the Closet Case blog on the gusset packet as I didn't find the instructions clear enough. to feel comfortable.  There is a snap fastener to keep the fold over flap in place.  The pocket side is hard to reach with the Prym pliers.  I did try both the tool that came with the fasteners as well as the tripod but wouldn't go through the fabric.  I brought in some brute force who then got the fabric caught and put two holes in my pocket.  So I started again and managed to make two pockets in the same direction.  Third time lucky and still married! Feeling nervous I attached the pockets to the fronts.  At least I managed to get these on straight and the bulk does flatten when pressed.

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Next step is to attach the fronts to the back.  I had decided not to put in the drawstring waist and I had already made the jacket and hood lining so I moved on to the sleeves.  The sleeves went together well although I could only top stitch the fist seam.  I am not sure that you could topstitch the closed sleeve in  any size.  Then I tried to inset the sleeves.  What a disaster.  My material just wasn't playing ball and after undoing twice I went with what I had.

In between undoings I did the zip and the hood.  The easing in the hood was a doddle after the sleeves and once pressed and topstitched looked pretty good.  I marked the sewing line for the two curves when I attached the hood to the hood lining as I wanted to ensure the  curves matched perfectly.  It can be difficult to keep on the seam allowance when sewing such tight corners.   

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Moving on to the zip.  I put on the right placket.  Then you insert the zip to the right facing.  Now this is where I have an issue with the pattern.  It tells you to line up the zip edge with facing edge.  You have to sew on the seam allowance and make sure you leave room to open the zip.  My zip was not wide enough. to do this.  Worried the zip would be in the wrong place I again resorted to a tutorial on inserting the zipper placket.  In the tutorial it does say to move your zip in from the edge so you can sew at the  correct seam allowance.  

So I drew a line where it needed to be.  Instead of pinning zips I use double sided tape as zips always seem to move around.  I did read the rest of the tutorial as again this gave clarity to the instructions.  Although I had to remember that the part about finishing the  facings is if you are not lining.  Took care to make sure the left side matched by fastening and marking on the zip where it should meet top, bottom and front yoke.  Yes it all matched.  Phew!

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The finish was in sight or so I thought.  After pressing up the hems the next step is too attach the lining.  Again I had an issue with the instructions.  It says the lining is shorter than the facings.  Mine were the same length.  So I got out the pattern pieces and yes they are the same length.  I think is should say shorter than the body of the coat.  

Then you attach the hood to the jacket body.  You have to do this in two parts because of the right placket.  A lot of fabric to go through but after clipping, it went in well.  I tried to use clover clips to hold the layers in place but they slide off when you get close to the machine foot so I stuck with pins.  I actually managed to get blood on the inside of the hood so  I resorted to basting in place after I found a needle sharp enough to go through all that fabric.

Again because of the placket  it is not possible to stitch the neckline of the lining to the neckline in one go.  You wrap the collar lining facing around the neckline seam sandwiching the jacket and lining neckline in between.  You stitch along the seam allowance for as far as you can go on both sides.  Tight for me with all the bulk of the fabric.

After attaching the sleeve linings to the jacket sleeve you turn to the right side and slip stitch the open neckline .  I added a hanging loop at this point.  To secure everything in place you top stitch along the neckline.  I just went real slow and it came out very neat.  it is optional to topstitch around the perimeter of the hood but I didn't bother in case I messed up the tight curves.  The lining sits along the crease of the hem and you topstitch through to hold in place.  

Finally the metal snaps.  I carefully checked the markings before I punched through on the right side.  I then fastened the coat and marked the left placement by marking through the hole.  The only issue I had was the bottom hood snap where the right side had to go through so many layers.

All done.  The coat looks amazing.  The hood fits perfectly and the pockets are just right for me.  The fit is a little snug as I had quilted the lining but ever so cosy.  

Sewing round up

Been busy so not much sewing done but so much planned.  Finally got all my supplies ready to make the Vogue dress pattern.

