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

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Noelle Bra // So Zo Knickers, Lingerie Set

This fabric... Am I right guys?! It's been in the stash for almost a year because it's just been too bloody beautiful to use. I'd been through all my favourite stretch patterns in my head, but none of them were doing it justice. I wanted to make something tight (do we call it 'close fitting' to sound more profesh?), but was scared of those problem areas on tops (underarms and lower back) as I didn't have enough for a practice run. A skirt would have looked glam, but the fabric is too thin for a wiggle skirt and I didn't really fancy a circle skirt.

I love the Noelle Bra pattern from Madalynne. I've made a couple and I love them both, but since toning up a little there is a little more room in them than necessary. There were a few areas I thought I could improve on, mainly just a closer fit, but also neatening up that bottom band and just generally slicker stitching. Since making my last Noelle I've bought a walking foot which I was eager to try out... So that sold it! Noelle no.3 coming up!

I opted for my glammy gold fabric on the front panel and front band, both lined with some power mesh. The back a double layer of power mesh and the band a pretty lace. Lace elastic was my go-to from the Button Shed, delicate with just the right amount of stretch. The only other notions I needed were some straps (cut off an old bra that decided not to fit anymore) and some rings for attaching the straps. I chose these slightly larger than normal gold ones for a little extra impact.

Cutting the fabric was an important one here. The design is very eye catching so had to ensure that it was all perfectly central. As luck would have it, the bust darts lined up perfectly with the design, so two of the squares turned into lovely diamonds! I cut out flat so that I could make sure all my pieces were symmetrical.

Fitting-wise I doubled the seam allowances on either side. The fabric now stretches over my bust just the right amount (hi boys)! I took the same amount in on the bottom band to ensure the side seams would match up.

Oooh, while we are on the subject of side seams, this time I ensured all my seam allowances were hidden inside the lining and pushed forwards so they were hidden behind the fabric that isn't see through. This takes a bit of twisting the fabric round so that you can get 'inside' the garment but totally worth it once you get your head around which side is sewn to what.

I stitched my elastic on so it was on the right side 'facing downwards' if you know what I mean, then turned it to the wrong side and stitched again.. I was particularly pleased with how neat my zig-zagging was! Super satisfying.

Attach the straps and you're about done! All that's to finish off then is...

Matching knickers!

I'm sure by now you've aaaaaalllll used So Zo's free knicker pattern . It's absolutely fab, the only pants pattern you'll ever really need! I'm into the habit of altering that front piece into three so I can use contrasting fabric in the side panels. I cut the front panel from my lovely gold fabric, then duplicated this in the power mesh to make a lining. Again it stitched the side panels so the seam allowance was hidden between the front and the lining, this involved some more twisting but we're pro at that by this stage yeah?!

The gusset seam is also sneakily hidden inside the layers of fabric. Zo gives us a handy how-to on her blog so that you can ensure all the layers of fabric (ie, front back and gusset) are all laying the right way round when you stitch so that when you flip it all right side out it looks lush! The walking foot really came into its own here. In the past these layers have liked to slide and stretch around a bit but none of that today!

I attached the lace elastic before sewing up the side seams so that I could get a nice join in the lace when I stitched up. I decided to do the waist elastic the same way which was maybe not the right thing to do. I hate doing the 'join' when the rest of the garment is sewn up. I had visions of a bulky seam and thought it would be easier and neater to incorporate this with the overall sideseam. It worked fine, but I think the waistband tension would have been improved by doing this in one piece of elastic.

And that's it really. Symmetrical pattern cutting was again of course essential to get the design running straight down the centre front and back. The cute criss-cross elastic was some I found in Abakhan again a while back that I've been too scared to use!

I've got plenty supplies left... So bring on the lingerie sewing!


Currently listening to: Come Around, MIA
Location: Studio Holland

Sunday, 11 November 2018

New Look 6343 Jumper

Quick makes are good for the soul. You know, the kind that's only three or four bits to cut out, preferably from some leftovers and then you can whizz up with the overlocker then wear to the pub that evening.

I've had the New Look 6343 pattern in my stash for a while. I was attracted to its interesting shaped sleeves, obviously leaning towards the cropped version. I had some leftover grey jersey from Doughty's from my last Simple Sew make so decided to squeeze another jumper from it.

