Jeepers, is it already the end of August? Here in BC one of the stores, Staples plays a Christmas tune “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” , in anticipation of students returning to school. I always laugh at the sentiment, then breathe a sigh of relief that my son is grown and independent.
Regardless of the reason to sew, it seems the autumnal weather will soon be upon us, so I cut up some lovely brushed poly I had been hoarding to be a maxi dress. It somehow craved to be a tunic for the transitional weather.
I haven’t made the Cross Hem Tee before, though it’s another one of those easily sewn wardrobe staples. It comes with varying length sleeves; mine are 2″ longer than short, then I added a contrast band for a little extra weight. I added 2″ to the body length, resulting in a bum hugging tunic (winter warmth!). The cross hem is in a coordinating white fabric, which in retrospect could have been heavier as it tends to roll a little. I did debate double top-stitching but my needle had a divorce and believe me, unpicking burgundy thread from white knit fabric isn’t all fun and games – hence the wine – pardon the pun!
I really like that I didn’t need a full bust adjustment and there isn’t any overt stretching over my bust. The pattern is made with negative ease (meaning the final measurements are smaller than mine), and I call this fabric ‘good day’ fabric. It is likely there will be days when all my lumps and bumps will show; not a good day nor a pretty thought. As such I will pick and choose when I wear this top. It is so supremely comfortable though that I’m tempted to cut the “huggly” bits a size larger to enable it for bad days as well. I’ve see it made it as a nightshirt paired with the Parisian Night Pants. Both patterns are free with codes found in the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook Group.
I can see several of them making it into my suitcase next month when we go on holidays. Let’s hope they all manage to come home with me!
While I am at the end of the Tour here are the links if you’d like to read back about the lovely things that have been featured this week.
Summer here in the BC Interior can be hot. Maybe not as hot as Southern California but hot nonetheless. We live at the top tip of the Mohavi desert and for this transplanted English Rose, it’s as hot as I want to get. It’s nice that summer patterns are, on the whole, simple and easy to make. This helps as I am sure my brain (along with the rest of me) swells in the heat! Talking of swelling, looser summer styles can be flattering if correctly cut to skim the curves other than cling to them. I’d rather look stylish and comfortable than like the back of a bus.
For this Winter Wear Designs blog tour I have made some of my essential summer clothes. I pretty much live in shorts, little tops and loose flowing dresses. There are some good prizes on the tour; visit Winter Wear Designs Fun FaceBook page to find out more.
Most of my tops cover ‘my tail’, enabling me to wear them with leggings. As such I’ve been looking for a little top to wear with shorts and short skirts. Bring on the Trendy Tank. A bonus is that if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group it is a freebie. Even better! I had to adapt mine to exclude a side boob gap that seems to keep occurring on all my knitted tops. I have a bust (really!?) and unless a dart or full bust adjustment is included in my sewing I get gaps. It wasn’t a hard fix at all. I pinned it where I wanted the dart and then basted it in. When it was in the right place I transferred the markings to my pattern; then proceeded to alter a few other tops to boot. I kept this top short and am pleased at how it looks with my shorts.
Dart transferred to pattern
Rolling on, these are the Essential Summer Shorts. Essential as they are easy to make, you can play with the pattern to your little heart’s contentment, and they come together really quickly. I recently performed in a Burlesque routine and wanted to make some Rocky Horror-esque gold lycra shorties. I simply sized down all over and Hey Presto! I actually attached them to a body stocking (read modesty stocking) for the show. I chose not to hem them as I didn’t want the stitching to show. Plus, let’s face it, sewing a tiny stitch with metallic thread is tedious and encourages me to reach for the wine bottle!! I think they’d make great swim shorts with a side ruche or drawstring. Time will tell.
I also made the shorts in a lovely knit fabric that I have been hoarding for a long time. I only have a metre of it and making anything with that little fabric can be challenging when you’re 5’9″ tall. Not anymore. I made the shorts and might have enough for a little top too if I am careful. For this pair I added a 3″ wide knitted waist band and some lace to the bottom. It gives me a little more coverage and they are so very comfortable. I need more as I keep washing and wearing them. Here they are with my Trendy Tank.
