Designer Stitched … With Love to Me!

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.

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!
Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti


Sunday, January 7th: Minn’s Things


Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth

 

Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing


Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog

 

 

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Same Man, New Sews for the New Year …

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 …

IMG_2730I 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.img_2725.jpg

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!IMG_2726

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.IMG_2728

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!

Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti *** You are here. 😀
Sunday, January 7th: Minn’s Things


Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth

15th Sewing With Sarah

 

Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing


Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog