Monday, 9 July 2012

Vogue 8671 More Spots

As I intimated in the last post, there was enough of the big spot ponte to make something else, so I went right ahead and made this. I'd had the pattern for a while but it seemed a natural match for the fabric- I could cut some of it out of the smaller spot part and some of the other pieces from the larger spots. It's a Marcy Tilton one with her take on a standard T shirt. Just that little bit different.
I'm very happy with the result and can see me getting a lot of wear out of it- an easy, throw it on when you can't think of what to wear kind of top. I did make a few changes along the way though. 

  • I didn't stay stitch the neck, as directed. Because the neck edge is exposed, once the neckband had been stitched on with the twin needle, this would have meant THREE rows of stitching around the neck. And what would be the chances of lining the first row of stitching up with the second? Minimal in my case, I reckon. 
  • The pattern would have you line up the neck edges of the neck and the neckband- the neckband is just attached on the inside of the neck and sits there, supporting the edge. I decided to extend the neckband a bit beyond the edge- I think it adds a bit of extra interest and I couldn't see the point of doing it at all if you weren't going to see it. 
  • I knew that my thick fabric would not be able to cope with the way the front is supposed to be put together. You stitch the two fronts together, wrong sides together, then simply press the seam to one side. No Way! I had visions of this sticky out seam running down the front of my top, like some picket fence between spotty fields! Instead, I lapped the left front over the right and stitched them with a twin needle. 
  • The sleeves and hems were supposed to have the same band treatment as the neck, so again, I couldn't see the point and just stitched them with a twin needle and left them raw. They are raw in the pattern, but just double thickness. I can see that a thinner knit might need the support of another layer but mine definitely didn't.
  • I shortened the sleeve by 2 inches and also made it considerably narrower at the cuff. I hate flappy sleeves.
  • Unusually for a Vogue pattern, it doesn't require you to stitch the underarm seam twice for reinforcement, but I did anyway. 
I know this looks very like the dress. But it's a top. 

I enjoyed making this pattern and can see me doing it again- it seems an ideal way of using up little bits that aren't big enough to make a whole garment and this is actually one of my favourite kinds of making things. I love the creative process of making things out of leftovers- in cooking, in knitting and in sewing. My garden (yet to be finished) also utilises leftover materials and it's really satisfying to do. My leftovers habit does result in a lot of stripey jumpers though! This top only took a couple of hours of enjoyable, easy sewing and it also cost virtually nothing! A dress and a top for £7.50!

I think the Tilton sisters would approve of the changes- they seem to have a very free and easy approach to sewing: disregarding grain lines, adding bits of random fabrics and trims and having whole workshops encouraging creativity. I would love to be able to go to one of these weekends. If only they weren't so far away and expensive! Until the distant day when I can go, I'll just stay at home and play on my own. Ahh.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Vogue 8536 ish

The side. Obviously.
I'd spent several frustrating hours making a Marcy Tilton skirt (review to follow) and needed an instant gratification kind of project. On a recent visit to Abakhan in Preston I succumbed to the lure of a 15% off sale and a pink and black poly/viscose knit. I think it might be ponte but I'm not sure how ponte is defined. Anyway, it's a hefty, well-behaved kind of knit, with large circles in the middle and smaller ones at the borders. I paid £7.50 for 2 metres (although the cut was generous and I got about 2.5!) and cut it out as soon as it had gone through the washing machine. And had dried, obviously.
The top part is a T shirt pattern, Vogue 8536, which I've used before- I love the fit and the fakey FBA (a bit of stretching in the bust area and it's done!). I grafted it onto the bottom half of Vogue 9631 (which I can't find an image of anywhere on the internet! Maybe my copy is the only one that was sold!). It's a very basic tank dress with a fairly slim bottom half. I just matched up the waistlines and fudged a bit.
It was a pleasure to sew. I didn't really look at the instructions but I did edge stitch around the neck to hold the binding down. There's no way it would have stayed down without it. All done in an hour or so and I'm pleased with the way the sleeves match the part of the body that they are next to. I particularly like it from the side! I can see me wearing this A LOT for work. Or for slobbing around in at the weekend. It doesn't crease and dries really quickly.
The sewing machine The faraway, sad looking shot  with what looks like a big sucker thing about to take me to another dimension. I really must get the hang of the camera. 


It served its purpose as an easy project after the tedium of the skirt but there were leftovers so I had to make.......

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Simplicity 2614

Simplicity 2614 
Laura Ashley Floral Lawn Blouse

Next up, a pretty, pretty summer blouse. I'm not really a "pretty, pretty" sort of a person. Much more likely to be seen in trousers and T shirts than floral blouses but I quite like this one. 

