Sunday, 22 November 2020

Simplicity 8529 Jumper

 I knew from the moment I saw this fabric that I wated to make a chunky, slouchy, 'I'm welcoming Autumn!' jumper, with a slight flare of fisherman-chic to it.

It was a toss up between patterns- I was keen on the Tilly and the Buttons Nora jumper, both patterns feature dropped shoulders for that snuggly look, but the all-in-one neck of the Simplicity 8592 pattern was what swung it for me. 

The fabric was an Abakhan off-cut so I was quite liited to how much I could play with the pattern placement. I would perhaps have preferred the blue stripes at the neckline, but this was a small sacrifice to make to ensure my sleeve and side seams all matched up... Symmetrical heaven! I am so pleased with the stripe matching at the seams, especially as I'd suffered a finger injury a week before making and my dexterity was still slighty compromised! 
The cuffs and bottom band are great because they are aboue the same size as the sleeve/bottom of the jumper, therefore you don't have to stretch out the bands too much as you sew. This reduces ballooning around the openings but also adds a cosy, sturdy finish to the jumper, making it draught-free for windy Autumn days! 

As the pattern is not fitted, I think it oculd have looked better with a drapey-er fabric- the neck is quite bulky and I prefer to fold it back on itself inside again to I don't look trapped! I love the snuggliness of the jumper though so definitely glad I shose to pair this pattern and fabric. The pattern features different neck and hem variations so there's plenty of options to play with next time. 

I made a size 10 and I think this was the best cut for me. I would make again! Let's face it, I will probably make a few in subtley different striped fabrics! Its quick to come together and doesn't require too much concentration... or finger dexterity apparently!


Location: Tinsley Canal, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Everything Counts, Depeche Mode

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Simplicity 8513, Bodysuit

I had a bit of a phase last year when I was obsessed with the Simplicity 8513 Bodysuit pattern. Since then every time I spot some pretty black stretch fabric I add it to my stash with view to making another.

Incorporating subtle differences to each one, I decided this time to make the high-neck version. It wasn't until I sat down to start making the pattern that I realised this view included a zipper in the back neck. After a bit of Googling I soon realised I wasn't the only one who thought a zip in the garment when the fabric was so stretchy was something that could be avoided. After a few 'does this neck band stretch over my head?' tests I deemed my fabric stretchy enough to go without and got on with making.

My pattern includes a couple of extra inches in the length at the waist as before. I decided to crop the length of the sleeve this time, just to make the design a little more power-dressy and a little less morphsuit. I hemmed them with a 1.5cm hem with the twin needle before assembling the sleeves. Doing this while they are still flat is sort of cheating but saves you having to stretch the little hand hole around the machine. 

I had found that on my prior 8513 bodysuits there was a little too much fabric in the underarm area so this time I did a bit of research on how to make it more fitted. I learned that this could be improved by adjusting the angle of the shoulder seams or by making the chest length a little shorter. With this in mind, I took 1.5cm out across the chest on the front piece only, above the armhole notches. I matched this on the sleeve pattern on the front only, tapering into the centre of the sleeve. Again I made sure the alteration was above the notches so the sleeves would mach to the body. 

My fabric was particularly stretchy, so this time I didn't reduce the side seam allowances to 1cm. I tried the sleeves with a 1.5cm seam allowance too, but gee, I think it must be all the working out, they were a bit too tight, especially at the elbow, so I restitched with a 1cm seam allowance all the was down.  

My top tip for cutting this pattern is to extend the back crotch piece by a few inches. this way even if you've cut the pattern a little short in the body, or your fabric isn't quite a stretchy as you had anticipated you can adjust the length of the crotch piece at try-on time to make it fit!

I think my favourite part of making this bodysuit is attaching the elastic to the leg holes. I stitched this on right sides together with picot edge facing inwards, and then flip to the underside and stitch again. I didn't particularly apply any extra tension to the elastic, maybe just a little around the bum cheek area to aid the fit. I love how professional these edges look when the zig-zag stitching is complete. 

To finish I hand stitched 3 press stud poppers on the crotch area. Done! I love it!

With the improved fit of the garment I am super excited to plan my next bodysuit. I quite fancy some powermesh panelling (don't I always). I love the idea of creating a sweetheart neckline and then using the powermesh for the sleeves and shoulders.... Time to get creative!


Location: Sidney Street / Pinball Park, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Passing Through, Do Damage

Saturday, 19 September 2020

New Look 6343, Jersey Top

I decided to revisit this pattern as part of me feels like I had undersold the New Look 6343 top last time I made it. First time Round I enjoyed the task of setting the sleeves in, but my plain grey fabric means this jumper is one that sinks to the back of the wardrobe and is forgotten about.

I had vowed that next time I made the garment I would make the pattern more fitted and remove the gape from the back.

This rib-knit from Hillsborough fine fabrics lends itself to figure fitting. With this in mind, before cutting the fabric, I took 2cm off of the centre back and front and altered the side seams of the pattern so there was less flare.

Once I started assembling it became apparent I didn't just need to take 'some' out, but that the fabric was going to to look a bit... saggy if it was only semi-fitted. With the fabric already cut, this meant I was going to have to take bits in as I went along, testing the fir with each seam I stitched. This process has a tendency to get a bit messy sometimes, so I tried to be methodical to ensure I made the same alterations on each side. 

