Sunday, 14 April 2019

McCalls M7484, Cardigan

If you've ever had a conversation with me for longer than five minutes I've probably told you that I get really cold. With what feels like another 4 months of winter still to come I wanted my next make to be something that would hopefully shut me up moaning for a bit.

My mental brief for this make was 'comfy, warm, snuggly, casual. Must have pockets'. I set about searching for a solid pattern that would tick all my boxes and settled on the McCalls M7484 cardigan pattern. I was excited about how easy it looked to wear, just pull on then snuggle up! Plus how easy it looked to make- no fastenings!

I particularly like the big fold out collar that doubles up as a scarf and the way it turns into this super cute waterfall front. I struck lucky with this fabric from Abakhan, the underside is plain black so creates a bold contrast where it folds in and out. I decided to use the reverse for making the cuffs and bottom band too.

I'd spotted this pattern online and hastily added it to my wishlist. What I didn't pay attention to, was the sizing of the pattern. Ooops, I'd ordered the large sizes!! I talked myself out of buying the pattern again after taking a bit of time to open it out and assess the pieces. I worked out what size I would need then traced the pattern, shrinking it down as I traced. It sounds kind of tricky, I think if the pattern had been more complex I would have struggled, but I tried to draw the inside to match the difference in sizes that were already shown.

I made a quick toile so I could check I hadn't done anything crazy with the sleeves but it all seemed to fit together pretty well. Can't believe I thought about rebuying the pattern! As the style is pretty loose anyway I didn't want to make it extra extra roomy!

The pockets are sewn into the side seams, with the pocket bag being attached straight onto the inside of the front piece. I think a free moving pocket might have been a bit cooler as you can see the stitching from the front, but I was super neat with my curves and luckily my stitching it pretty much hidden by the colour of my fabric.

The hardest part of assembling is probably attaching at the collar. As with pretty much every McCalls pattern I've ever used (coincidence??) you have to reinforce a corner and then snip into it, making the seam allowance very tiny where you join the back neck to the shoulders. It works though! Which I was relieved about after feeling like I'd blagged it a bit when I reduced the size of the pattern.

The other tricky bit I found was getting over the bulk around the pockets and side seams with the overlocker. As the fabric I chose was quite thick it was a bit of a climb to get round when attaching the bottom band.

Over all the cardigan is exactly what I was after. I think maybe it is just a little bit too long- the bottom band certainly affects the way it hangs, and it was perhaps a little easier to wrap around before I added it. I like the colour contrast though and the way the length hugs my bum a bit at the back so I'm not complaining!

Oh yeah and did I mention it's super warm?


Location: Burgoyne Arms, Langsett Road, Sheffield
Currently listening to: GO GO GO, Coco Don't

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Simplicity 8513, Bodysuit

I've definitely got the Simplicity 8513 bug! This was the fourth time I'd cut the pattern, but this time I really wanted to try out those lush bell sleeves.

This time I opted for the more modest neckline which was just a case of using the same pattern piece then rounding it off higher up. This version also means you can omit the facing, meaning more fabric left over to cut those sleeves!!

Instead there is an additional pattern piece to attach as a neckband which you stretch around the head hole. I would usually attach this with the overlocker but this ribbed fabric I chose was sooo stretchy I was really worried it would stretch out as I stitched.

Instead I used a narrow zigzag on my normal machine then top stitched the seam allowance down. This felt a bit risky as it would be REALLY obvious around the neck if my stitching was off! I was super cautious not to stretch it out of shape when I stitched. Not gonna lie, there was a moment I thought I was gonna fuck it up, but I pulled it back!

Onto those sleeves, they are beautiful no?

I've seen some really sassy velvet ones online which I could certainly be tempted by. I cut and attached the sleeves only to find that they realllly didn't need hemming. Yesss! I was worried adding a hem would make them a bit too weighty and distract from how lovely they are. Also from bad experiences with hemming rib in the past I was full of fear that they would stretch out and be completely ruined!

I used the same 1cm seam allowance that I used on my other body suits, though I think I could have upped this to 2cm or maybe more due to the stretchiness of the fabric. Ooooh sewing with knits can be so hard to judge sometimes! My bodysuit didn't really suffer from it though, it still fits nicely, but there is perhaps just a tiny bit too much fabric in the underarm.

