Monday, March 23, 2015

Another two aprons

I splash a lot when I wash up and when cooking, and a cloth apron just doesn't give enough protection. I need a waterproof one to stop me getting a damp tummy.


After my previous attempt at a waterproof apron, I decided that the Tamari Apron pattern that I used was not suitable for this kind of fabric. I decided instead to copy the RTW apron I have had for a few years now which is starting to let water through. I like the full coverage the design provides.

I bought 1.5m butterfly print waterproof table covering fabric from The Range, and managed to cut two aprons from it. The aprons have a continuous tape around the neck, through casings along the angled sides, and tying at the waist. I added hanging loops to the tops of the aprons, as this design means they cannot be hung up by the neck tape.

This time I had more success sewing the coated fabric; possibly it was a little thinner thatn the spotted fabric I bought from Fabricland. I set the needle tension to maximum to prevent loops forming, and I used a teflon foot on the machine to allow the fabric to slide through more easily.



Another Me Made Monday

Rescued post - Originally posted 25/11/14 THE LAST RESCUED POST

Today's Me Made Monday (#mmmproutfit is not exciting, but it is cozy and comfortable. It is an animal print fleece top from a self drafted pattern, and another pair of my self drafted trousers in black corduroy.


The top is copied from a favourite garment. I have made 4 in fleece and one in boiled wool, and two full length fleece versions to use as winter caftans (instead of dressing gowns).


The trousers unfortunately shrank in the wash, despite pre-washing the fabric.When I let them down, even with the full width of the hem they were still too short, so I used an old plastic toothed zip as an edging.



Me Made Monday

Recovered post - originally posted 17 November 2014


Pattern Review is running a "Me Made Mondays" event until the end of the year. Since I am usually wearing something me made most days, I thought I would tag my pictures accordingly.
Today I'm wearing Marcy Tilton's Vogue pattern 8430 in brown boiled wool. The fabric had some fade marks that I only noticed after making the garment up, so I stitched the left lapel and right cuff with space-dyed embroidery floss.
Under this I have on a pair of brown corduroy elastic waist trousers made from my self drafted pattern - I must have made at least 40 pairs using this pattern by now. Just about every pair in my wardrobe is made from this pattern, and I can knock a pair out in about 3-4 hours. I really should look at modifying it or combining it with some commercial patterns with more adventurous styling.
On top I'm wearing a brown viscose knit t-shirt that combines features from 2 patterns. The body shape is one I adapted from Vogue 8497, but widened at the hip and with a shark bite hemline. The neckline is also taken from this pattern but I used the neck band treatment from Vogue 8582 to give a more interesting edge.
I also stringed the freshwater pearl necklace and matching earrings.

New Apron

Recovered post, originally posted 16 December 2014


I've been stealth sewing recently, so nothing to post pictures of. I also have been wearing me-made outfits on Mondays (as well as other days), but they are too boring to have posted pictures of.

But on Sunday I decided to make something for me for a change, and I pulled out the Sewing Workshop Tamari Apron pattern and some plastic coated table covering fabric. I bought a light blue with white spots, as the other fabrics available in my local store would have been fine for covering tables at a childrens' party, but not for an adult woman to wear.

The result is  wearable, however I think the stiffness of the fabric is not ideal. I also think for my height I could make the pattern a little shorter.



Sewing the plastic coated fabric was a bit tough. It can't be pressed and I didn't want to pin extensively, so the hems were difficult to stitch. There was also some difficulty in feeding the fabric because it was a bit sticky, and the tension was a bit variable. Maybe I should have cut the fabric a little smaller and made single-fold hems, or even raw edges as the fabric does not fray. I used twill tape for the ties, which works well. 

I prefer waterproof aprons because I am a bit of a splasher when washing up, but I think if I make this pattern again I will go for a different type of fabric that will drape better.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Final Me Made Monday of the year

Recovered post, originally posted 29 December 2014

Today I am wearing a me-made outfit. My trousers are a pair of navy corduroys from my trusty self drafted elastic waist pattern, finished yesterday and worn for the first time today. Also new is a navy silk dupion camisole/shell. I made it just before Christmas to wear under an evening top, but the necklines didn't work together, so again today is the first outing.

Over the top of this, I have a fleece top, again from a trusty self drafted pattern. It has a slight difference in the collar, I used an idea from a Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern, offsetting the attachment of one edge of the cowl. This gives a nice soft rumpled effect.

I made the camisole using an existing garment as the pattern. I laid it on the fabric, with the centre front on a bias fold on the fabric, and traced around it. I angled it slightly away from the fold towards the hem to give a looser fit. I added seam allowances only to the shoulders and side seams. On the front I drafted a lower neckline. If I do this again, I will trace the armholes in the original position before flaring the sides, add front bust darts, and make the neckline a little squarer, but I'm sure this will be a useful garment.


I made French seams, sewing the first pass (WS together) with the three-thread stitch on my overlocker. I bound the armholes and neckline, following the advice given by Thornberry on her blog, sewing the folded binding on the inside, then wrapping it to the outside and topstitching it in place. 

