Sunday, 11 February 2018

Self-Drafted Sports Top

I started boxing in May last year when I was sick to death of feeling so angry all the time. 8 months later I'm still at it having only missed a handful of sessions. I'm still angry, but I'm also a little tougher, so I guess that's something. #Sassy, #spooky and #sexy were last year's buzzwords, so maybe for 2018 I'll throw #Sporty and #Safe into the mix as I try and continue to learn how to look after myself.

Self-made gym gear is something I've been seeing a lot of on Insta recently. I didn't want to miss out so I tried my hand at my first gym top.

If self-drafted is code for rip off then we'll go with that. This top was an example of having a ready to wear garment that you love so much you just gotta have another. I found this light stretchy houndstooth fabric downstairs in Abakhan. To touch it reminded me very much of my Adidas vest that I wear boxing. Obviously as it was houndstooth I couldn't say no. The plan was to trace my Adidas top and make another.

Drawing round the top was easy. It's a very loose fit vest with no darts or shaping. In fact even the side seams are just straight lines. The back is longer than the front by a couple of cms and there are slits in the side, about 10cm up from the bottom. The head hole is close around the neck and the arm holes are just bound. After drawing round the top I added 1.5cm for any seam allowances and folded the shoulders of the pattern paper round to make sure the seams would match up.

The only real difference between the front and back pieces were the back being longer and the neckline being a little higher. I scooped a little more out of the back armholes too because it felt like a good idea.

Instead of turning in binding on the arm holes like the ready to wear version I cut some strips of fabric to add as bands. The hardest part was getting these the right length so then didn't either pucker or sag. After playing about for a bit I worked out they needed to be about 5cm shorter than the armhole. The fabric is very stretchy, if it had less stretch they would maybe only have needed to be a couple of cms shorter.

The neckband was put on in a similar fashion, then overlocked round, matching up the mid-points on neckline and neckband by stretching out the neckband a little to fit.

The hem was overlocked then turned up 1.5cm and stitched down with twin needle.

The top is exactly what I wanted, light and loose and perfect for sports. Hope Adidas don't come and sue!


Location: Mount Pleasant Ball Courts*, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Faces, The Wands

*Ps, Great paint job on the ballcourts by the Brick Gallery crew!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Velvet Self-Drafted Gemma Skirt

Next from my Abakhan haul is this velvet version of my Gemma Skirt .

I was drawn to the sparkly box in Abakhan full of left-over festive bits. I dug out a few bits I had no idea what I was going to do with, but also this plain black velvet that I knew would make a sweet circle skirt without too much effort.

I made the skirt in a few hours. The four panels are all equal, and the waistband is one piece folded over some elastic of the same length.

This was my first project I'd used a walking foot on... Wow! I've been making life difficult for myself without one! No fabric stretching or anything. Love it.

Mmmm! Lovely velvet!

Knowing this skirt would be a quick make, I think I was guilty of rushing it a little. I initially cut the elastic a smidge too short and it just felt a little too tight around me. I made a little makeshift elastic panel to make it a tiny bit longer. It worked but could have done without the faff. If anything it could be a tiny bit too long now, though that's just preference, I don't think anyone would notice. I also couldn't remember if last time my elastic was exactly the same length as the waistband material. Turns out yes, it should be!! My elastic was a little shorter this time, which doesn't make a difference to fit or anything really as both are stretchy, but does leave a bit too much room for the elastic to do what it wants. When pulling the skirt on it does have a tendency to flip round inside the velvet. I think this is partly because the back of the velvet is so slippy and also my overlocking of band to skirt could have been a little closer to the elastic.

I cut about an inch off the bottom compared to my Autumn version... Spring will be on the way soon.


Location: Devonshire Quarter, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Feel Alright, L.A. Witch

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Butterick B6423, Lisette Coat

I get cold. Colder than I ever used to, so when I spotted Love Sewing's recent cover pattern was this Lisette coat I really wanted to have a go. The lovely folk on Day Case at the hospital chipped in for my leaving prezzie and I spent my dollar in Abakhan. This speckley wool blend was in the shash bins downstairs, for about £16 I bought three meters (I'll show you what I spenT the rest on in posts to come!!). Just what I needed now I don't have those lovely folk so close at hand to keep my heart warm. Thanks guys.

The only other things you'll need are some lining and some interfacing and a big button for the front. I discovered Hillsborough Fabrics big stash of satin for the lining. I was tempted to go for a light pink or perhaps a gold, but after much thought I went for a more understated charcoal. Hey it's one step more exciting than black.

I followed the cutting lay out, but with a bit of re-jigging I freed up quite a bit of fabric and have an off-cut definitely suitable for something else, maybe an office skirt for my new job? There's lining left too so doesn't seem like a bad shout.

