Sunday, 31 July 2016

Simplicity 1070 Jacket

Another birthday gift! This pattern caught my eye a couple of months back and I knew I needed it in my life. I was looking for something different to make after wondering just how many dresses I needed. It was the pleather that first caught my eye, giving the Simplicity 1070 jacket a hint of biker, yet the contrasting fabric panels keeping the shape and style feminine.

On a trek out to Chesterfield Direct Fabric Warehouse I was on the search for the perfect pleather, but stopped in my tracks when I spotted this faux suede. At only £6.99 p/m I thought it was worth saving the leather dream for later and taking full advantage of my fabric find. A little more rummaging and I found the perfect jersey fabric for the other panels, that was both strong enough and stretchy enough to use for an outerwear garment.

The only other fabric needed was a little bit of lining which is used for the pockets only. I found all this in the Chesterfield shop which made the journey very worth while!

Using all black fabric meant no need for pattern matching (yay!) so cutting out wasn't as traumatic or time consuming as some. I was however, super-duper careful lining up the grainlines on the pattern pieces when laying and cutting out. I knew that one dodgy placement could lead to a wonky panel and I wanted none of that! I bought a little extra fabric than suggested in the pattern as I rounded the yardage up to the nearest half meter and the lady in the shop cut a little extra in case it wasn't cut straight, but I found I lad LOADS of all three fabrics left. I would say almost enough to make another- definitely if I cut the facing panels in suede instead of jersey. Although it's much better to have too much than not enough, this left-over fabric situation is getting to be a bit of a nightmare in my house! Luckily though, there is probably enough to make a jumper from the jersey- a cropped one at least, so I can see myself getting down to that as the Autumn months roll in.

Armed with rotary cutter and the kitchen floor, cutting out went well. I was really precise with my tailor's tacks too, as my making pens weren't going to show up on the black. It was well worth that time and effort as the sleeve process was made much easier by the alignment of tailors tacks.
I have seen some bloggers have mixed and matched the different fabrics for different panels on the jacket, but I stuck to what was on the packet with the front and back yoke and two front panels cut from suede and the rest from jersey. The only thing I did change was I chose to make the fastening straps from suede too as the jersey fabric was just a bit too bulky and would not sit flat.

On to actual sewing... My Mom said it looked like I was doing some really tricky stuff... But in reality this jacket was actually pretty easy! I didn't really struggle with any of the process. I followed the instructions to the letter (just about), especially after watching this years' Sewing Bee! Shaping didn't really seem to be an issue in the body- the front pieces are kind of flowy anyway and I just followed the lines on the back and it fit fine!
Arms were a little different, but I had expected this. I've noticed on a few garments that the shoulders are a little too long for me, meaning the sleeve starts too low. Eyeing up the jacket on Celine, pre-sleeves, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to make the seam allowance 2cm instead of 1.5cm on the sleeve heads. I was worried about setting sleeves in as it is never my favourite task, and saw gathering stitches were involved, but a combination of well placed tailor tacks and May Martin's 'bubble-ease' technique they set in really nicely! Tacked in, I tried the jacket on and found that there was a little too much fabric in the arms. I took a little out of the back seam on the sleeve (each sleeve has an upper and under panel), and replicated this on the other side. The fit was much better. It could get away with a little more coming out but I thought I would quit while I was ahead as things were going WELL.

The cuffs are blind hemmed. I don't have a blind hem machine so I did it all by hand... Which turned out okay! Much nicer than a visible machine seam I think.

My favourite part of making the jacket was when you stitch on the facing and turn it- then suddenly it looks like a finished item. The only thing I am not happy about on the jacket is that I decided not to interface the facing fabric! My reasoning- The fabric was pretty sturdy anyway and I didn't want to make it bulky, as also I didn't know how much stretch was required. I didn't want to interface the facing only to find that it stopped the fabric from stretching where it needed to and made it stick out funny. I know! It's madness and I should definitely have interfaced the front and the facing front. As it is, the fabrics bag out a little and lose their shape... Basically they do what fabric does which is why they invented interfacing in the first place. I KNOW. I am a fool, but it wasn't the end of the world. We've all learnt something- next time I'm told to interface something I will.

Whilst faffing about with the front facing, I discovered that I was totally in love with the softer, fluffy side of the jersey fabric. If I'd found this sooner I might have been tempted to flip the front facings round so that this side was showing on the inside of the front. I think it could have made the jacket look more snug than smart which might have been a nice touch, so I'm thinking maybe next time, if I find my perfect pleather, I might flip the jersey and have nice fluffy fabric on the outer! What do you think?

Both fabrics were great as neither were prone to fraying. Although using a jersey I didn't have to give it any special treatment. I used a normal needle (80), and overlocked seams for neatening purposes, but in many places I could have just left them.

The jacket fastens with 2 D-rings and a strap, which is great because a) No zips, and b) No buttons! Though I did get a popper putter-inner for my birthday, which I'm still yet to have a go with. Maybe we will add poppers to the GOALS list on my bedroom wall, 'cause I'm crossing everything else off left right and center


Currently listening to: Beg For It, Iggy Azalea ft. MØ
Location: University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Centre

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Pink and Black Lingerie

This week I’ve been looking back on the past year. Or more specifically- what was going off this time last year. I’d just told my ex he was full of bullshit, I’d got my boss sacked for sending pervy messages, won a monkey poster, been make of the week in Love Sewing mag, got 90/90 in my job interview and scored myself the permanent position, plus finally found out that medical photographer's name! It took some doing, but everything was coming up aces, and to celebrate Aimee and I took a trek out to Abakhan in search of fabrics.