I made the sleeves and body significantly tighter, just by increasing the seam allowance until I was happy with the fit. To insert the sleeves I found the best way was to stitch in the shoulder caps (so over the top of the arm hole from triangle to triangle) as this seam wasn't going to alter. I then played around with the underarm seams- as I'd taken so much in, the angle from bottom triangle to side seam altered slightly, with the seam allowance increasing at the underarm. This helped remove some excess bagginess that was around the bicep area.

Topstitching around the sleeves helped to confirm their shape, also adding a bit more reinforcement to reduce strain on those angles.

I used a stretch stitch on my normal machine on the sleeve hems (this turns out to be a bugger to unpick, should you say turn the hem the wrong way :| ) and a twin needle hem on the bottom of the top. Both feel perfectly stretchable!

I think I did as best as I could with the fit bearing in mind I'd already cut the pattern pieces before I decided to make the pattern more fitted. I'm sure there is a more professional way to alter the sleeve pattern to get an underarm curve that fits, but thankfully my fabric is quite forgiving so could get away with a bit of trial and error.

I quite fancy using different fabric for the sleeves next time to really highlight the unusual angles. Maybe something sheer like power mesh?

I've got a fair bit of this fabric left sooo... what next?

Location: Loxley, Sheffield
Currently Listening to: Nothing Is Real, Death and Vanilla

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Simple Sew, Olive Blouse

I have seen surprisingly few Olive Blouses pop up online, so I was excited for my chance to make one for this months' Simple Sew blog.

I cut a size 8 and made a toile to check fit. The blouse fitted nicely across the bust and around the waist but felt tight across the back, restricting movement a little. The sleeves were also a little snug around the elbow, so I set to making a couple of basic adjustments to the pattern. 

To make a broad back adjustment, I first folded under the seam allowances on the paper pattern where the yoke and back met and taped them together so I could treat this as one piece. I drew a line about 2cm along the shoulder from the sleeve cap and another about 2cm below the armpit, then extended these to meet at a right angle. I cut along these lines and moved this shoulder section outwards. I used a shirt pattern I know fits well across the back to use as a guide for how far out to move the pattern piece. Comparing the pattern pieces I also realised I needed to extend the shoulder seam by another couple of cms or so and then redraw the curve from the shoulder point down to the double notches. 
To match I made this same alteration to the front yoke piece- extending the shoulder and then redrawing the curve this time to the front notch of the armhole. I made a minor sleeve adjustment, adding just a little bit more fabric into the back sleeve cap to aid movement.

To make the sleeve width alteration I firstly marked on the seam line of my toile where the sleeve felt too tight- basically just the section around my elbow. On the pattern I straightened the curve on the sleeve seam so it was a straight line from underarm to wrist. This added a few extra cms where I needed them but didn't affect the fit elsewhere on the arm. 

Onto my fabric choice... I couldn't have fallen more in love! I used this 100% rayon from the Cloud 9 'Business Class' range, kindly supplied by Bobbins n Buttons. The whole range is absolutely beautiful, but I chose this 'Business Class Coder' design. It's geometricity appealed to me as well as the print looking somewhere between an organised explosion of staples and a CSS coder's dream. This was before I'd even touched the fabric.... Wow, once it arrived I was falling all over again, the rayon was the perfect weight to make this drapey shirt- ideal to make the most of those gathered sections below the yoke. It also found it pressed like an absolute dream! The fabric had just enough stretch for me to stop worrying that I hadn't added enough extra fabric across the back and elbows and it wasn't prone to laddering which was a relief when it came to adding my snap closures. Honestly, I was so impressed I can see myself going back for the other designs in the range.

The pattern itself is easy to follow, though I would have appreciated a few more notches, at the shoulders for example, to ensure I was matching everything up properly. The pattern doesn't quite prepare you for how tricky attaching the front band around the neckline curves can be either! Due to my rayon being so well behaved it thankfully wasn't so bad, but when making my toile I found it quite tricky to match together the opposing curves at the neckline. 

My advice for attaching the neckband would be go slow and be as accurate as possible! When stitching I started at the centre back and worked outward toward the front neckline. I would also recommend making sure you trim and clip your seam allowances to get the neatest finish.

The uninterfaced band is attached to the neckline first, then the interfaced band is sewn right side to right side before being flipped to the underside. I trimmed the seam allowances here too and then understitched the inside piece to the seam allowance. This stops the inside from rolling out and becoming visible from the front. 

The band is then fixed by 'stitching in the ditch' around the neckline seam... Make sure you overlock the raw edge of the inside band first! In reality you can trim this by about 1cm as you overlock- as it is not folded under you end up with quite a large overlap over the seam on the underside if you don't. 
Again I found it helped to start at the centre back then stitch out toward the front. I would also recommend just stitching sections to hold the underside down  instead of stitching all the way around to avoid any pulling or rippling of the band.

The thought of putting button holes in the band after all that work went right through me, so I struck lucky when I found these pearl Prym snaps at  my local market. They are in the Prym 'Jersey' range, so I was a little worried that for some reason they wouldn't work with woven fabric but it was fine! Always double check your snaps are the right way round before fixing them!! I very almost had a scary moment featuring a back to front popper that would have ruined the whole thing!!

The blouse fits well, the gathers below the yoke make it loose fitted, which I love for tucking into my work skirts... And works with my shorts too! I would recommend wearing a little cami or something underneath for work, as the neckline is quite low for something that loose.

Who else is making an Olive blouse? I want to see some more sassy fabric combos!

Location: Syd and Mallroy Devonshire Street, Sheffield
Currently listening to: The Drugs Don't Work, Verve