The fun thing about this coat pattern is the multiple panels give you chance to play around with some different fabrics. I did buy some black wool with the intention of having a go but was worried it would mess with the hang of the fabric if it wasn't quite weighted right. I'd like to have a play with some fur or sheepskin for a collar sometime this year.

I'd urge you not to skip interfacing, as that collar really benefits from added structure. In fact if I made another I would be tempted to interface the whole front panel too. I would advise adding interfacing to the pocket seams (top and bottom) to keep them in shape, and also maybe the cuffs and bottom hem just for strength (though guilty, I didn't interface these).

Sewing up is fun!! Loved watching the pockets come to life with those princess seams. The trickiest bit is probably faffing about with that collar. It can be a bit hard to get those angles right where the collar joins at the neck, though it looks fab when it goes from fabric to lining when you nailed it!!

Don't underestimate the importance of all the dots and notches, though I lost some of my notches as my fabric started to fray, aghh! I overlocked a few bits as I went along to try and prevent disintegration, but as the coat is fully lined you can get away without an overlocker if you don't play too rough ;)

A lot of online reviews have mentioned that the sleeves are too long. I can't disagree, I cut 2 inches off of the length and think I turned them in a little more than I should have too. Not sure whose arms are quite that long! But it was really easy to save, just make sure you do the same to the lining fabric and it's no drama.

The other thing that keeps cropping up online about this pattern... 'WTF is step 36?' Ha! I've no idea! No one knows, apparently even Lisette doesn't know! It's something to do with hemming and the pleat, then there's this cryptic image. Anyone seen similar? I skipped it and my coat hasn't fallen apart, would still love to know though.

The pleat and hems are all hand stitched, I was surprisingly pleased with my efforts. The satin lining looks so swish!! It doesn't suggest it in the instructions but I would recommend stitching the centre backs of the collar together by stitching in the seam ditch. This will stop the under collar from rolling out when you've got it on.

I ummed and ahhed about how to fasten the front. The lovely House of Pinheiro had used some funky bag clasps to fasten hers, but I struck lucky when I rifled through my Gran's old button bag and found these chunky buttons. I went for two because one looked a little lonely. So glad I can have a piece of her on on coat, I hope it would make her proud.

The pattern is super fun to make, it's very exciting when it all starts to take shape. I would prefer maybe a little less fabric in the top sleeves, but will be great for layering up. And lots of layering up there will be, I have SO much on my to-sew list this year!!

Can't wait to get cracking with more fabric from my last Abakhan haul!


Location: Victoria Quays, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Dead In The Water, Calexico

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Leopard Print Simplicity 1070 Crop Top

Instagram is a useful little tool for the modern woman. Not just handy for archiving gig pictures and checking out your OkCupid date before you agree to meet, but also connecting with people who share your passion. People who sadly, you don't just bump into on the street often enough.

A couple of months back, Instagram's algorithms bought together myself and More Sewing and our shared love of fabric sparked idea of a collaboration. So before I waffle on about my make, go and check out the More Sewing website, give them a follow on Insta and maybe spend a few of your Christmas pennies on a treat for yourself.

I was lucky enough to receive this lush leopard print jersey in the post the other week, which is just what I needed to make that second Simplicity 1070 Stretch Crop Top that I mentioned in my post.

My last croppy top using this pattern turned out a little tight under the arms. I did a bit of reading up to find that the alteration is pretty simple, just scoop out as much as necessary from the top of the side seams, then match this on the actual sleeve pieces. I took out 2cm from the back and front pieces which set my armholes to where they should be.

Like my last one, I used the pattern for the longer length top but took some off of the bottom. I decided to hem the sleeves before sewing the sleeve seam this time. As the hem is so wide (2 inches) but so narrow it's hard to get the machine in to sew the hem. Was so much easier to do this while the sleeve was still flat. I love these wide hems! And also the sleeve length, I love that too.

I took about 1 cm off of the suggested neckband length. I pinned on the original length to the neck to find it gaped just a little at the shoulders so knew I needed to take a little off of the length.

The top is a great fit and I'm super pleased with the armhole alteration. The only problem I'm finding with both of these tops is that they have the tendency to rise up a little when I don't want them to. I think this is because they are tighter across the bust than they are around the waist. Can anyone confirm? Should I loosen off a little around the chest if I make another?

I've got a bit of fabric left. I think I'm going to try and squeeze a little circle skirt out of the remainder, then I can go full cave girl!!

Thanks again to More Sewing for the fabric. There is so much good stuff on their site, or you can pop in store if you're down Sussex way. I'm told that in the new year there will be a pattern range coming out so keep your eyes peeled!

Happy New Year stitchers! Can't wait to see what we'll achieve in 2018


Location: The House Skatepark, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Alone, Horsebeach