Finally I decided to add the Boho Breeze as a maxi dress to my collection. I actually had intended making it into a coverup but there are other patterns that lend themselves better to that (watch this space!). Instead I chose to combine a soft lightweight crinkle cotton with a lush soft bamboo print. I’ve been wondering how to use the bamboo without ruining its lovely design. Well here goes. Himself, (the Man of the House), is my personal design and sewing critic. He bounds into my sewing room when he comes home from work to see what I have been up to. He will stand there, get ‘that look’ on his face, and totally unnerve me. I have been known to say, “be nice now, it’s come from my head”. Then he will make a good comment about fit, if it’s flattering, length and what might suit me better. I trust his style. After all, one of his chat up lines was “do you wear Valentino? He designs for women with curves” Yes, I married him soon after!
But back to the Boho! Summer swelling and being ill recently meant I’ve gone up a size; I am really glad I made a muslin! I sized up knowing that the top has an elasticated shoulder / neck band, meaning it won’t slip causing any boob exposures when I shrink again. I decided to use all of the bamboo fabric in my maxi skirt and didn’t measure it; it is rather voluminous. I made the pockets from the cotton but reinforced them with a lightweight interfacing. I also added a side slit to just below knee level. Today the wind was blowing while taking photos, resulting in the windswept ‘skirt wrapped around the legs look’.
One of Himself’s suggestions was to make the neck band from the bamboo; as a contrast but also as it is heavier than the cotton, it is more stable when elasticated. The man is once again correct. It looks lovely. The Boho Breeze can also be made as a romper or top and I expect I will get to those as well. I think it would make a good swim top too …
Pull up a lounge chair and a cold drink, and don’t miss a single stop on the Poolside Blog Tour:
I’m not a romper person, ask anyone. It’s too fiddly trying to get out of your kit to go for a pee. Plus, I don’t want to have my clothes drape on the floor in a public washroom. Let’s face it, as we get older our urge to empty our bladders gets greater. Don’t ask me to wear something that takes more than a nano-second to take off – please!
Or so I thought. This months stop on the “let’s revisit all the Winter Wear Design’s patterns” are showcasing the Riviera Romper and the Boho Breeze. Both patterns have the usual range of sizes and are advanced intermediate (mainly) knit patterns. ‘Intermediate’ and ‘mainly’ are used as there are options to change the patterns by mixing styles, and using knits with woven fabrics; if you use a flimsy fabric with a lot of drape it’s a bit more of a challenge to sew.
I chose the Riviera Romper. I liked how it sounded and love how Suzanne Winter, the Designer, names her patterns after her French influences. Both patterns have benefits and I really like the off the shoulder aspect of the Boho Breeze, but The Riviera Romper has an interesting back to it. So Romper it was! I chose to make it in an interesting lightweight floral knit from my stash. The top came together beautifully, then I discovered I didn’t have enough fabric for the shorts. Oops! I fortunately found some matt black fabric and put together the two seemed to work.
The pattern is designed to skim the bust, be loose at the waist, and have the enclosed elasticated join sit on the high hip. I felt a bit uncomfortable with that so made mine longer then sat it between hip and waist. I also added pockets (I do love pockets) using the same fabric I’d used for the top. I didn’t make my binding, but used a purchased 1.5″ wide elasticated binding for a quick cheat and time saver. It worked so well I made about 20′ of it while chatting with friends. The shorts are voluminous, but that’s a good feature here where it’s already 30c+ in the daytime. I like any breeze I can get!
Binding a plenty
The back tie is a nice feature but not an essential one. My husband tied me into the romper for photos. I wondered why the arm syces felt so tight until I looked in the mirror and saw the back tie was pretty snug. It wasn’t as tight as my corseted ballgown but you get the idea. Once loosened it was very comfortable. I wore it out to dinner tonight and had to show my friends the ‘low waist’ join as they didn’t believe it was a romper. Plus by looping the tie over my head I was able to drop it gracefully onto my thighs for the essential bathroom break.
All in all a success. I do hope you consider making it and if you do, you will enjoy wearing it as much as I do.
I tested Winter Wear Designs (WWD) original Real Deal Jeans AKA RDJs and they are supremely comfortable. As part of her pattern updates the RDJs now have some minor alterations, including an A0 file (easy printing), and an unique waistband construction. Nice one! My original jeans shown here with the WWD Button Up Shirt
RDJ’s and Button Up
The RDJs come in a large range of sizes, have body and leg lengthen lines, which makes a difference if you need to add length in the rise, like I do. Since I made my original pair I have developed a slight sway back. This didn’t matter until I attached the waistband and saw it. Now I know I shall take the waistband off to adjust it . It’s not a hard adjustment and I use this YouTube video for it. After all, we sew to get a better fit – don’t we?
Almost matching yoke
Key Pocket detail
I chose a summer weight stretch cotton. It only has 10% stretch, which is the minimum but the fabric is so pretty! I used a jersey needle as my test sewing left horrid pull marks using an Universal needle. I sewed with a size 12-14 needle throughout; quite a difference from my usual denim sewing needle. I made the legs 1/2″ wider each side as I like them looser – especially when sitting. Shorts here with my Omega blouse.
With my WWD top
Someone remarked recently that they thought Winter Wear Designs instructions can be confusing. Well, let’s face it, any good designer will ensure there is appropriate instruction for the pattern level. If you buy an intermediate pattern don’t expect beginner instructions. That’s what Google, YouTube and Pinterest are for. I think this pattern has more than sufficient instruction. As a visual learner I like pictures, whether line drawings or photographs. I also follow the instructions at the beginning of any pattern that states “read all the way through before starting”. Enough said.
I’d intended making capri pants, but made shorts as a muslin (tester). The pattern actually tells you which pieces to use for the muslin, making this process easy. My shorts came together quickly, and looked so pretty I thought I’d unpick them and make them my final garment. This is when I realized I’d used an Universal needle. My final shorts are a tad tighter as I needed to sew inside the original ‘holey’ sewing line. I could have cut out another pair but …
Jeans and pants always look so complicated, but really, they aren’t. If you have wanted to make your own this is a great pattern to start with (and build confidence).
It doesn’t match but I made the latest WWD ‘wardrobe builder’ pattern The Outer Banks Boat Neck Tee & Tunic to pair with my capris that turned into shorts. This latest pattern is pretty and feminine. It suits mid weights better as I found to my error when I used a lovely light, drapey rayon spandex. Lighter fabrics just don’t want to hold that classic boat neck shape for long. It is a lovely pattern to make but I still recommend a muslin first.
Follow the links for the other bloggers this week. I hope you enjoyed the read.
“All things small and beautiful, All quilts both great and small” … Not quite the correct words to the hymn, but the sentiments are there. This blog tour is also celebrating Tibeca (the blog tour organizer’s) birthday – so Happy Birthday Ti!!!
With birthdays in mind, this month’s blog is about gifts to sew. I have chosen baby quilts and quilting. Talking of which, I had better mail the latest baby girl quilt, or her mum will read about it here.
Quilting is about precision. If you can sew, you can quilt and vice versa. It took me a while to realize that where 1/16″ or a few mm doesn’t make much difference to a garment, it makes a huge amount in quilting. It is very satisfying when my corners are squared and line up nicely. I am quite a free spirit and love to free motion quilt. Once I settle into the rhythm of remembering to breathe, I slide my hands and fabric around under (what I call) the ‘jumpy’ or darning foot. Who darns still? Not me, that foot is for quilting! The secret is moving at a consistent speed and tension. That way the stitches remain the same size. I also put my feed dogs down for less surface tension, and reduce the pressure foot weight to 1-2. I don’t quilt as much as I would like too, but it is a bit of an addiction and leads to many UFOs (Unfinished Objects). Modern sewing machines have a plethora of pretty decorative stitches and I take full advantage when quilting.