The fabric was also stretchy lengthways too, so I made the gusset area a little shorter to ensure a snug fit.

Love it! I love how simple this one is, but how the sleeves add that extra bit of interest. Definitely one for gigging now the new band is up and running :)


Location: The Mount, Broomhill, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Speed Of Pain, Marilyn Manson

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Simplicity 8513, Bodysuit

Having made a toile and then a second wearable toile, I was so PSYCHED to make my perfect Simplicity 8513 body suit. Still too scared to snip into my gold and black stretch jersey, I decided the best way to tackle this fear was just to buy more lovely fabric. That's logic right?

I picked up this spangly lycra from Abakhan, it was a tough choice between an abundance of sparkly stretch fabrics in the stash bins downstairs, but after much deliberation, this beauty made it to my basket.

My fabric was thinner and loooads stretchier than my first so I wanted to be mindful that I didn't make the bodysuit too large. As my first was a little on the tight side though, I followed my amended pattern without making any further changes and was really happy with the fit.

I had to be careful cutting out as there were some slight anomaly gold blobs on the fabric that I really didn't want running across the centre front of my garment. Due to pattern piece layout the blobs were unavoidable, but they are now carefully placed on my right bum cheek! No one need ever know eh.

I decided not to TOPSTITCH the neck line as the pattern suggests, as on my previous two attempts the jersey had stretched a little on one side of the V. The topstitching is meant to stop the facing from peeking out but as the top is nice and snug and my understitching was pretty sweet, there was no chance of me flashing my facing.

I used some cute elastic from The Button Shed to finish my leg holes by sewing wrong side of the elastic to the right side of the garment, then flipping to the inside to hide the seams. I hand stitched my snaps to the crotch, making sure the 'male' part of the popper is on the inside of the front and the 'female' half of the popper sits on the outside of the back.

Thread through a piece of lace to keep the Vneck from being quite so revealing and then there you go! Love using this pattern alongside this sparkly fabric. Anyone for some fancy sleeves next time...............?


Location: Heeley Millennium Park / Lumley Street, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Dance All Night, Ryan Adams

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Simplicity 8513, Bodysuit

Making underwear is always fun. There's something really lush about playing with different fabrics and lace and elastics to make something practical but also alluring. Having only used a snippet of my lovely sparkly gold and black jersey on my recent underwear set I was keen to find use for the rest of it.

The Simplicity 8513 Bodysuit caught my eye as something a little different, still giving me opportunity to use all the lingerie tricks I've learnt, but also make something I can show off!

As the bodysuit is meant to be tight fitting I urged myself to make a toile to get the fit spot on before cutting into any special fabrics. I've had some black jersey sat in my stash for some time now so thought it was finally time to put it to good use. It wasn't the stretchiest jersey, but with it in mind that my fun lingerie fabrics would have more stretch I went ahead and cut a SMALL, adding a little extra in at the hips, and mentally prepared myself for it to be a bit TIGHT.

Step one of Bodysuit A is arguably the most satisfying step in any sewing pattern ever. You turn a long loop, cut it into eighths then attach them to the right side of the neckline to make little loops for threading your lace-up through later. Once you attach your facing, clip into the 'V' and turn it the right way out, your heart will do a little skip I promise!! Add in a sneaky bit of understitching and you've gone and made yourself a super sexy neckline.

Yeah, I loved it but first try on suggested the neckline really was a bit lower than I could get away with! There are 4 loops on either side, I thought if I could reshape the neck by raising up the V by a few cm and omitting the bottom pair of loops I could still keep it sexy, but also a bit more... Wearable?! I found a thin black lace in my stash and decided to use this instead of making my own cord like the pattern suggested.

Based on visual judgement more than anything, I decided to stitch my side seams and underarm seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm. This fabric realllly wasn't very stretchy!!

Having cut a SMALL it also became clear quite quickly that the bodysuit was too short in the body and there was no way the front and back crotch were going to be meeting up anytime soon. I'd marked on my pattern when the waistline should be, as indicated on the paper pattern, then worked out how far off it was from my actual waist. I ended up adding 6cm in to make it the right length, which meant the curve in the centre back seam now sat nicely over my lower back and bum.

I decided to hem the sleeves before I stitched the underarm seams- it was cheating a bit but I didn't fancy stretching the handhole around the machine to hem it, so chose to do it flat.

