Sunday, 24 November 2019

Simple Sew, Chelsea Collection Skirt

For my original toile I cut a size 8. I found it could have been clearer which sides of the side panels attach to the centre front / centre back, as the notches are in similar positions on both sides of the side panels. One side could have benefitted from double notches for clarity. I made sure to label the front and back side panels before I started sewing to avoid confusing myself later on!

The size 8 was a little bit tight! I realised then that the sizing of the pattern must be actual garment size not body size. This was okay though as I found I really liked the fit at the back (small back strikes again!). I restitched the whole skirt using only 0.5cm seam allowance on the side seams and panel seams (ie, added 1cm to each seam but did not alter the front opening).

I found this fit around my hips much better but was now a little gapey at the waist on the side seam. I graded back in at the waist, taking about 2cm in at the top of each side seam.

I made these alterations on the paper pattern, adding 1cm onto the side/panel seams and tracing my waist alteration. I found the shape of the gradient from waist to hip looked similar to that of skirts I have previously made... This was a good sign!

I already knew I was going to have to re-draft the waistband. The difference in circumference between my hips and waist means a simple straight waistband with top fold just sticks out at the top.

Loosely based on the waistband of the Simple Sew Shannon Shorts , I reshaped the band so it was now curved and had side seams to shape with. Instead of cutting the front on the fold, I added 1.5cm for seam allowance and cut 2 pieces to allow for the centre front opening. I cut the back piece on the fold, taking out the 1.5cm seam allowance where the Shannon shorts zip would sit.

Happy with my toile and happy with my almost waxy denim that I found in Abakhan in Shrewsbury, cutting out the skirt was quite simple. The denim was very well behaved, so sewing the panes together was really easy. I overlocked all the panel seams before assembling as I knew I wanted to press the seams open. I made sure the buttons / button hole placement was really clearly marked to save myself trouble later down the line.

I cut the waistband- 6 pieces in total - 2 front and 1 back, then the same for the facing and interfaced all the pieces. I stitched the side seams of the waistband and then stitched together along the top, ensuring the side seams all matched. As the band is slightly curved I clipped then graded the seam allowance. I pressed open then understitched to the band facing.

I overlocked the outside edge of the facing, then attached the waistband edge to the top of the skirt. It looked soo professional and I was so happy that my reshaped waistband fitted to the skirt so well. I tried on.... Only to find it felt too tight at the waist!! Oh no! After a bit of whinging on Instagram, it was suggested that my cotton fabric may have shrunk when I interfaced it. I had applied quite a lot of heat so this made sense. I was faced with two options. Diet, or remake the waistband!!

....... I re-cut the waistband, adding 1cm to the top of the side seam of each piece, then graded back out the the hip. This still left an obvious gradient between waist and hip size... but allows me to sit down!

Perfect! What a relief! Once attached to the skirt I turned the end of the waistband right sides together and stitched a straight line at each front opening. I made sure I trimmed the seam allowances as I didn't want to have to battle too much bulk when I inserted my fastenings.

I turned up a narrow hem and was then ready for fastenings!

I decided on snap fastenings, mainly because if I messed up a button hole there would be no hiding it on the centre front! I was very grateful to my past-self for creating this handy guide to inserting snap fastenings as it had been so long I had definitely forgotten. The fabric was quite bulky so just had to be super careful to make sure everything lined up nicely before I squeeeeezed those pliers! Thankfully they all behaved really well!

I love the skirt! I have previously avoided button down skirts, both sewing patterns and ready-to-wear as if they don't fit quite right the gaping between buttons really bugs me. I'm glad I took the time to get the fit perfected. I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this ❤️


Location: Twinkl Way, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Candyman, Serpent Power

Sunday, 27 October 2019

McCalls M7575, Shirt

It's the same pattern but this time a little more casual! Essentially I really like my friend's denim short so I made my own!

I found this denim in Samuel Taylors in Leeds, its lightweight and perfect for shirts. I was pretty excited to make this shirt without the added challenge of having to pattern match! It shaved sooo much time off of cutting out and sewing up. I think I spent two full days spread across a day and two halves to get the shirt finished.

This is my 4th time using the McCalls 7575 pattern, but my first time adding the pockets. It took a good few attempts to get those bottom corners folded in properly but I think I got them looking pretty sharp in the end. I struggled a little knowing how to place something flat over something shaped with darts??? All I could do was match the top corners to the dots and try and make sure the side of the pocket was parallel to the shirt opening.

I think it looks fine but was a little bit worried it was going to be one of those things that revealed itself as Not Fine at the final stages! Might be cool to have a play with the pockets on version C- they have flaps! There is no fastening on the pockets for version B but I added come cute little buttons for decoration.

This shirt also differs from the others as I decided to add top stitching to the seams, creating a kind of faux welt-seam and a traditional denim look. I added double rows of stitching to the pockets, yoke and shoulder seams, side seams, sleeve seams and collar. It was all going well until I realised topstitching the underarm seam was going to be really hard once the rest of the sleeve was sewn up! Luckily though, I found I was able to stitch from the top down and then start again from the bottom and meet the rows of stitching somewhere in the middle.

Phew! I'm glad because I really love the effect of the double rows.

The cuffs were a dream to sew, I absolutely love how professional it looks every time with that pleat above the button. Also topstitching meant I didn't have to hand stitch the inside! Yay!

I made a tiny alteration to the sleeve pattern, that was just taking some out of the underarm seam, but grading back out to the original arm hole. I noticed on my last shirt the sleeve was maybe a bit baggy there and thought this might look really obvious with a plain fabric. I'm glad I did! The sleeves fit perfectly so must have made the right decision.

I love the way the fabric hangs on me. It's the perfect weight but doesn't get too creased, in fact it was super well-behaved all together really. Top stitching was a little tricky over bulky seams, specifically the under-collar (I would probably take this off and do it again if I wasn't always so eager to get it right first time.

Before reaching the shop, I couldn't decide if I wanted silver or gold buttons. I knew I wanted something subtle, if I'd have had a stash I would have been tempted with some cute snaps. I settled on these brassy metal ones from the market, with two of the smaller size for the pocket decoration. They are understated and maybe a bit predictable but perfect with the denim and the yellowy topstitch.

And that's about it really. I'd hate to think I'm wearing out this pattern, but it's just so versatile, it's a tried and tested classic so perfect for making sure lovely fabric isn't going to be wasted. I still have more b&w stripes that I want to make this shirt from, so keep your eyes peeled for another coming soon....


Location: Magpie Mine, Sheldon
Currently listening to: Missing, Calexico

Sunday, 8 September 2019

McCalls M7661 Trousers

I bought a pair of paperbag trousers from Primark and was mesmerised by their construction. I spotted the McCalls M7661 pattern online and thought they looked kind of similar in design. I was particularly drawn to the high waist and tie front so I thought I would have a go.

I made my toile from some really light fabric (wayyyy too light, very see-through!). I found that the gathers hung reallly nicely though so made a mental note that my final fabric would also have to be quite light.

The gathers are a really sneaky way of making these trousers a doddle to fit. They provide some extra room in the front which allows for movement, but the nipped in waistband keeps them figure flattering. Gathering is also realllly fun to do. Two loose lines of stitching then pull the ends until it fits between the markings. Pin and stitch, so satisfying! For option A on the pattern, there is also some sneaky gathering on the belt where it joins at the side seam.

The belt is a really neat way of adding some more interest to the trousers whilst helping a little just to tighten the fit. The belt joins at the side seams, so when tied it pulls in the back and hides any problems at the front haha! I did make a little alteration to the fit of the waistband (I didn't just hide it I promise!). It was a little too roomy in the front so I pinched at the top of the side seams and pinned. They fit fine at the hips so was really just a case of drawing that waistline in a bit at the top.

I also needed to make a slight swayback alteration as usual. The fabric was pooling in my lower back, or riding right up so the back sat a lot higher than the front. To rectify I pinched the excess fabric out of the back of the trousers where it joins (leaving the waistband the same shape) and drew on ny new seamline. I ended up taking a good couple of centimeters out then curving back up at the top of the side seam insert to join the original seamline. It makes for a bit of a funny looking pattern with the back scooped so low, but I'm getting used to the shapes that will fit me... Praise my tiny back!

I made mental note while assembling my muslin, that I would need to finish the raw edges of the side seams, panels and inner leg seam before assembling so that all the seam allowances lay flat when attached. This was a bit of a change to the usual blitzing the seam allowances as I go along, but actually found it much more enjoyable. I didn't have to keep switching machines as I went along or hold my breath that I was going to slice something important off as I overlocked!! Haha!

I added about 3 inches into the length. It was a bit of a last minute decision. I thought my toile looked cute but I've never been much of a girl for culottes, so I decided to add in a bit of extra length.

The fabric I chose was this lovely Paul Smith wool blend at £12 p/m from the fabric shop in Attercliffe. I was pretty certain I wanted stripes but I hadn't decided until I found it whether I wanted office vibes or summer vibes. I landed on these pinstripes and thought the sun isn't going to hang around much longer, so office vibes it was!

If I'd picked anything any heavier I don't think those gathers would have sat so nicely, but this fabric is so lovely to touch I knew that it would look dead profesh by the time I'd finished. There's definitely scope to make a summer pair from some crepe, so just on the lookout for the perfect print now.

Next time I cut the pattern I think I will pinch a little more out of the centre front of the waistband and maybe just add a little more into the bum area, though I don't think that's essential. There's so many variations of the pattern, I'm tempted to make the gathered wasitband version with no belt next time and maybe mix it up a bit by using a contrast for the outside leg panel.


Location: Paradise Square, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Dust Is Gone, MØ