Corners make my heart sing
Lots of detail
I like making baby quilts. Actually I’d love it if queen or king size quilts came together as easily. It’s like making bread or baking; you get an end result really fast. I used to make baby quilts for my friends. Now it seems I am making them for my friends’ children and the women I have met on various sewing groups. I’m also currently hand quilting my ‘marriage quilt’. We have been married 16 years and the quilt has been in progress for almost 4 years. Ho hum, I digress. It will be a blog post on its own but here is a sneak peak.
Sometimes I succumb to a pattern in a quilting magazine but there are so many free patterns out there that I try not to buy them, and Craftsy is great for them. When I have used a good free pattern I am much more inclined to buy one from the Indie designer. I quilt weekly with a group of lovely ladies and don’t think I’ll need to buy any patterns for a long time.
Quilts should look as good on the backs the front. This means they need careful placement when ‘sandwiching’ the layers together before you quilt them. Or a big mess can result with lots of pleats. Don’t ask me how I know this so well.
Tape the backing to the floor tightly
Lay the batting (warm layer) on top
Pin the quilt top like crazy to hold it all together
I sent a quilt to my newest littlest great-niece in England. I hope her mum, Sophie, likes it. Its the Easy Fat Quarter Quilt by Kate Henderson Quilts trading as Two Little Banshees. I didn’t use fat quarters as I have a lot of small pieces of fabric. It is very soft and girly though. Her sister, Katie, is having another baby in early summer. I already have plans for quilts and things to send. England doesn’t have baby showers like Canada does, so I shall have to show her with gifts from afar.
This is the Star Bright Free Quilt Pattern by SwimBikeQuilt Patterns. I think the lady who owns this website and blog is my kind of woman. This pattern was free, but might be a purchased item now. This pattern is one of my favourites; I think it would be great as a larger quilt (but I must finish my daughter-in-law’s quilt first)! Once again it is for a little girl. This little lady’s grandma sent me a photo of the bedroom decor, so I chose colours to compliment it. I hope she likes it. What I love is how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabrics and colours used.
Wish Upon a Star
Dreams come true …
Learning new techniques is always fun. Recently I learned the McTavishing method of Free Motion Quilting. It totally appealed to me due to the fluid way of quilting that results in almost a dreamlike quilt. The nice thing is that you set your needle in place and then go from there. I suspect each result will be different and as such, it is open to a lot of interpretation. My small piece has been claimed by one of my soft toys as a duvet. If you look closely I have incorporated my name, my husband’s name, a butterfly, fiddle head, snail and umpty ump hearts. My girlfriend, Harmony has heavily hinted it would be well used to make her little ‘Puffin’ a jacket. Maybe … it would be fun.
Seasons change rapidly where I live and it is useful to have layering and versatile pieces in my wardrobe. Welcome into your wardrobe La Croix Cross back (or front) top from Winter Wear Designs. It’s a pretty top and it’s options include two lengths, sleeveless or varying sleeve lengths, and the opportunity to wear it frontwards or backwards. That all makes it a multi season pattern, meaning there are no complaints from me!
The top has been around for a while but Suzanne Winter, the designer of Winter Wear Designs has revamped it. I like her new format of simple visual explanations. It makes the information visible at a glance for those times when internet access is spotty.
I like to play with patterns and this one was no exception. Except I cocked up a few times and, as such, had to delay my post publication date. Oops! Its just as well Suzanne is fond of me – I think! Here come my comedy of errors. Take a seat and learn, or is that laugh
You’d think I’d know better not to mix knit fabric types and weights – yup, well, what can I say? I chose a soft drapy dusky rose knitted cotton with amazing stretch from Sincerely Rylee fabrics. I paired it with some amazing geometric cotton lycra from Whimsical Fabrics. The dusky rose picked out the pale grey triangles, so I decided to take a risk – much to my chagrin. Unfortunately the stretch was different, meaning I had a very visible pleat in the rose fabric despite having cut the two fabrics for the cross over together. I ended up adding 5″ to the cotton lycra! I should have used similar fabrics for the contrast. To say the stretch was quite a lot less is an understatement. I’d intended the geometric fabric to be in front, but am so glad I mistakenly put it behind – or you’d be able to see the seam where I added to it.
Now how did that get there?
How much stretch?
I’m sure I measured
Still with me? I also decided the neckline was too low and added a wide seam. Not such a bad idea except it was with a curved neck. I also cut the pattern with the neck band and didn’t realize until I was sewing it together … ho hum … more creative sewing to the rescue. I will spare you the rest of my shenanigans but the end result is a very comfortable and flattering top. I think it is hugely versatile and I’d like more. Perhaps I will pay more attention next time and not have to make quite so many corrections?
Follow this link for the opportunity to win $20 of lovely fabric from Simply by Ti, and two of Winter Wear Designs patterns. I love Ti’s fabrics; I’d spend a lot more if I lived States side!
Disclaimer – A considerable amount of wine was consumed while creating this top. It might be why it took me so long. I am taking the 5th on that one.
I was given the pattern. If I didn’t have it my participation would have been even more sketchy, to say the least. I’d like to publicly thank Suzanne Winter for her tolerance and support – and lovely patterns.
I love the scoop neck
A sexy V back
Do have a read of what the other bloggers made. I am sure they were better behaved than me. Not difficult I hear you say! The La Croix pattern is on sale for US$6 until the end of the week – so if you want it you had best get cracking and snap it up.
Omega – the last, the ultimate, the final letter in the Greek alphabet. So says Wikipedia. I suspect Suzanne Winter, Winter Wear Designs’ creator and designer might have considered her options when choosing that name. This pattern does have a ton of options AND a lot of different instructions to go with all those choices. But I have rushed ahead … so backwards we go …
The Omega is a blouse with a soft Boho feel and a tunic option. I like that blouses are making a resurgence. I don’t wear t-shirts well and the very word blouse brings to mind soft, feminine and well, Me. I didn’t buy the pattern when it came out because I thought I could recreate by altering a different pattern, which resulted with me looking like I had boobs enough to re-float the Titanic! When the call went out for a blog tour featuring the Omega and the Classic Shell I was eager to see where I’d gone wrong.
There are many options for the Omega including different lengths – and shirt tails, which I love! Yes, I am an 80’s New Romantic! I thought the Omega would be a fabric hog, but it’s amazing what careful pattern placement does. The pattern offers a variety of yokes and I think I could have fun here playing with fabrics and textures. There are clear directions throughout though I don’t recommend deciding to add a lace insert and a lined back keyhole yoke without reading the instructions fully fully. Or doing it with little time to digest the instructions, (or before coffee!). That could be a recipe for disaster!
Altered traced pattern pieces
Give me Kona Coffee!
I kept my blouse simple, sewing the standard yoke, cut to top length (nice to tuck in to a skirt but long enough to cover the bulges), and short sleeves. The sleeves aren’t quite a puff, but lovely and feminine. I am taller than normal so cut the top to the longest top length, as well as adding 1″ above the waistline. These are my normal WWD alterations. I wanted to cut the shirt tail, but fabric restrictions meant I ended up with a slightly curved back; not quite the tail I wanted but pleasing to the eye none the less.
I sewed the blouse according to my bust measurement (a Large). I debated on a full but adjustment (FBA), but the yoke is cut above the bust, leaving adequate space for my boobage to be concealed beneath the soft gathers. I am slightly larger in my waist and hips but stuck with the same size. It flows nicely over my figure and I feel, if not svelte, then slim and pretty.
I feel good!