All in, I think this garment took about 1.5 hours to make.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Drafting a cowl necked shark-bite top

Recovered post, originally posted 9 December 2014


I have noticed cowl necked tops and shark-bite hems appearing on blogs recently so I thought I'd show how easy it is to draft one using Garment Designer.
Start with a simple A-line top with the sleeve and armhole you want.
Drag the bottom point of the side seam downwards and outwards.

Reshape the hemline by adjusting the curve control points.
Widen and deepen the neckline. I used the 'wide deep' option but decided I wanted it wider so I adjusted the neck/shoulder point further.
Select the 'collar, joined at the back' option from the extras menu.
Choose the 'stand' collar group, 'band 1' style.
Drag the bottom (outside edge) line down to the width you want for the cowl.

Drag the outside point on this line outwards to widen the edge so the cowl will fall downwards. You will need to cut the cowl with this edge on the fold.

Because Christmas is approaching, there are bundle specials available for both Garment Designer and Stitch Painter. I offer the same discount on UK prices as the Cochenille.com website, so if you are interested, drop me a message and I can let you know the details.

By the way, if you are a Mac user of either Garment Designer or Stitch Painter, and haven't upgraded to Yosemite yet, the advice is to hold off for the present, as the driver for the security key is not compatible. Technicians are working on this, and I will post another entry when the new driver is available.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My week in crafting 1st - 7th November

Recovered post - originally posted 9 November 2014

Saturday there was a family gathering, and I cast on some fingerless mitts using the Wendy Fusion yarn left over from making this hat earlier in the year.
I decided to knit them as one piece, as the colours only appeared once in the remaining yarn, and knitting separately would have resulted in two completely different mitts.
Sunday 2nd November I continued with the mitts.
And I watched the Craftsy class I reviewed on Wednesday.
On Monday 3rd I finished the mitts.

I decided that a sweater I had finished in 2011 was too long, which was why I had not worn it more than once or twice since then.

I took it to knit night on Tuesday and started by undoing the bottom of the side seams, and snipped a stitch just shorter than the target length so I could separate the unwanted part and pick up stitches across the bottom. I couldn't ripped up from the bottom as I knit the garment bottom up. Having completed the separation for the front, I undid the knitting for the section I removed.
Wednesday saw me doing the same to the back.
Thursday, I knit down on the front to match the length of the back as I hadn't managed to get them quite even when performing the surgery. I rejoined the side seams, then joined the whole bottom in the round.
Friday I continued knitting in the round in moss stitch to form a new bottom band. I didn't manage to cast off but that was all that remained to be done.
Sorry, no photos of the last two days work, but I will show the finished garment next week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Me made outfit

Recovered post, originally posted on 14 November 2014

This is the outfit I wore to the family gathering we attended the other weekend. I made the tunic and slip, the trousers were thrifted.
The slip is essentially the pillowcase dress with an a-line shape cut from bias fabric. I made a bias tube for this, hence the diagonal seams that are visible. The straps are made from ribbon threaded through the top casing.
The tunic is even simpler, it consists of two rectangles the full width of the fabric, and the finished tunic length. I finished all the edges, then joined the rectangles on 3 sides leaving openings for my head and hands.
I also made the earrings to match a thrifted necklace, and I made the extension piece to make the necklace longer.

Knitting Needle Tip Storage

Recovered post, originally posted 9 January 2015

I have some Pony bamboo interchangeable circular needles. They come in 2 attachment sizes, brass and black painted. I like them because they have good pointy tips, and feel nice in my hand. Also they are easy to get hold of and are a good price. I find the joins are reasonably smooth, and they don't come undone easily when in use.
I decided I needed some kind of storage for them, and when I was in the stationery store I noticed some wetsuit fabric pencil cases. Great, I thought, I don't need to make the complete bag, just adapt these. I bought 2, one in pink and and one in blue. 
I sewed some dividing lines to make pockets for pairs of tips, with a wider pocket for the cables at the end where the zipper pull sits when opened. I also made some horizontal pockets above the zip for the cable joiners and end stops. The brass ones are in the pink, the black painted ones are in the blue.



Friday, March 06, 2015

Taming the rolled hem foot

Recovered post, originally posted 3 November 2014


I created a video describing how I use my rolled hem foot to make narrow hems. Making a line of stitching first really tames the fabric, allowing me to sew around curves and on circular cut and bias hems.



A Hat Using Garment Designer

Rescued post - originally posted 10 December 2011

Someone recently posted pictures of a sweater and matching hat. They had designed the sweater using Garment Designer, but I misunderstood and thought they had designed the hat too. While I was corrected about this, it got me thinking about whether it would be possible to make a hat pattern using Garment Designer.

I opted for a simple 6-segment design, but you can change the number of panels easily.

First I took my measurements. Around my head from the nape, over the ears and across my temples I measure 22in. Over the top of my head from the nape to my forehead measures 14in, but from earlobe to earlobe measures 16in. I therefore decided that the segments should measure 3.5in wide (to allow for a little stretch) and 8in long.

I decided to use ‘shapes’ to develop this design, so the sloper size used is not important. I went into the Display Pieces dialog box and turned off all the standard garment pieces.

