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.

Summer Wardrobe Done

So with the lingerie and swimwear done I just had to finish off with some summer top makes. Busy with work, time was running out, so I settled with using up the linen from the Lander Shorts and making some True Bias Ogden Camis.  I bought both patterns together after following Lauren Guthrie's Summer Wardrobe blogs.  

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I had to find a pattern that required under a metre of this beautiful Sorona linen.  I mostly buy PDF patterns but I subscribe to Sew magazine and you get one or two patterns free each month.  So I found this great little New Look K6459 pattern which for me is cropped and is cut in at the armhole.  I thought it was going to be a little plain so I was looking for a design to fit into the corner.  Then this pretty dandelion breeze design from Urban Threads popped up on Instagram.  Perfect.

This got me to some designs I had bought earlier in the year to put on t-shirts.  It is really hard to find reasonably priced good quality t-shirts but then I had some vouchers from Marks and Spencer to use.

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The cute dogs are my favourite.  A design called Waggin Good Time.  The kitten design is from a pack called Punimals.  Both from Urban Threads.  I also have a Christmas edition I have used for Christmas cards.  I also wanted to get a bit of practice in with iron vinyl using my cricut maker and easy press.  No time to buy any more colours I had to go with the few colours I had.  Scouring the internet I came across Lovesvg.com for the two free designs.

I just love the fun embroidery designs.  You have to be careful not to use too heavy a design on jersey but this worked like a dream.  I use a sticky stabilizer as I find this is the only way to stop the jersey moving whilst sewing.  Then I always back with Dream Weave as this is supersoft against the skin.  I also have a cat version with sunglasses but thought may be a bit heavy.  

The iron on vinyl is still very new to me.  I have tried a small number of vinyls but really like the Xpres Ultra Cut which I buy by the metre.  You have to remember to mirror your image!  Glad I bought the weeding tools to pick out all the negative space.  

Then finally I got to make the very popular Ogden Cami.  When I was down in Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts I made a detour to Guthrie and Ghani and picked up some beautifully soft Art Gallery rayon.

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I made a muslin first which seemed to fit pretty well.  I checked the fit of the strap although you can adjust right at the end.  Then I made the cotton lawn version.  Very pretty.  Then for the silky soft Art Gallery fabric.  A bit slippery and frays quickly but how well does this drape.   The cotton lawn I had overlocked each side of the seams separately but for this I had finished in one for stability.  I also used a rolled hem.  Only ever done one other but because the colour match is good is looks fabulous.  I also just overlocked the hem on the facing so as not to add any bulk.   Not bad for a mornings work.  A very satisfying quick make.

 

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Then my finishing touch.  The pattern suggested marking the back as pretty similar to the front.  So embroidered my logo on the back facing. 

Sew My Style - True Bias Lander

Lingerie marathon finished I turned my attention to the July Sew My Style patterns.  Initially I thought I would try the Forsythe Trousers from Blank Slate Patterns as I thought the Lander Pant & Short from True Bias was not for me.  Then, Lauren Guthrie posted a blog on the short version and a decision was made.

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Given the heat wave we are having I liked the idea of the comfortable capri length Forsythe but I have a dislike of anything fussy so would have made without the sash belt.  Not a big fan of either ankle length or wide legged trousers the Lander didn't originally appeal to me.  However, I thought the button fly would give me some much needed practice of buttonholes and fly fronts and Lauren's version did look great.  Never used a True Bias pattern before but seen so many rave reviews about the Odgen Cami I thought I would buy this at the same time.

I was going to buy the same material that Lauren had used but I came across this Sorona Linen which is a bio-based, eco-friendly fibre that has been mixed with the linen to enhance it, making it less likely to wrinkle, dry faster and retain its shape for longer.  Sold!  Most of the colours had sold out but then there was just enough in the black.  I placed the order and then got a phone call to say it was in two pieces.  So I quickly printed out the pattern pieces to see if the two lengths would work.  Thankfully it did and the order came with some extra thread for the inconvenience.  All the staff are just so helpful.  Can't wait to visit on the way to the Festival of Quilts.

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Material washed and pressed I was ready to go.  Not a layered PDF pattern but the shorts and trousers have a separate file so you don't waste paper if you want to do the shorts.  Not that I have made many but I would always make a muslin for trousers.  Normally I would just make up the main pieces and pin to fasten but ended up putting on the fly and waistband to see where they sat for fitting.  I also wanted to see the length as for me they looked to be quite short shorts! For the side seams there is a 1" seam allowance to allow for fitting.  The length was fine but I moved the seam allowance to 1/2" as it felt a little tight for the warm weather and I wanted to use the pockets.  There is a great blog on common adjustments from Kelli.