My stash now stands at 159.84 metres. And that's just what's been catalogued! There's probably another 50 metres or so in crates and bags around the house. Most of the preshrunk, measured, described and catalogued stuff (did I tell you I used to work as an archivist in a museum?) is in a trunk in the living room. Some of it doesn't fit in there and is now in the sewing room, theoretically waiting to be made into planned garments. And then more stuff arrives. Obviously it does this of its own volition. It flirts with me, coaxes me, beguiles me in weak moments on the internet or in its dens of iniquity (fabric stores). I'm powerless to resist. I go out for a zip and come back with cotton lawn. I need interfacing, I get ponte. What's a girl to do? 

Don't know what that crease across my bum is about- it's not there usually!

In the interests of reducing my stash, I have been delving into the distant past for fabric that deserves a better life than to be squashed into a trunk. I bought this cotton lawn in Laura Ashley in Southport in 1985 or 6 probably, when they used to sell dress fabrics and they had sales where you could actually afford to buy things (not like now!). It's very fine and soft, takes creases beautifully when you want it to and feels lovely to wear. 

The pattern is Simplicity 2614 which is one of those that has different pattern pieces for different bust sizes. Always an advantage. I would have liked to have made a different sleeve as this style draws attention to my upper arms where I don't need the attention, but I didn't have enough fabric. After reading many reviews on Sewing Pattern Review, in addition to cutting the D cup, I did a bit of extra fudging to add a bit more bust room and I'm very happy with the fit. I just cut an inch lower on the upper front pieces and gathered along that edge to attach to the lower front. 

There was a lot of cutting out of pieces on the bias, which is a bit more of a faff than cutting pieces on folds but it was simple enough and quick to do. I didn't bother understitching the facing (I hate it and usually end up messing up the whole neck when I do it). I just pressed the facing to the inside and then edge stitched all the way round. It sits beautifully. 

I'm very happy with it and can see myself going out for afternoon tea in it. I don't go out for afternoon tea very often but maybe I should, just so I can wear the blouse.
Apricot skirt
Burdastyle 12-2009-122
This is the first of several recent makes. I seem to have spent more time in the room of loveliness than usual recently. Hours and hours listening to BBC radio crime drama on the iplayer and pottering between sewing machine and ironing board, avoiding the world. Fabulous.

The first on the list is a rarity for me- a Burdastyle pattern. I get the magazine on subscription every month and love many of the garments but the thought of the tracing and seam allowance marking really puts me off making anything. I actually did the tracing part for this skirt last year some time and even cut it out and THEN was put off making the skirt because it had separate bits for the fly front zip and no proper instructions as to how all that was supposed to work. After it languished in the basket of UFOs for probably eleven months, I girded my loins and tackled it head on. Actually I used the instructions from another Burdastyle magazine in which the garment with the fly front was the featured garment with the proper instructions, i.e. it had pictures. It went ok although I put the flyshield on backwards but I had well and truly reached the "Sod It" point by then and just carried on regardless. The skirt was a bit short when I tried it on and I didn't want it to get any shorter by hemming it so I made some bias binding and used that. I think all I've read about Burda fit is true though. I cut a 44 and am very happy with the way it fits.
The flouncy back view



Joyous waistband facing
The fabric is another ancient stashery- at least 25 years in the trunk, an apricot twill- with rather more synthetic than natural judging by the smell when I pressed it- and I didn't have enough for the front pockets or for the waistband facings. The front pockets would have been useful but the lack of waistband facing led to the part that gives me the most pleasure. I used a tiny piece of beautiful Liberty Tana lawn to face it and every time I see it, it lifts my heart. It's also butter soft against my skin. I think that is one of the chief advantages of sewing things for yourself- these little unexpected touches that set our garments apart from the run of the mill shop bought things.

I like the shape of the skirt (although not the shape of me at the moment) with its little flippy-out flounce and I think it will be useful for work and play from Spring to Autumn. It also cost nothing- the fabric was leftover from something else, the zip and the thread I already had. Free skirt! (I'm not counting the £4.75 a month subscription to Burdastyle. Out of the three and a half years worth of magazines, I have now sewn 3 things. I've just worked that out to a pattern cost of £66.50 per garment. Oops- better start sewing some more to bring the average down!)

The top I'm wearing in the first couple of pictures, by the way, was bought by my mum on a visit to America in 1964. Butterflies. Ahead of her time or what!!!