First try on after the sleeves were in suggested that the excess I'd added into the hips wasn't necessary (especially as the rest was soo fitted), and confirmed that I needed to add a little more onto the shoulders so that my sleeves sat on my shoulder point.

So technically this is my second toile using plain black jersey, with the adjustments above. I am really happy with the neckline now and think when I make another with my stretchier glitzy fabric the fit will be on point. There's some lovely sleeve and neckline variations included in the pattern, I can't wait to make more more more.


Location: KR Autos, London Road / Lumley Street, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Brown Eyes, Lady Gaga

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Simple Sew, Jackie-O Jacket

Before getting started on the Simple Sew Jackie-O Jacket I decided to do a bit of research. By now quite a few stitchers have made the jacket and everyone was saying a similar thing, it's a little bit tight on the shoulders. After inspecting the pattern pieces it's easy to see why. The sleeve piece is completely symmetrical where most sleeve pieces would be a little bigger at the back.

I made a quick toile from the pattern and found I could definitely benefit from adding some more into the shoulder of the sleeve. I didn't really do anything mathematical, just extended the curve out a little on one side of the sleeve cap then gently curved it back round to the underarm seam. I cut it out and tried it... It was MUCH better but the armhole was sitting a little too high on my shoulder. After faffing with the seam allowance a bit I decided I needed to extend the shoulder by about a centimeter (remembering to alter both front and back pieces), then gradually curve this back into the armhole.

Aside from that, fitting of the jacket is pretty simple. The only shaping is a bust dart which seemed to sit quite nicely.

The pattern suggests attaching the sleeves 'flat' ie, before you have sewn up the side seams, but I think you get a MUCH neater finish but inserting them traditionally and easing the sleeve head into the armhole.

Fabric wise I chose this black fake fur from Doughty's (ahhhhh thanks guys!). I've never worked with fur before so was a little bit nervous! I learnt a few things-

1- Cut your pieces out flat (not on the fold). This way you have more control over what fur is being cut off. Ideally you want to cut only the backing fabric and not any of the fur, which leads me to...
2- Use scissors! Not a rotary cutter. Once the backing has been cut you can just pull the fur apart along the cut lines and you won't end up with any weird bald patches
3- Select a long stitch length
4- When seams are sewn you can carefully brush out the fur trapped in the stitching. Don't hate me, but I used and eyebrow comb to gently ease it out and it worked really well. It's full of fluff though so I'd recommend a good clean before getting fluff in your eyes!
5- Once you've brushed out your fur in the seams I would recommend trimming the fur off of the seam allowances to reduce bulk.

And that's it really! Sewing with fur was a little easier than I thought it was going to be. The fabric does actually have a little bit of stretch which is handy across the shoulders. Also when you've brushed your fur out (!) your seam lines all get pretty hidden so handy for disguising any wobbly seams (shhh).

I used my third toile as the lining. I've recently gained myself a pile of this sexy pink crape left over from my new band's video shoot. It seemed like a nice idea to build some of those memories into this jacket. It's lovely to touch but sadly a little bit too thin so you can see straight through it and spot the seam allowance. As the fur is quite bulky this is really noticeable on the inside and makes the seams look a little unneat :( Colourwise though I love the contrast of the pink against the black, which is what we've been playing with in the video too.

To make the lining I just followed the exact same pattern as I did for the shell but made the sleeves 2cm shorter. I then attached the lining around the neck, front and front bottom before turning the lining to the inside. After understitching the neck and the front opening, I turned the sleeves up by a centimeter twice then hand stitched these to the hem of the sleeves.
To keep the lining in place I did a little run of stitches on either side attaching the side seam allowance of the lining to that of the shell.

This is a fun little jacket for beginners as it has no fastenings. A lot of reviews have said to be wary at how short the jacket is, so I guess that's something to bear in mind but I love it cropped! The lining is optional really, the pattern comes with facing pieces which could be used instead (also maybe as well?) but the texture of the underside of fur is not that comfy! So I went with the option to line it.

The instructions are easy to follow, I don't know if I had an old copy of the pattern but I should probably point out that there are no notches on the pieces so be aware when you are setting your sleeves in.

Voila! Tres Chic x


Location: Shirland Lane/Adelphi Theatre, Attercliffe, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Moi Je Joue, Brigitte Bardot