I then cut the pattern pieces to the correct size as sometimes you can lose some of the detail when tracing from a multi-size pattern. (Can't do that with paper patterns!)  When I placed the pattern pieces on the fabric it dawned on me that I had bought the fabric requirement for 45" fabric rather than 54".  A bit annoyed with myself for wasting money I quickly realised there was enough left to make a top as well.... about which more later!  I used black woven interfacing due to the colour and weight of the fabric.  Modern interfacing is so much softer and adds the strength without the stiffness.

The first step is the back darts and then you apply the back pockets.  I liked the way you stitch down the turn back and then carry on all around so you have a stitch guide for the sides and bottom.  It also helped that the fabric pressed so well.  I did make sure that the pockets were the exact same size and were accurately placed on the back pieces. I used a fabric glue pen to hold the bottom corner folds in place whilst sewing.

Quilting has left me with boxes of leftover cotton pieces so I had so much to choose from for the pocket lining.  I went with the Art Gallery zip fabric as I didn't want too much colour in case it showed through.  

If you are using a contrast lining it is really important to trim the lining piece by at least 1/16" so the main fabric rolls to the back as you can see in the middle picture.   Great to have the 1/4" inch quilting foot to use for the pocket edge.  Again made sure the pockets were exactly the same size and accurately placed on the front pieces.

Then onto the fly.  The instructions are fabulous - clear and well illustrated especially on the way to professionally finish the edges.  This is something the indie patterns designers have really picked up on.  After finishing the inner leg seams you attached the left side to the right side.  I pinned the pockets together to make sure when I pinned the centre seam they would match perfectly.  I even managed to perfectly overlock the curved edge of the left fly.  There is a sewing guide for each size so make sure you use the correct one when topstitching in place.

On to the dreaded buttonholes.  My favourite marker (and I have tried a few) is the sewline fabric pencil in white.  The replaceable leads give a clear fine line and are easily removable with a fabric eraser.  I only mark the starting point as my sewing machine has an automatic buttonhole function.  Not perfect but pretty good for me.

Having a read a number of blogs on this pattern I decided to interface the right fly as well although not instructed to do so.  The fabric is pretty lightweight and I thought would give some support and structure. Once sewn in you do some bar tacks to hold all the layers in place.  My machine does have a bar tack function but I haven't had much success using it so I just went along with the instructions and everything came out pretty well.

Then on to the belt loops.  The blogs I had read suggested suggested alternative ways to the turning method applied here when using thicker fabrics.  This was fine for me.  I got out my edge stitch foot for the 1/8" topstitching along both long edges.  

The fitting instructions tell you to ensure you keep to the 1" seam allowance at the waist so that the waistband fits.  Unfortunately, this didn't work for my body shape so I had to remember to lengthen the waistband by 2" as I had used a 1/2" seam allowance.  This meant the notches were off but I had no trouble fitting on the muslin so I didn't bother working out where they should go.

Again the pattern instructions are so clear on how to finish the waistband and it turned out so well.  The only extra step I took was to baste the waistband in place before I stitched in the ditch rather than just pin to make sure I caught the edge and to ensure the waistband was even all around.

I hadn't marked the placement of the waistband buttonhole as I waited until in place and could ensure in line with the rest.  

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Just the hems to do.  The fabric had frayed so much in the relatively short time it took to get to this point that I decided to do a slightly different way (which is also quicker).  I mark double the hem allowance and then fold/press to this mark.  So much easier than folding on the marked line especially when it come to 1/4" seams.  Then I simply folded in half so that the raw edge was up to the fold line.  Only one line to mark!

What do I think?  I think they are absolutely gorgeous.  They fit my body shape pretty well.  I know others have done a curved waistband alteration but for me they sit high enough up that this is not a problem.  I might even be tempted to make the long version.  Although I am going to try the Odgen Cami next.

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Even More Evie la Luve - The Mimi Bikini Practice

A little rushed last year I thought year I would give myself time to make the perfect swimwear.  I had a big success with the Jalie 3350 but ran out of time for a bikini. On a run with Evie la Luve patterns and a 20% off offer I decided to give the Mimi Bikini a go. The description on the website is "The Mimi Bikini is a gorgeous cut combining a simple silhouette with a twist. You can be sure this bikini will stay in place with the two straps at the back and good coverage at the front!"

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Showing off my updated model.  A tin of white spray paint later and most of the shine gone!  Really need to get myself a proper lingerie form.