It was that trip when I chucked in my basket some ‘quick-win’ mesh fabric with the intention of making myself something sexy. It’s only gone and taken me 52 weeks before I felt it was time to accomplish quick win!

I felt revved up after this years’ lingerie special on the Sewing Bee and kept thinking back to that black mesh that was a total steal from downstairs in Abakhan. I knew I’d accumulated a hefty stash of stretchy lace and at some point the stars would align and the two would come together to make something I felt really good in.

Plagued by bad dreams through the night and still trying to pretend I don’t have a broken heart, I woke up on 30/07/2016 and thought today is the day! Let's make something sexy.

I started on the bralet. Based on the Babycakes Bra from the awesome Secrets Of Sewing Lingerie book, instead of cutting two separate cups I joined them and shaped a kind of V-neck. I stitched the darts in (always amazes me how bra-y it suddenly becomes!), then top-stitched in PINK to match some stretchy lace I had in my stash.

Next up I attached a thinner black stretch lace around the top of the cups/wings/back. Elastic on the inside bottom, pink lace on the outside bottom- all sewn with a zigzag stitch.

The back has no fastening as it’s so stretchy, I just stitched up the centre back after trying on and getting the right size. Straps- maybe I cheated a bit, but I attached some from an old bra with some little elastic loops. I hand stitched with was a bugger as I my hand sewing is poor.

Knickers were going to follow the same fabric theme- the only additional fabric being plain black t-shirt jersey for the front panel and gusset. The pattern I used is the free knickers pattern from So Zo… which I’ve used on the blog previously. Stupidly- as so much time had passed since my last pair I forgot to add seam allowance on to the panel pieces I’d made so errrr, what we’ve got is what I think is quite an attractive design feature- a nice little extra panel on the side seams!
Honestly, I don’t think you’d have known if I hadn’t said would you?!
That being the only blip- these pants were near on perfect. I am particularly fond of the pink top stitching on the front panel to match that on the bra.



Currently listening to: Fancy, Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX
Location: Home Sweet Home, Sheffield

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Love Sewing Magazine/Simple Sew, English Tea Dress II

For my 24th birthday, I received 2 meters of lovely print viscose fabric from Hillsborough. I'd spied it a while back- attracted to it's psychedelic swirls, and my mom knew I had my eye on it (so I like to drop a hint or two) and she picked some up for me.

I was all set to make another New Look 6180 after the first one didn't really rock my world. I got everything cut and took my time sewing up thinking this was probably going to be the best thing I had ever made. Then I noticed the back yoke was a bit off. And the collar somehow was a bit wonky. The armholes were baggy. The button placket decided not to lie straight. And it was too long. One of these problems alone I might have been able to tackle. I hacked the bottom off hoping that would do it... Only to find I'd cut a little too much off and it wasn't straight. Maybe I'll show you some pictures at some point, but for now it's sat in the bottom of a bag and I don't want to look at it for a long long time. Turns out I was not in the right frame of mind that weekend for sewing. Or anything else.
In a desperate bid to get over my sewing/fabric/life demons I forced myself to get some more of this trippy fabric and make something that I really loved.

Hello Cosmic Tea Dress.

Those observant of you will see this is the same pattern from Love Sewing Magazine as my Egyptian Tea Dress, only made from much less itchy fabric! I was really pleased with the fit of my gold one, but disappointed whenever I think of the actual practicality of wearing it. The only change I made to the pattern was to add about a cm to the arm hole at the front where it was pulling on my last one.
With it in mind that this fabric can be a bit of a slippy, shifty nightmare I was super careful cutting out. I used my new rotary cutter (also a birthday gift) to stop the bottom fabric from shifting. I cut everything on the fold! Which was a relief after so much single cutting recently. Pattern matching did not bother me as the print is just big and crazy anyway. The circles all intersect each other, so the seams aren't obvious anyway.

Accuracy was the key here. Second time lucky isn't really one of my sayings (or anyone's actually?), but I was determined not to fuck it up this time. With this pattern it is essential to get the V neck and the V at the waistline directly parallel to each other. The best way to do this is mark it! At the centre point I drew a line down and made sure stitching stopped here and pivoted back up the other side so it was all dead equal. There is absolutely no other way to do it. I am super happy with my V neck, and after my second attempt, also very happy with my waistline. The only problem is that the fabric print is so big the definition between bodice and skirt is kind of lost, which is a shame as the 'V' is quite a feature. Perhaps if I make another it would be a good idea to use contrasting fabrics.

On thinner fabric such as this, my invisible zip foot is much more well behaved! Not having to worry about pattern matching, I pinned, tacked then stitched the zip in with 1.5cm s/a and I didn't have to unpick it once! Very happy!

On to sleeves, well I'm a pro at this now. I loved the capped sleeves on the last one so really just did the same thing; Made two little strips of binding for the underarms, then 'bubble eased' the sleeves in with lots of pins. Tacked then stitched, then tested and overlocked. Not a pucker in sight! They feel much better for the extra fabric in the front. Still a little bit restrictive if we're being really pedantic, but I know this is because they are meant to be gathered at the top... But we all know how I feel about puffy sleeves by now!

This time I didn't resort to cutting anything off the bottom. I overlocked then turned up a narrow hem. I wanted to do a double turned hem but the roundness of the bottom of the skirt made it a bit of a bugger so I stuck to what I knew would work.

And there you go, nothing like a sewing success to make yourself feel like less of a failure.


Currently listening to: The Unknown Soldier, The Doors
Location: Whinfell Quarry Garden, Sheffield