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Then all the plans went through the window when all the Black Friday offers came along.  Helen's closet, Closet Case, Brindille & Twig and Street Style patterns all had offers as well as my favourite organic cotton supplier Jelly Fabrics.  I stocked up on rib fabrics in all my favourite colours.  Then the pile just grew when  I visited Guthrie & Ghani whilst on a trip to Birmingham for the National Model Railway exhibition.  So now I have all this to do and not enough time in the day.

Where to start!  The only way to go was a major tidy up of sewing headquarters and start/finish the projects lying on the floor.  This was reinforced by the fact I was too embarrassed to take a picture of the room for Bpsewember.  I started with the T Shirts for my niece which had been hung on the door since summer.  I moved on to the cushion to be made from the applique ballerina made last year and finished with the advent calendars and Christmas napkins. 

The decision was to make the Kelly Anorak first as I didn't want to leave the waxed cotton folded up in case it marked.

The Maker's Atelier Pencil Skirt

After the lingerie set and the embroidered sweatshirt I decided to round the week off with the pencil skirt from The Maker's Atelier Essential Collection.  Well I had just bought the sequin fabric from Bambers  As the skirt is made in stretch fabric it doesn't restrict movement like a traditional tailored pencil skirt.

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One of the examples in the book is a sequin fabric so, having bought the rose gold fabric,  I thought I would give it a go.  The pattern isn't for a lined skirt but this fabric would not be nice against the skin.  I went with a dusky pink stretch crepe for the lining, a suggestion from Jennine, one of the very helpful ladies in the shop, 

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The patterns in the book are printed both sides so you do need to trace off the pattern pieces you require.  At this point I hadn't decided how to put in the lining so I just cut out the same pieces in the lining fabric.  As I only had one pattern piece and it was cut in a double layer I did not need to worry about direction but I don't think it would matter with this fabric.  

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An internet search had taken me to Lauren Guthrie's blog on sewing with sequins which also had a video tutorial link with some great advice.  With this fabric you can just pin and cut as normal although i did use one of my older pair of scissors. Be prepared for a messy work space! 

I sewed the sides of the lining first to check the fit.  For me it was perfect - snug but not overly tight.  For the sequin fabric I started with a regular 14 needle but changed to a denim 16 when it broke.  As suggested in the book I used a straight stitch just applying a little tension as I fed the fabric through the machine.  

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Then I had to decide how to attach the lining.  I suddenly thought I couldn't simply put wrong sides together and turn over the top edge as then the sequin fabric would be against my skin.  So with right sides together I stitched on what would be the fold line for the waist.  I turned to the right side and stitched along the edge with a stretch stitch ensuring the lining fabric was not showing.  Then I stitched another row the width of the  elastic away from the first row leaving a gap to insert the elastic.  I threaded the elastic through and used a safety pin to tie the ends together whilst I checked the fit.  I did need to shorten the elastic.  I then stitched the ends of the elastic together and closed up the gap.  The end result is pretty neat.

Although I had finger pressed the seams they didn't seem to want to lie flat so I went back and stitched them down.  For the lining I used the machine but the sequin fabric I did by hand using a silk thread and a cross over hem stitch.  It didn't take long but looked much better.

I was going to bag the hem but the sequin fabric had stretched out slightly and was now wider than the lining,  so I just machine hemmed both ensuring the lining did not show.  I did press the hem with some steam just to flatten and it worked.  

So now I need to make a top.  The suggestion in the book is for tonal matte-finish fabric using the the drape top pattern in the collection. I'll let you know how I get on.

 

 

Embroidered Sweatshirt

One of the first sites I came across when googling embroidery designs was Urban Threads.  They describe their designs as alternative and offbeat.  Checkout their website for helpful videos and tutorials.  I was drawn to the Wicked Cute design pack.

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Whilst waiting for some bra kits to arrive I decided to put my favourite design on the back of an inexpensive sweatshirt.  A trip to Bambers for embroidery thread (and also sequin fabric it seemed  I needed)  I was ready to start.                                                     

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It took forever to get the position right in the big hoop.  I eventually got it on the machine and taped the excess fabric down.  The tape didn't stick and I had to sit and keep the fabric away from the needle.  I took a call and came back and thought "hmm, where is that sleeve".  Yes, It was being embroidered!  I did try to unpick but 10,000 stitches were just not coming out.  So I had to cut the sleeve off to get it out of the hoop.