For the hat, I selected Shape 1 from the Extras menu, and set the shape to be Triangular, Curved-Medium. I also displayed dimensions.

I selected the bottom line of the triangular shape and dragged it downwards until the height measurement was 8in for the upper section of the side.

I selected the point at the centre of the bottom edge and moved it upwards until the measurement for the height of this segment disappeared completely, then adjusted the curve control points until they completely flattened this bottom line.

I selected the outer point of the bottom line and brought it inwards until the width at the bottom was 3.5in (i.e. 2x1.75), then adjusted the top of this line segment and its control points until the line at the edge looked ‘right’. In my case this proved to be a line that is 5.66in high (from the statistics on the bottom left of the window), perpendicular to the bottom edge at the base, and with only a very small curve inwards at the top. 
The final step is to reshape the curve at the top to flow more smoothly from the lower section.

If you are sewing, add seam allowances now, print the pattern and cut 6 identical pieces from fleece with the greatest stretch going across the pieces.

For knitting, you will be making either a circular or flat piece that is 6x the width of this pattern piece. The shaping at the edge of the pattern piece will be accomplished by decreasing at the 1/6th marks. You may want to manually stagger the left and right edge decreases so they don’t appear on the same row.

You can see from this short tutorial that you could adjust the sides any way you want to get your desired shape of hat.

Shortening a bias skirt from the waist

Rescued post - originally posted 31 October 2014


I thought I'd share how I shortened a bias skirt from the elasticated waist. I didn't remove the existing elastic as it would have taken too long to pick out all the stitches.
First I measured down to the new required waistline. The safety pins are holding the two layers together but are not strictly necessary.
Then I made a second marked line two elastic widths above the first.
I trimmed away the excess along this second marked line, then put the outer layer inside the lining, right sides together.
I measured the amount of elastic required for the waistline and joined it into a circle, then pinned it to the newly cut edge from the lining side, matching the half, quarter and eighth marks. Using my overlocker with the blade disengaged, I sewed the elastic to the skirt, stretching the elastic to fit the fabric.
This is what the finished overlocking looks like. You could use a zigzag or three step zigzag if you don't have an overlocker.
I then turned the outer layer over the top of the elastic and into the lining, wrapping the elastic edge with the outer fabric. I then used a zigzag stitch to anchor all the layers together, stretching the elastic to match the fabric as I sewed.
I then turned the skirt right sides out, and steamed the stretched out elastic to bring it back to the correct length.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Shortening jacket sleeves with a vent

Recovered post, originally posted 5 November 2014


Yesterday I shortened the sleeves on a coat that had a vent and non-working buttons, i.e. The buttonholes were not cut. This is a complex process, and I thought I would explain how I do it.
I don't touch shortening (tailored) jacket sleeves from the top because there is usually a lot of 'engineering' there that is difficult to unpick and reinstate. Sometimes there is a sleevehead, and sometimes the body and body lining are attached to the sleeve and bound before the sleeve lining is handstitched in place. Anyway, the whole thing is prone to error and looking nasty. Providing the amount to be shortened is not too much, shortening from the cuff end is much easier and looks fine.
Before I start, I mark the new hem length with tacking (basting) stitches, being careful not to stitch through the lining.
When you shorten jacket sleeves this way, you will need to remove all the buttons and the fake buttonholes and the stitching for the vent edge to be able to turn the new cuff up. Before taking the buttons off, measure the position of the first button from the seam and the cuff, and also the distance between the buttons, so you can resew them in the equivalent position when reattach them. Also measure the amount the cuff is being shortened so you know how much fabric to cut off the sleeve (and the lining).
Go in through the underarm seams even though it feels like you could just separate the lining from the sleeve at the cuff. Usually one of these seams is stitched last after the jacket was bagged, but open both up because it is less stress on the jacket.
It is usually easier to undo the buttonhole stitching from the inside as they are sewn with a special stitch that can be unchained from the back.
Add new interfacing to provide support to the fabric at the marked length. Don't forget to interface a little further up under where the buttons will go.
Since the sleeve tapers towards the cuff, you will need to renew the non-vent seam in the new hem to angle outwards, to allow the hem fabric to lie flat. Then you can work out where to resew the vent stitching. Sometimes there is a mitre seam on the overlap side, so use pressing and pins to work out where to put the new one. This sometimes needs to be at a different angle to the original.
I usually don't bother with new fake buttonholes as they really aren't noticeable, but if you want to make new ones, use the measurements for button placement that you made at the start. Just sew them onto one fabric layer as they will be fakes - if you are shortening, the extra layer needed for working buttonholes just won't be there.
Trim the lining fabric by the same amount you are shortening the sleeve. I usually find I need to resew the lining seam with narrower seam allowances at the cuff end to match the width of the hem edge.
Sew the lining to the cuff as you do when bagging a jacket, by pinning the two edges together as they will be worn, then passing them through the open lining seam. Catch the hem in place at the seams (or hemstitch all round).

Resew the buttons in place at the measured positions but not through the lining.
Finally topstitch the lining seams closed.