Key design elements for this pattern obviously include the sleeves- they are almost like raglans, but with a shoulder seam too! Best of both worlds eh?! This kinda square shaping adds a boxy element to the design which is cool if you're keeping it casual (I am, forevermore, believe me). The fabric I used lends itself to being quite boxy as it's not particularly drapey. I'd like to make another, certainly with softer sleeves, maybe in some kind of sports fabric???? What else is going on, oh yeah cropped sleeves which I love and a wide hem on sleeves and bottom which I used twin needle on.

The sleeves are fun to make but you gotta be precise. They require reinforced stitching along the seamline of the jumper, then clipping in to the marking. This clip marks the area where the 'square-y' bit of the sleeve joins the body. This is process is replicated on the back. When attaching the sleeve you ave to make sure you follow these reinforcing stitches so they don't show on the front, and also make sure you get a really sharp pivot on the corners. My pivots were.... so-so ha!

The sleeve seams are then topstiched which helps highlight the angles. The pattern suggests to topstitch the neckband too... I put it out to an instagram poll and you all agreed to topstitch the neck band. So I didn't because what do you know?! Haha! I was put off by the seam allowance being narrower around the neck than the sleeves. The distance between seam and stitching would have had to have been narrower and if I didn't get it precise it would have been VERY obvious. The neckband sits really nicely as it is so I decided not to faff.

That's it really! Only real deviation from the pattern was I decided to turn up the sleeves and hem them before sewing the underarm seam. As the hem is so wide it seemed a lot easier this way. I just had to make sure I was careful when I did sew the underarm seam that my twin stitching joined up nicely... Which it did!

Next time I think I will take quite a bit out of the lower back of the jumper, cause I'm getting a bit of a draught! There's definitely room to have a play around there.... eyes peeled!


Location: Moore Street Sub Station, Sheffield
Currently listening to: Zou Bisou Bisou, Gillian Hills

Sunday, 28 October 2018

McCalls M7575 Shirt

So I got a new job. Again. I'm at a strange point in my life where I don't know what I want or where I'm going. But what I DO know, is I want to look good while I'm doing it... Whatever 'it' is. 'It' for me right now is to keep turning up and keep doing my best, and what better confidence booster than doing that in a shirt you made yourself.

The McCalls M7575 pattern is a classic semi-fitted shirt style, with a few different variables you can play around with (sleeve length, collar style etc). The shirt has front and back darts as well as an undersleeve panel which all give great opportunity to play around with fit. The pattern also gives some great tips on fitting. Eager to make a shirt that was totally 'me', I was actually excited to make my toile so I could see what we could have a play around with. I cut a 10, and would you believe, I was SO happy with the fit without a single alteration!! I didn't want it too tight fitting as I love a bit of flounce over the top of my skit, plus a little extra room always gives opportunity to knot up the front and rock some beach vibes.

I've just got moved into my home studio and the theme is mainly monochrome in there. Inspired by this on my fabric hunt, I picked two lightweight shirt fabrics both in black and white. The first was a bit cassic NHS-blouse with little dots on, and the second a little more vibrant- this monochrome/tropical combo! Keen to have impact, I chose to make my first from the tropical. It was about £3.99 p/m from Hillsborough Fine Fabrics.

Assembling the shirt is easy really if you've made any kind of shirt before. The cuffs are maybe the hardest part, just cause you've got to make sure those pleats are neat and your button is on the right side etc, but as long as you concentrate its not too tricky. I will note though that I found that the cuffs and also the front band stretched out a little as they were cut on the bias. I had to cut a bit off of one of my front bands!! So next time I would just advise myself to check that the cuffs are the same length before sewing them onto the sleeve... OK fine, one of mine might be a tiiiiiiny bit longer than the other but you would NEVER have known if I didn't just tell you okay?! I'd also note it's really handy to have transferred the pattern markings to the cuffs so you can match up all the seams. The slits in the sleeves are hand stitched but I reckon you could get away with topstitching if you cba by hand.

The pattern gives option for pockets but this time I declined as I didn't want to break up that crazy pattern. I might have a play around with pockets if I make a stripey one though.

Collarwise, once you've made one collar I think you've made them all. They can be a bit fiddly but again, if you take your time they aren't too difficult. Harder than the collar is probably getting the curved hem to behave. The pattern suggests a loose line of stitching to pull to help ease in the curves. I did the stitching and used this as a guide for the hem, but found good pressing with the iron and lots and lots of pins helped as good as anything to get around those curves. Just don't rush it and it will be fine!!