So today I decided to make my own sweatshirt then I wouldn't need to hoop the whole thing.  Just the week before I made the Linden  so I had the patterns pieces ready to go and found some lovely soft fabric from Modystoffen that I picked up at the FOQ.   

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So much easier to do it this way.  However, this is the first big design I have done and I was a bit put out when the machine said 91 minutes.    

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Pretty impressive - not to everyone's taste but I think it is fabulous.  

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Now for the easy bit.

Now for the easy bit.

This fabric had a softer drape than the one I had used for the previous Linden so I decided to shape the sides.  I used a long basting stitch so I could try it on.  With the sweatshirt inside out I marked where I wanted the waist and hips.  Then I used my french curves to redraw the sides.  Once happy with the shape I whizzed down the seams with my overlocker.

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The neck, cuffs and hem band  are attached in the round.  To attach evenly you mark the quarter points on the garment and binding and pin in place at these points.  Depending on the gap between the quarters I add more pins as you can see in the neck above.  I then overlock the seam allowance and  finish by coverstitching to anchor the seams.

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Looking Good!

 

The Great British Sewing Bee 2017

At first, I wasn't too sure about going to this event, but was persuaded by a 2 for 1 deal  that came through from the Sewing Quarter.  So I thought I would give it a try and drag my husband down to London for the weekend.

It was good to see a few friendly faces there, Charles from Empress Mills, Barnyarns, Fabrics Galore, but my mission was to explore the stands of the independent pattern makers and fabric suppliers for ideas and inspiration.  We did watch the fashion show first which showcased some of the independents as well as the majors. 

 

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As you can see I bought a few patterns.  I started at The Maker's Atelier stand which was draped with beautifully elegant clothes.  Which patterns to get?  In the end I went with the book, signed by Frances, together with a coat and tunic pattern.  

My next stop was the Guthrie & Ghani stand.  They have a fabulous range of fabric and had put together some great show bundles.  Again the choice was too much.  Looking for soft fabrics for the coming months I plumped for the baby pink and deep maroon loopback jersey fabric.  I also bought a kit for the Linden Sweatshirt by the Grainline Studio which came with a light grey marl fleeceback jersey, matching thread, a pack of jersey needles and a twin needle.    

Moving on I bought a couple of the Tilly and the Buttons dress patterns.  I have made a couple of the Zadie dresses and they look great and went together so well.  I  have never really worn dresses but with the range of modern patterns available I am encouraging myself to change.

 

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The next stop on the tour was MadeIt.  After seeing the top version of this pattern in the fashion show I thought it would make a great autumn/winter addition.  It only comes in a  PDF version  but these days  I prefer patterns this way, especially if layered.  They also have some great children's patterns as well. 

By this stage we had walked around for a good few hours so we treated ourselves to Champagne and cake.  Suitably refreshed we were then ready for a final tour.  I had noticed that a number of exhibitors were offering "design your own fabric" services  which seemed a great idea for future projects.  Late in the day we came across Fabworks where I picked up the wool fabric for the shawl collar coat pattern I bought earlier in the day.  This was there first show and they were having a great time.  They also had a fabulous range and some great show bundles.  A really friendly bunch of people and I am looking forward to a trip to their shop.  They even suggested a good place for lunch!

For something different I bought the Vogue formal dress pattern, once again because I saw it featured in the fashion show and was being offered at half price that day!  Most of my recent projects have been  lingerie and casual clothes in stretch fabric.  This patterns calls for nearly 3 metres of boning, something I haven't used before so an interesting make ahead.

Overall I enjoyed the day.  I would have liked to have seen a greater variety of  fabric suppliers to complement the patterns on offer as the venue was a little empty in places.  As a maker of lingerie I was disappointed that this was not featured at all especially as it was one of the GBSB challenges. Conversely, I thought there was a little to much focus on patchwork/quilting.  I go to the Festival of Quilts for this!

Hopefully next up will  be pictures of all my fabulous makes from the show!