I knew I had loads of practice fabric left from my buy by the weight lycra from Abakhan.  However, I was delighted to find I had enough of the beautiful fabric, from Emerald Erin, that I had used for my swimming costume.   Although only a trial, you want to be able to wear if the fit goes well. Still loads of lining left from B Wear, another good source of lingerie supplies from Sweden. The pattern does need over 8 metres of elastic. I didn’t have quite enough of the rubber elastic which I had from Fit2Sew, a UK supplier with an ever expanding range of products, but I did have some alternative non rubber which not quite as strong but thought would try.

When only pattern weights and a rotary cutter will do. Or in may case heart balloon weights from my wedding party. Still had to neaten up a little as the fabric is so slippy. Using scraps I each piece was cut as a single layer.

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At this point I thought I would share my favourite aides for sewing with slippery stretch fabric.  I have both stretch and jersey machine needles. Both are ball point but the difference is that the eye of the stretch needle is higher so it produces a longer loop allowing more stretch.  A snippet I picked up from Lauren Guthrie at the Olympia Knitting and Stitching Show. On this note I also use ball point pins and hand sewing needles. All designed to part the fibres rather than piercing so as not to ladder the fabric. I find the bamboo stiletto invaluable for keeping fabric in place whilst under the foot especially on narrow seams. Then I often start seams with some Sitch and Tear underneath to stop the fabric being sucked in.  If I have to do basting I use a silk thread which pulls out easily without leaving any marks.

I did hand baste the linings to the main fabric.  You can use a zigzag or long machine stitch around the edge but sometimes the material just doesn't like being played with.  All the seams for the top are enclosed.  You then attach the elastic to the top edge and band ensuring it will fit into your closure.  Previously I have shied away from attaching elastic using an overlocker but thought I would give it a go as the folded edge looks so much better.  Starting off is a little tricky but after that so quick.  Then the pattern suggests using a twin needle or a three step zigzag to stitch in place.  I have a cover stitch for this but as only a trial I just went with the zigzag especially as my edge had already been covered.

The next step is to attach the bottom band.  This is where I wasn't quite sure where the folded back elastic should sit.  There is a little gap between the overlocked edge and the end of the seam which doesn't quite look right.  The instructions don't show you from this side so can't tell what it should look like.  However, there was a picture in the second PDF file for the bottoms.  The elastic is applied to the band before moving on to the straps.

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The patterns gives you a really neat way of doing this and there is a link to a video tutorial on the Evie la Luve You Tube channel.  With the strap folded right sides together you use a small zigzag to attach the elastic to the fabric, half on the elastic and half off.  You then trim close to the stitches and turn to the right side using a safety pin or hairgrip.

At this point I pinned the closure on to check the fit.  Very impressed with the fit for me so on to the bottoms.

I basted the lining to the front and back pieces and, unlike the pattern, only one of the top bands as you can enclose the seam for a neater look.  The gusset is applied using the burrito method so then only the side seams needed finishing.

The leg elastic is applied in the round and again I used the overlocker.  All fears now conquered!  The side seam elastic band is applied in the same way as the top.  This time I was a little more careful how I placed against the band and the pattern does include a picture of how this should look.  The instructions for the bottoms are in a second PDF file which I didn't read until I started making up.

Then the big try on.  Unfortunately, not quite what I was expecting.  The band was a very unflattering fit due to the fact my high hip is more or less the same measurement as my low hip as I found out when pattern drafting ie not curvy.  So to find a solution - nude powernet.  I placed the back and front pattern pieces together overlapping by the seam allowance and drew around the curve and straight across the top.  I added the width of the seam and cut out.  I pinned one side in place and tried on.  Solution found!  I finished the edge with the overlocker then  I sewed on from the front going over the same three step zigzag.  For a quick fix doesn't look bad on the inside.

Well another triumph for Evie la Luve.  For me the size options were spot on and no need for any alterations.  What I love about the patterns is that fit exactly how they are described.  This is definitely a go swimming in bikini and not be afraid whether it is still in place when you get out of the pool!  However, there are some important points to make.  The first is that not all fabric is as could as this.  It is a good weight, it recovers well and looked as good after washing.  Second, both top and bottom are lined.  Third, always use the rubber swimwear elastic if you can.  And, as suggested in the instructions, try and use similar products for your test garment as the results can be so different.

What next?  My print to order sport lycra from Spoonflower has arrived as well as tons of elastic from Fit2Sew (and bra finding kits in some lovely colours).  Just waiting for delivery of bikini clasps in an array of colours from Sewing Chest (another great UK supplier).  And to top it all off Evie la Luve is due to release another Bikini pattern this week!!!!!

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.

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 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!