Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

Fabric: Grey Melton (main), quilting cotton (lining), sateen (sleeve lining)
Size made: 14

I have wanted a duffle coat for a long time so was really excited to finally try out this pattern. When my old everyday winter coat started looking a bit shabby I decided to replace it with something handmade.  Lucky for me I had about 3m of this grey melton fabric stashed away. Unlucky for my husband, it will now never become a Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat. You snooze you lose!

This is view B, the longer thigh length version. I wanted the extra warmth that comes with a longer coat. I think the shorter version would be good for Spring time around these parts and it would really smarten up an outfit. But for now, I wanted to be snuggly.

The wool is perhaps a lighter weight than I would deem perfect, but it certainly is warm. Also water just pills up on the surface and can be shaken off so it doesn't get too saturated. I dislike how it creases easily and a heavier weight fabric would definitely look better after sitting down in it for a while.

Grainline always has well written patterns and for the majority of their range, there is a sewalong to accompany them. The Cascade sewalong is excellent, and I followed it while I made this. I found having a visual aid along the way helped to clear up any niggles. I found it useful when attaching the hood. There was an excess of fabric that was puzzling me, but in the sewalong, it showed you to fold it over near the edge. 

I chose to use the contrast lining for the zipper bands. I wish I hadn't. I don't like how the contrast peeks out from under the center front bands. So, note to self, don't do that next time!

I had a go at making the toggles, and they don't look too bad! A while back, I picked up a bag of leather scraps and matched the dark brown to some buttons I had in my drawer. I was a bit worried about them not holding together, but with the aid of some Gorilla Glue, I don't think the straps are going anywhere. They are pretty stuck down!

The hood is just lovely. It is very deep and roomy and I like how the lining fabric has a chance to be on display.

The construction of the coat went very smoothly. That moment when you are bagging the lining and turning it out never fails to scare me but I needn't have worried, it all sits so nicely. 

I used the quilting cotton for the sleeves too but at the tops I lined the upper half of the sleeve lining with black sateen. This just helps the coat to slip on and off easily. I wanted the sleeves to keep me warm without being cumbersome. It worked out well.

 I would definitely make this again. It is a slow and steady type of project, and requires a lot of cutting out but the sizing is spot on for me and I am getting lots of wear out of it already.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Jalie 3886: Julia Undies

Fabric Used: Jersey with 2 way stretch

We have had a lot of success over here sewing up comfy underwear using patterns from Jalie and so when everyone started raving about the Julia pattern I wanted to try it. It is a standard Jalie pattern where the sizing runs from ages 2 - 13 for the children and 33" - 51" bust for the ladies, so all three of us will get some use out of this. There is a camisole, bralette and knickers within the set and the knickers can be made high waist or low.

I made this set for my eldest daughter, she tends to be my guinea pig for these things and most patterns tend to get purchased with her in mind anyway. Not that she's my favourite or anything. Just the eldest..! 

The bralette top has sewn up beautifully, and it looks really good on her. It is a racerback, pull on style with a lined bodice and a good firm elasticated band.

The elastic I used is fold over elastic, which is an absolutely fantastic product for finishing this top. I have actually never used it before (yes I know it has been around forever, but I have never needed it!) and am now addicted! 

The front gives good coverage, not too low at the bust and nice and comfy under the arms. I hope that when I make one for myself, that I will be able to wear it under some tank tops and not have to worry about straps showing.

I lined this with solid black just to help me differentiate between the lining and the main fabric during construction. It feels lovely and soft against the skin because all the seams are concealed.

All sizes have bust darts to give a better fit, as you can see below.

The front band is not meant to be pieced together, I was just using up some scraps and couldn't make it fit any other way. So ordinarily, that front band would be smooth.

One thing to note on the under bust elastic band, is that once it is attached, there is no going back. So make sure you have measured the bust size correctly. The elastic strip is sewn on before folding the band and attaching it to the bodice. It makes it super firm but impossible to alter if it is too big/tight.

The straps meet at the back and are secured by one of those little bra rings. Also, the instructions show you when to attach sliders so you can alter the straps when wearing if you wish. I had a look in my local haberdashery, but sadly couldn't get any bra findings. I thought my project would grind to a halt until I ordered some, but then in my stash at home I found these....

And they worked perfectly! Never tell a crafty person they can't do something. There is always a way!

I tried it on her first and pinned the straps so they wouldn't need adjusting. This enabled me to leave off the sliders for now. I found a seller on ebay that supplies the rings and sliders but have also used for my elastics and they have a great range of supplies.

On to the knickers.... there are two options and here I have gone with the high waisted ones just so I could get a good idea of the fit on her. My girl has a long body and so I didn't want to find out they would be too low on her. 

After trying them on, I know she could carry off the low waist ones too and so I have another pair cut out already with the lower option. She has declared them the comfiest knickers ever. The design of them might have something to do with that.

Firstly, there is no side seam. The back piece wraps around to the front making it nice and smooth over the hips.

The elastic around the back piece is only stretched between the top of the crotch piece and about a third of the way from the end. This gives good coverage where the bottom is fullest, meaning the back piece clings (and doesn't gape) when you are standing still, but has the flexibility to stretch out when you are more active. 

You can just about see where the back piece looks gathered on the left of this photo. Its a great design.

 I suspect there will be a few more of these in our house soon! 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Little Knitted Mouse

Hello everyone! So it has been a while since my last project, and that isn't just a blogged project, its any make of any kind. I have been having a short break over the holidays. 

We have had lots of fun camping over the school holidays. We tested our new tent out and I am glad to say, we didn't have any major dramas and we got to see some very beautiful parts of Wales while chilling out with some friends.

Being out and about means that any projects have to be portable. This is where knitting comes into its own. I get to satisfy the creative itch and get away from home for a while.
 I have yet to test whether a sewing machine would run efficiently on a 16 amp electrical hook-up tent pitch...! (I include this link for my future reference and for anybody else how may be interested in testing a campsites electrics.)

As well as a shawl which is taking me forever to knit, I have been casting on this cute little mouse. She is for my bosses new baby girl. Since we didn't know what baby would be, I had a boy mouse on standby as well. He will need to be finished off at some point but this once was finished up once we knew it was pink all the way!

I used a Little Cotton Rabbits pattern. Actually, I used three Little Cotton Rabbits patterns. The Girl Mouse, the Trio of Jumpers, and the Dungarees and Pinafore Dress.

The main body of the mouse is knit using Drops Nepal yarn and the stripy legs, dress and short sleeved jumper is knit from Drops Safran.

She came out rather well. Its been a while since I made up a knitted toy and I thought I have lost my mojo at first. But a few sessions curled up with a cup of tea and my knitting proved to be just the tonic I needed. Practice makes perfect!

I included the little pocket friend, which I thought was just the right touch. My nan used to make me knitted toys when I was younger. I have a family of Scarecrows all handknit by her, which I cherish. The best part of them are all the little extras that you have to hunt to find. A caterpillar/robin on the shoulder, or a basket of mushrooms in Nanny Scarecrows hand were as a child, just magical. 

I tacked everything down and didn't include any buttons just for safety. 

Now the gift has been received I can share her with you. I think I may have to finish off the other mouse for L. She was quite enamored of this one!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A new holiday purse

Pattern: The Kristine ID Wallet by Uniquely Michelle
Fabric: Home Dec weight for the exterior and linen for the lining

I am planning a few trips over the summer holidays and for times when we are down at the beach for example I wanted a little purse that would hold just the essentials like ice cream money and a few cards. 

I have a little bit of home dec fabric at home, but nothing I wanted to make a purse out of. We attended The Creative Craft show at the weekend, which was brilliant! My daughter, surprisingly, really enjoyed coming with me and wants to go again next year. She really liked all the crafty demos. There were fabric sellers galore, and I did purchase a little bit (I was very restrained). Amongst my booty was a £5 grab bag of assorted home dec fabric and trimmings. I liked the colour scheme so I blindly picked up a bag.

Just the right sort of thing for trying out a new pattern.

This purse/wallet is the perfect size for slipping in my beach bag. It isn't too bulky and the wrist strap makes it a bit more portable as well as giving me some added security when walking about with it.

You can fit a few cards in the two card slots underneath the envelope flap. The flap clicks shut nicely with a snap. The pattern suggested a little magnetic clip but I didn't have any to hand. This snap or even some velcro works just as well.

I recently got some little woven labels, and this is the first project I have managed to use them for. I am very happy with them, they look great. I ordered them online from Wunderlabel, and the whole process was really easy. After all these years of sewing, it is about time my makes got some proper labels!

So, the top of the bag has a zip which opens out into a nice roomy lined pocket. A good size for loose change and a locker key.

The reverse side of the purse has an ID window. This is one of the features that sold the pattern to me. I would like to be able to put my membership card or train card in there so I don't have to go rummaging through to find them. The frame has a rectangle of clear vinyl in there, perfect for using the cards on scanners etc.

You need a couple of bag making supplies for this project. I needed a swivel snap hook for the wrist strap (you can also make a longer lanyard option if that suits your needs). Hubby managed to source some on Etsy that are absolutely beautiful.

All in all, I am really happy with my little purse and found the sewing pattern to be thorough and easy to follow.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Oliver + S Cartwheel Dress

Pattern: Cartwheel Dress by Oliver + S
Size Made: 7
Fabric: Woodland Clearing by Robert Kaufman (Liesl Gibson)

I made this dress back in May when I was auditioning patterns for her birthday dress. I ended up using the Garden Party pattern instead, but as a bonus, she ended up with two choices. Lucky Girl!

Relatively new to the market, this pattern has a really interesting and clever construction method. It is a wrap-style dress, with no closures other than ties (which can be sewn to wrap around the front or around the back) and some velcro, which is hidden underneath the skirt section.

A sew-along was hosted over on the Oliver + S blog at the end of May, which is a great visual aid for showing off the details of the construction.

We really like the look and feel of this design. It is well fitted in the bodice area with subtle cap sleeves, which are great for summer. 
The wrap section crosses over with enough overlap so it gives good coverage and no worries for me. 
The velcro tabs underneath, which you could use a snap for instead, seem to hold firm even under the most active play. 