Did I say I was sewing with the Devil’s fabric, the Oh So Pretty Chiffon? Ha! Of course not. Chiffon tends to shape shift and as such I try to cut it out as close to sewing it up as I can. I usually use pattern weights to hold fabric down, but in Chiffon’s case I pin or clip the living Bejesus out of it! I didn’t starch it, but did use a minimal stretch lace seam binding to prevent the shoulder seams and neckline from from stretching. It seems to have worked as I could barely get the damn thing over my head before realizing I hadn’t snipped the seams – whew!
It is a pretty touch
Tight sticky up neck
It took longer to trace my pattern off and make my alterations than it did to make the top (well almost). I chose not to sew French seams, but did use my serger to ensure the seams wouldn’t fray. I recently bought a new machine; a solid Bernina. It sounds like a Daimler and sews a dream — even the Chiffon. Yup, Chiffon has so much attitude it deserves it’s name to be capitalized.
I had so much fun I decided to make another – but in sweater knit. I messed with the pattern and added a soft cowl neck and long sleeves. I made it into a dress by adding an extra 6″ to the length. Then I inserted a pocket, because who doesn’t love pockets!
OOPS! – look closely
Almost a pocket
Curvy cowl gadgets
The sweater knit is drapy and a bit more figure ‘hugging’ I stabilized the shoulders with clear seam binding. It is horrid to sew and melts if pressed but it works! The fabric weight pulls down the armsyce. It’s still loose despite increasing the seam allowance.
A fiddly necessity
Baggy arm pit
Loose but liveable
I added a lace trim over the bodice to cover the fact I sewed it together wrongly. It looks good, but the lace is a bit heavy for the fabric (now there is an oxymoron!).
Lace, glorious lace
Look closely at the 2 fabric pieces
I mainly constructed this on my serger with reinforcements and fiddly curves on my machine. It is a quick and easy sew – even more so the second time round.
Long shirt or fish tail?
Suzanne will link how to do alter your pattern for knit fabrics during the tour. this during the Blog Tour.
The Omega is on sale during the blog tour; The Classic Shell is always a bargain at US$5.
Do read the other Bloggers. There are tutorials, ideas and prizes to be won. Thanks for stopping by and go sew yourself some goodness!
Welcome to the Red, White & Pink Blog Tour, and thanks Tibeca for having me along. It’s convenient that one of my sewing groups is also asking, or is that encouraging, us to sew lace this month. As such I made a “Pretty in Pink” dress with lace trims! I like lace: it’s pretty and feminine and is a lot less Itchy & Scratchy than it used to be. I still own the dress I made for my 18th birthday. It’s a cream lace dress over an iridescent blue /purple underdress. Sadly it doesn’t fit anymore. It is very 80’s and I love it still.
Love the shoulder details
Soft and flowing
February is a lovely month. because my Sister’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and my Uncle Val’s name always reminds me of love and good things romantic like. I dedicate this blog post to them both, but don’t have photos of my uncle. Happy Birthday Chrissie!
My beautiful sister
But onto the sewing … it’s a pattern hack of another Designer Stitch Pattern, the newly released Synthia blouse. As a tester I made this soft, feminine, romantic top. I love the early Chanel feel of the blouse, how it skims over my lumpy bits yet holds a feminine form. I thought it would make a lovely dress. Oh, it’s also still on sale!
ALSO NOT PINK!
The Synthia blouse is easy to make. I made my top in the shorter length to wear with a skirt. Of course, that is why I am wearing it with leggings in the photos. Go figure! I do like tops I wear with skirts to be shorter than those I wear with trousers. I made a slight sway back adjustment, which means I pinched out the excess fabric from the back waist to stop it looking like I had a back fabric ‘Joey pouch’. My muslin went on and off without undoing the zipper, so I left it out; and oh the ruffles! The ‘Waterfall’ ruffle is ingenious! It seems a bit disconcerting until you have it all together – then the lightbulb moment occurs and its, “Wow! This really is clever”.
Waterfall ruffles galore!
Ruffles are a lot of fabric!
