Other Sewing Creative Fun! The Last 6 Months – Part 2 of 4

After completing the 52 Made On Monday pieces earlier this year and then finding lots of extra time as I started taking some leave from work, I began, finally, cutting out and making some clothes from the multitude of fabrics I have in my stash.  Whilst I have a cupboard full of cotton fabric for my quilting and textile art endeavours, I also have a cupboard full of fabric for making clothes…….

When I was younger I used to make all my clothes, however, I have since lapsed into only making individual items on rare occasions.  Now that I had more time, I found myself wanting to do something different and hence the clothes making began…..

As I began, I remembered how I hated cutting out……..  It is really hard to sew something without cutting it out!  Hard to believe, when I love cutting up bits of fabric for quilting and textile art.  Cutting fabric with the rotary cutter and ruler for quilting is very therapeutic.  So is cutting out shapes for applique…..

Cutting out clothes patterns (it seems) is very stressful for me.  So I was determined to perfect a few key patterns, re draft them as required, to ensure a perfect fit in order to take all the stress away.

I have perfected a pattern for a simple top, 2 jackets and a slim line pair of ¾ pants.  Perfect as we come into spring……

The first jacket I made was too big in the shoulders.  I amended them using a large fold and making it a feature.  This feature made the shoulder more stable and created a fitted look without the use of shoulder pads.  I have since worn the jacket a couple of times and will continue to wear it through spring as it is very light weight.

The second jacket was tricky as the fabric I used was thick and extremely stretchy, however, some of the mistakes I made ended up being very nice features.  I seem to do that a lot.  A simple pattern ends up taking a lot longer as I try and fix a part that doesn’t fit very well.  The effort was well worth it as I love the fabric and am happy with the finished product.

The front panels were way too big…. Not sure how that happened, I think I was trying to adjust the sleeves based on the first jacket to ensure shoulders weren’t too big….  Back ended up being perfect but not the front.

I fixed it by putting two big tucks across the front panels near the base of the collar – cut off the excess fabric and made it a feature seam…

I also finished the seams of the jacket with a patterned stitch.  The front of the jacket is a little warped due to the patterned stitching causing it to stretch, but I think I kind of like it that way…..

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I certainly learnt that when dealing with extremely stretchy fabric you need to use interfacing if you don’t want it to stretch.  Live and learn!

I used that lesson on the pants I recently made.  I amended an existing pattern in order to make slimmer fitting pants.  I went too far and made them too tight around the calves.  Again, not being one to give up and trash all the hard work…. I undid the side seems.  I hate using the quick unpick or seam ripper, but seem to be using it a lot lately…..

I didn’t want to leave the big gaping side panel as it was, so decided to shorten them further and use some machine embroidery on a panel insert.  Embroidered pants seems to be in at the moment.  I made sure I interfaced the fabric before I used a patterned stitch and am fairly pleased with the result.  I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear them.

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I made sure I amended the pants pattern slightly before I cut out the second pair from a fabulous fabric I found that has an embossed type pattern on it.

I now have two pairs of ¾ pants I can’t wait to wear…….   Happy Sewing until the next instalment.   Cheers Cora.

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Silhouette Patterns – Jorja’s wrap

I have talked before about how I love Silhouette Patterns and how inspiring the webcasts and YouTube videos that Peggy (the pattern company owner and designer) produces. In a recent YouTube video, Peggy talked about how she had gone to a workshop and one of the ladies had sewn a wrap based on one that Peggy had demonstrated in one of her earlier videos. The lady who had sewn the wrap had done something different to the original instructions. Since Peggy didn’t recognise it, she and the ladies in the workshop worked out how to reproduce it. Peggy then explained it on the video. I think she called it Jorja’s wrap, after the innovative lady who had sewn it. The instructions start at around the 40 minute mark.

Since I am on a quest to use up more of my stash than I purchase, I immediately thought of a piece of lightweight knit fabric that I only had half a metre of. It was 150 cm wide (~ 60 inches) so perfect for this project since I had yet to find a better use for it.

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As Peggy mentioned in the video, it was difficult to picture how it was going to work, but I simply followed the instructions and it worked perfectly.  I won’t explain it here, because it is far better for you to view the video yourself. You will see Peggy wearing her version but the sewing instructions are towards the end at about 40 minutes into the video.

Here are some work in progress shots.  It is basically sewing one seam, once the edges of the fabric are finished to your liking.  So I straightened the edges, then overlocked them, fiddled around with the seam as demonstrated by Peggy with her piece of paper, sewed it and voila!

2 overlocked edges3 folded and pinned

It is the middle of winter here in Melbourne, and I was surprised how warm the wrap is even though it is only lightweight fabric. So I now have a use for any more random half metre fabric pieces I find in my stash.  I highly recommend you give it a go, let me know if you do.

4 front 15 back

Until next time, Lyn

Cardi-coat

In my efforts to reduce my fabric stash I decided to make a new coat using Silhouette Pattern #1819 which is really a jacket.  I decided not to adjust for my height (I’m only 5’2”) so it is a good length for a coat.  We have had some mild autumn days lately where a heavy coat is not necessary but it’s nice to have something to keep warm.

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I used this double sided fabric which I got on sale recently.  The pattern is unlined so I wanted to use the black “wrong side” as the folded back lapels.1 fronts

I wanted to do this pattern partly because the finished measurements are the same as another pattern for a trench coat which I am going to try next. I will still do a muslin but it gives me a size as a starting point. For those not familiar with Silhouette Patterns the size is chosen by the finished measurements.  I measured a couple of RTW coats at the bust and hip lines to arrive at my size. The only issue I had with cutting out was that I only had 1.5 metres of fabric, so I decided to piece the sleeves at the shorten/lengthen line. A new “design feature”! The pattern is only 4 pieces – front, back, and 2 piece sleeves.

Here are some process photos:

The collar is part of the front piece so once I stitched it together at centre back, and after sewing the shoulder seams, I pinned along the neck edges.

2 collar cb

At the pivot point you make a cut up to the pivot point to make it easier to turn the corner.

And the finished seam before pressing. I must admit I was slightly terrified but the neckline seam worked brilliantly.6 corner on neckline

I applied tie interfacing to the sleeve head as per the pattern instructions.  I have done this before and was thrilled with what a difference it makes and how easy it is to insert the sleeve.  Once the interfacing is basted in you can really see how it makes the sleeve head rounded and has eased up some of the fabric.7 tie interfacing basted

I was then able to insert the sleeves really easily – first go! How it should be, right? The edges of the lapels have been overlocked (I considered bias tape or fold over elastic but thought the overlocking looked fine) and so I did the same to the hem.  One large button on the front with a loop and done!  When rolling up the sleeves to get the correct length I decided I liked the look of the black cuffs, so I left them long and folded back. You can see the join where I didn’t have enough fabric, but I can live with that!

Sort of a cross between the long cardigans that you see in the shops now and a coat.  Even my 17 year old daughter likes it, so I consider that a raging success!  Off to clean up the sewing room and decide what to make next.

Until next time, Lyn

Favourite patterns

Although I have been sewing clothes for myself for many years, I only started using Silhouette Patterns about 5 years ago. I love the webcasts and all the free information Peggy provides and find them very inspiring. Unfortunately my sewing ambitions far exceed the time available, but I have managed to produce some garments.

One of my favourite patterns is the Sweater Set #195.  Just take a look at the condition of my pattern envelope.  Well-loved indeed.

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I have just made the cardigan top again, this time with press stud closures.  I should have been careful what I wished for, there are a LOT of studs to do up if I want it closed!  AND, the first time I carefully stitched the press stud tape onto both sides, only to try it on and realise that I had stitched both sides of the tape to the right side of the fabric! So yes, a bit of swearing went on.  Then I got out my well used quick unpick and took it off one side and sewed it correctly.  Luckily because of the thick kind of furry properties of the fabric, you can’t see the stitching that much (or the un-stitching!)

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I really like the fit of this pattern and love that it’s sort of a cardigan, but can be dressed up or worn with jeans.

These are pictures of the same pattern, but using zips as a closure:

I have also made the sleeveless top at least twice that I can remember, and will post pictures of those in a future post.

Until next time, Lyn

Features created from sewing mistakes

I just finished my current sewing project.  First time using this pattern Vogue 8817 Katherine Tilton.  The chosen fabric has a beautiful drape but really tricky to sew and causing me some grief with skipped stitches until I finally found the right combination of finer needle and thread.

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I didn’t read the pattern properly and missed cutting out the back yolk and ran out of fabric.  Oops.  Decided to use strips instead, which resulted in a draped, exposed back feature.

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Then, despite trying very hard to finish the neckline without stretching…..it stretched!

Rather than giving up, only because I love the fabric colour and drape, I again decided to make it a feature rather than a fault and added a small panel as it was a little too revealing for my taste and beading to disguise the stretched binding.

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I am very pleased with the final result and look forward to wearing it.

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Posted by Cora.