I liked the look of View A with the ties at the front, my little one would like them at the back. I will be happy to oblige her and make another View B version sometime soon.

The Woodland Clearing fabric was a lucky find for me. I bought what was left on the roll when I spotted it at the fabric shop and it was just enough to make this dress with none left over. Phew!

I would heartily recommend this pattern for a cute summer dress. We will be getting a lot of wear out of this one.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

A Spring Birthday Dress

Pattern: Oliver + S: Garden Party Dress

Fabric: Liberty lawn for the main and blue quilting cotton for the bands

Size made: 7

My little beauty turned 7 this month. This feels incredibly old to me and I am a little scared how fast time is ticking. We were discussing her birthday a few weeks ago and she asked me what dress I was making her for her special day. Up until that point I hadn't given the matter much thought. 

My brain started scanning through my pattern inventory versus my fabric stash and I was thinking of a possible match when she asked "Can it be blue? And pretty?"
Right. This required a shopping trip.

We went shopping together and happily settled on this delicate and summery Liberty lawn. I was delighted because, you know, Liberty! Luckily for us, there was a sale on all the older stock Liberty fabrics so we got a bargain.

I actually intended to make up the new Oliver + S Cartwheel Dress so I did a muslin to check on the style, the fit and the pattern itself. So infact she has a spare dress. Once I had finished the Cartwheel I took a step back and thought "does that feel like a birthday dress?" The very fact that I asked myself that, gave me my answer. No.

I love the pattern and she will get loads of wear out of it. I will certainly make another one and there will be a blog post soon, once I have photographed her in it. But I wasn't vibing birthday.

Luckily, I found the Garden Party in my pattern box. This is one I haven't made up yet. The sleeveless versions on my web searches looked light and girly and full-filled the criteria.

I enjoyed sewing this enormously. The shirred bodice looks beautiful and the bands give the dress balance and structure. It is easy to put on (I sized up and at this stage, she doesn't even need the button undoing to get it on and off). I love it!

My thread chains are getting better too. The first one I did on another dress tangles easily whenever it gets washed. This time I used 3 strands of embroidery thread instead of regular sewing thread and it has a little bit more body to it. Fingers crossed it won't tangle!

So there we have it. One happy girl, Mummy did well. She wore it on her birthday and wanted to wear it the next day too. 

I also got to tick another unused Oliver + S pattern off my hit-list. I own about 5-6 patterns that I have yet to sew up and the challenge is on to make them before my girls size out of the range altogether.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Closet Case Patterns: Clare Coat

Pattern: the Clare Coat by Closet Case Patterns
Size made: 14
View B
Fabric used: Wool Coating from Minerva Crafts

This is the project I have been looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. I still find coats quite intimidating even though I have made 2 duffles for my daughters, 2 asymmetrical zipper coats, and numerous lined hooded jackets. There is still a fear.

This is the first time I have used a Closet Case pattern, despite owning the Ginger jeans (I'm still building up to those) and I found the pattern a delight to use. The instructions are plentiful yet clear and I didn't struggle over any of the steps. I did follow the sewalong because it would have been silly not to use such a valuable resource.

The sewalong even has pre-sewing steps where you can read up on style inspiration and fabric choices before you decide or buy any supplies. That is brilliant information, and all in one place making it easy to flick back to.

So, my coat, as you see is the view B option. This is a shorter length, ending at the hip, double breasted with inseam pockets, full length sleeves and a deep funnel neck collar.

When prepping this pattern, it seems like there are a billion pieces to cut out. This is because the sleeve is divided into front and back pieces, then there are side panels, front pieces, inner front facings, lining, interfacing etc etc..... 
It took me quite a while and I had to be quite thorough about labelling everything incase I forgot which piece was which.

The way the sleeve is cut though, is beautiful. It has great shaping and you have a little dart on the inner elbow. I don't mind plodding through lots of little preparation steps when you end up with something that feels as nice as this to wear at the end.

I love the collar! It is sturdy enough to stand up on its own around the back even when the collar is folded open at the front and it is so nice to keep that wind out.

I can't help feeling a bit 'Sherlock' with the collar framing my face.

I sourced the large sew in snaps on Ebay. I went for the 30mm size which are quite large, but look great. They click in with a solid audible snap, so I am confident this coat will stay put when worn.

The snaps are situated mid collar opening and just below the collar-body seam. It keeps the closure nice and tight around your neck. And, yes, as you can see below, it is good for hiding in!

My lining is a slippery acetate and it slides on and off beautifully. I am really happy with how it came together. In hindsight, I wish I had made one side of the pocket bags from the coating fabric because I would have preferred the feel of a softer, more solid fabric in there.

 Another thing I need to note, for myself, is that the back piece should be fully interfaced next time, rather than just at the shoulders and hem. I am probably the only one who will notice, but I can tell that the finish is a little different on the surface of the fabric where the interfacing has bonded. Next time I will cut a whole piece out.

It may be Spring, but I think I will be wearing this coat for a while longer yet. As we say around these parts, I am a bit nesh and feel the cold. So it is staying on the peg for as long as possible!