Ruffles aplenty here
I cut the bodice at waist length for my dress. It would have been a good idea to check the length as the back was about 2″ shorter than the front! A carefully placed extra piece of fabric and hey, no one knew … until now. I didn’t want to spend the time double roll hemming the ruffle and bottom hems, so serged the fabric edges and then sewed the lace on top of it – all 5.5m of it!! I didn’t realize the lace was directional and if you look closely you’ll see that it is one way on the ruffles and upside down (or is that down side up?) on the skirt hem. I’m happy with the result. It’s certainly not a store bought dress!
side back ruffle view
Back Obi belt
Front View just because
I copied the lines of a Hot Patterns Casbah Skirt pattern, which made the skirt a quick and dirty affair. I omitted the zipper again, but should have kept it as my DD cup makes it harder to take off a dress than a blouse!
Finally I made another Obi belt, the same belt I featured in my recent blog post. I sewed loads of fancy stitches on it to give it a bit more substance, but should have interfaced it!
Photos were interesting. It was blinking cold outside at our local Riverside Park. A lady asked me if I was determined to catch pneumonia while we were traipsing around. OOPS! We eventually decamped in doors. I paired the dress with one of my favourite hats and some retro looking shoes. All in all I feel glam in a very comfortable dress.
If you like to sew your patterns and need some support with hacking them I encourage you to come on over to Sew Your Pattern Stash FaceBook Group. Our resident Sewing Wise Woman, Roberta, is hosting (and posting) a pattern hack month-long-sew-along. It should be fun and I hope to learn a lot! See Marsha, there were hiccups and errors aplenty on this one! It’s why I am a good seamstress but not a pattern designer. I leave that to the other talented people.
Thanks for dropping by. I hope you had a good read and it made you smile. Please check out the other blogs on the tour …
I’m back on the New Year New Sews Blog Tour, this time to tell you about my shenanigans with a new pattern.
I find it interesting how PDF designers name their patterns. Some choose places, some random names and some, like Designer Stitch and Muffin Head Patterns name their patterns after friends – and sometimes their pattern testers. This vest is called Ilse after a lovely lady, who sews a dream and writes a good blog too!
Where I live in B.C. fabric is expensive; especially double sided fabric. After looking at the $54/m fake suede price tag I decided I needed to be a bit more creative about what I used for a new Designer Stitch Pattern, The Ilse Vest. I bought a double sided fleece blanket and pondered on quilting it. I traded some headliner (automobile fabric that I use as a stabilizer in bags) for a half deer skin. It’s lush and soft, but I worried I’d mess it up. Then I saw a piece of upholstery fabric I’d been hoarding. It is pretty and interesting and said “choose me!”, so I did.
This pattern, like all the Designer Stitch patterns, calls for faith on the part of the seamstress as the process can be a bit befuddling. One muddles along then reaches a stage of sewing and, Hey Presto! it all comes together beautifully. Ann Gross, the designer is a sewing teacher, sewing wise woman, and effusive in her praise to her merry band of testers. If you haven’t tried a pattern then do; they really are worth it.
I cut my regular size based on the pattern measurements but added 2″ / 5cm to the bottom band; my standard height adjustment. I wanted to cover my bum, and stop the chill getting to my kidneys – as my mum would say. I chose to fray the garment edges, which is a pattern option. I thought it would be easier. Well, it was and it wasn’t. The good part was not having to turn the narrow belt ties, find the corners and make them sharp. The bad part included it looking like a fluffy toy massacre in my sewing room, the lounge and anywhere else I was fraying fabric. ‘Himself’ was quietly in the background vacuuming up after me whenever I moved. Bless the man! He gets it from his father.
It took longer for me to trace the pattern from my master copy and make my adjustments than it did to sew it. Honestly! Each part fit together with all the dots and dashes meeting where they were meant to. I loved that the frayed version has four pieces. The more finished / faced version has a couple more but its still countable on one hand. The vest closes with either a purchased clasp (I think a frog clasp would be pretty), or the included Obi belt. I was a bit anxious about making the Obi belt as my fabric is heavy, so I decided not to try to turn the narrow ties. Instead I folded them in three then secured them together with a pretty stitch. It looks interesting. The beauty of the Obi belt is that it gives the illusion of a waist even if you haven’t got one. It is also an extra layer of warmth; much appreciated in the Great White North.
I decided to double stitch the edges that frayed. I’d already sewn a narrow stitch on the arm holes, and was concerned they’d pull more fabric than intended. I allowed the same allowance as was indicated for each seam, and used a pretty variegated thread. It came out really well and had the added bonus of not fraying into the fabric by accident.
Right Side Out
The Reversible Side?
Once I had finished I looked at it and thought, ‘Oh, I could have made it reversible’. It was one of those Doh! moments. I can’t be bothered to unpick the serger seams (serged to prevent them fraying where I didn’t want them to!), but I might cover the offending seams with pretty bias tape or ribbon and wear both sides anyway.
To read what everyone else made follow the links below … and Happy Sewing!
It occurred to me a while ago that despite reaching 16 years of wedded bliss I hadn’t sewn anything for my husband AKA ‘Himself’. Actually, that’s not true, I just remembered that I made him a little dressing gown to take on his business trips. Brain fart aside, I felt a bit guilty at the lack of what I call Uniquely Designed and Created Just For You items in his wardrobe. This Blog Tour gave me the incentive to make him something for Christmas and my goal is to make him more clothes in 2018.
The Blog Tour criteria was to make a new pattern, and thought I’d make Himself a hoodie. Well, like most seamstresses I have a lot of patterns, both PDF and paper / traditional. I also have some lush French Terry from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, which has been in my stash for at least a year or so. The French Terry is 95/5% cotton lycra, which I felt would hold its shape together longer. I haven’t sewn with French Terry before, and honestly struggled a bit identifying which was the inside and which was the outside. Of course, if I’d bothered to look back on the website (or on Simply by Ti) I’d have seen that no matter how small, the loopy side is the inside. Ho hum …
I used a Burda paper pattern, which I find to be pretty much true to size. Himself is on the shorter side but I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all: I always measure the pattern pieces to ensure the sizing is correct. My only comment on Burda patterns is that one needs to have an idea of what they mean, as the instructions are mostly pictorial or line drawings.
This pattern has two options and I sewed option B. It is a hoodie with no pockets and a HUGE cowl neck. I’m not sure why I am surprised that cowls are fabric hogs; they do look good though. I also didn’t have any matching trim for the waist and cuff bands so co-ordinated with a dark steely grey. I like the contrast – and fortunately so does he!
The pattern sewed up beautifully, the fabric handled beautifully. There was just one problem … I’d decided the fluffy side (read little loops) were the outside of the fabric. I’d attached the sleeves by the time I thought to look at other French Terry I own and discovered that probably the smooth side was the outside. I then had a wee melt down and thought about unpicking it all … and just so you know … when I sew I sew for duration. I’d used my lightning stitch AND serged / overlocked all the seams (because it looked pretty). What’s a woman to do? Well, I poured a glass of wine and made a friend’s Christmas Stocking while I pondered the options. When Himself came home I showed him a scrap of fabric and innocently asked, “Which side do you think is the outside?” He thought about it and said “this side”, which fortunately was the little loopy side. Onwards and upwards.
Probably the most fun part of making the hoodie was banging in the grommets for the neck tie to go through. Nothing like using a hammer to get rid of any stress, and pre-Christmas there was a lot of that floating about.
Himself loves the hoodie. I am thrilled it was so easy to make – even being a very slow sewer. He’d like a few more to wear when out cycling, going to and from the gym, just because etc … I am pretty chuffed to have made him something he likes. Believe me, my husband has designer tastes in clothes. Now he has his own personal designer to sew for him (when she has time!).
On that note I wish you a fabulous 2018. Sew or play away your January Blues and have fun, wherever you are!