Buttonholes are perhaps my nemesis. I think this is where my bottom of the range sewing machine really falls down. I know it's easy to blame your tools, but it is pretty shit at making a good buttonhole. They all function though, and when the buttons are in place you can't see that some of them are a bit lumpy. Shhhhh!! I used the pattern as a guide for button placement. When I make another I will slightly alter the distance between the buttons as there is a little bit of gaping at my tummy. Shut up! Don't tell!

Other than that, there's not really any changes I would make. I could get away with taking a little out of the back of the sleeve but I don't think it's essential. I'm super happy with the shirt! I have thought about playing around with the sleeves and maybe adding some 70s style flounce like the MIA BLOUSE.

With different fabrics I can make a whole bunch of office-ready shirts! Bring it on.... Whatever 'it' may be.


Location: Buxton Pavilion
Currently listening to: Is My Love Enough?, White Lies

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Simple Sew, Classic Sweatshirt

Simple Sew's Classic Sweater pattern is just that. A classic raglan shape that is simple to put together. To keep it basic I chose this grey jersey from Doughty's with it in mind that it would look casual for a Sunday trip to Ikea or to throw on after the gym.

The jumper is made up from a front and back, two sleeves, a neck and waist band and cuffs. The fabric needs to stretch so I made the whole thing using an overlocker. I pinned the front and back to the sleeves first to check the fit then whizzed it all up. It comes together really quickly!!

The pattern gives two different length options. Naturally I cut the shortest, but I wanted shorter!! I cut about 23cm off the bottom so that when the band was attached the bottom of the jumper meets with the top of my jeans. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a cropped jumper. The great thing about this pattern though is, you can change the length to whatever you want.

I made no other alterations to the pattern, though I think next time I will lower the armholes a little.

The hardest bit of the pattern is making sure you have equal tension around the bands as you pull them to fit onto the jumper. The cuffs can be a little difficult as they are pretty narrow. Be extra careful not to catch the opposite side of the sleeve otherwise you could sew your armhole up, teehee.

I've made a similar style jumper using the New Look 6230 pattern. The head hole on that pattern is very wiiiiiide and has a tendency to slip off my shoulders (my cold hands are always tugging on them sleeves!). I think this Simple Sew jumper is much better proportioned, the angles of the sleeves is just that little bit sweeter too.

Would definitely recommend!


Location: Harley, Sheffield / Little Kelham, Kelham Island
Currently listening to: Sun Echoes

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Simple Sew, Veronika Dress

The Veronika Dress from Simple Sew follows suit quite nicely from the lovely Lucille dress I stitched up back in May. Like Lucille, Veronika has two different skirt options a full circle skirt or a pencil skirt option. I opted for pencil skirt again as there is something that bit more wearable about them for me. The capped sleeves on the pattern look super cute but again not quite my thing so chose the sleeveless version.

The fabric was this fabulous flamingo print from Doughty's, a cotton lawn similar to the fabric I picked for Lucille. I chose a shimmery pink lining from Hillsborough for lining the skirt.

My initial toile suggested I need to take some out of the front bodice shoulder area. I cut a 10 but the bust was still too roomy (I swear they are getting smaller??). The back fit well so instead of taking it out at the shoulder seam I pinned out the excess on the front bodice. It was a good few inches but I'm small in the shoulders and the bust so a common alteration for me.

I took in just enough so the bust darts pointed to my widest bit of chest and the neckline lay flat without gaping. As this affected the armhole size I increased the seam allowance at the back of the armhole, then made sure to add this amount back on to the underarms of the facing.

My next alteration was in the skirt. Firstly I reshaped the hips a little and then set to work on changing the back darts. I have a tiny lower back so am quite used to having to faff about with these. It felt a bit flukey, but I got a good shape pretty quickly, extending the darts slightly and making them wider in the middle.

Due to the slight alteration in the side seams, I pinched a tiny bit out of the bottom side of waistband where the notch for the side seam is. This changed the shape from a straight line to slightly curved.

For once I didn't alter the length! I was really happy with the length, I think it looks dead classy!

It seemed to take an age to cut out all my pieces. I took extra care with pattern placement to make sure that my flamingos weren't all clumped together!

After that sewing up was simple! I love the fabric and the pattern and my alterations! I added a little extra interfacing around the front and back necklin to ensure they kept their shape.

I have just enough fabric left to make another bodice so tempted to make a Veronika or Lucille bodice with plain black skirt, maybe a franken-pattern of the two :)

Hopefully will get at least one wear out of it before Autumn steals away the sun...!


Location: Home Sweet Home
Currently listening to: Consoler Of The Lonely, The Raconteurs