Southport tank hack

One of my goals this year is to stretch my creative muscles a bit and have a go at some pattern hacks. This one isn’t a particularly complex one but baby steps.

I’ve had this cotton lawn in my stash for about 18 months and I was originally planning to make a Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank with it but when I got the pattern out to make a start I had a change of mind. The straps seemed really long so I was worried about how it would fit but I didn’t want to make a toile.

That’s when I remembered that I’d seen Kelli of True Bias hack her Southport dress into a tank top. I like the way my Southport dress fits so I thought I would do the same.

southport tank

I didn’t follow Kelli’s tutorial as I didn’t want to cut into my pattern. Instead I just laid the bodice pieces on my fabric, cut around the neckline and side seams then moved the pattern down about 8″ and cut out the hem. Then used a ruler to follow the side seam down to meet the hem. So basically the same thing just without altering the pattern.

I also put the centre front line on the fold to omit the button band as I just wanted a plain tank top.

southport-tank-back-and-side

I have the same problem with this top as I do with my Scout tee of the lines from my bust to my hips. I was going to try making the dart bigger (and have already fiddled with the pattern) but since looking at these photos I’ve noticed that the dart is a little low on me. So now I’m wondering if that’s the real problem.

southport-tank-darts

There’s not really a lot else to say about this top. It’s a really simple top but it’s a great staple. I’ve worn it a couple of times since I made it and I’ve got two more planned. One in a black polyester that called itself peach crepe and in some grey floral cotton lawn.

southport-tank-close-up

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress hacked into a top

Measurements: Bust 37″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hip 40″

Size made: US 6

Alterations: Same fit changes as in my first version and then hacked into a top by lengthening the bodice and omitting the button band.

Fabric used: 1m of 150cm wide navy and cream geometric cotton lawn from Abakhan

Another version? Yes definitely.

Any changes next time? I’ve already started adjusting my pattern to make the darts a little bit bigger and I think I added a smidge more flare at the hip. But now I’m wondering if I should try raising the darts first.

Final thoughts

I really like this top even though the fit needs a bit of work. It’s a great Summer staple.

true bias southport tank dancing
Derp

Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend. Thanks to a self imposed Twitter ban mine has been a lot better than last week. I’d hoped to get lots of sewing done but it doesn’t seem to have happened. I did manage to finish off my Sew Over it Carrie trousers and assemble the PDF of the Ultimate Trousers, which are next up on my sewing table. How about you?

Floral Grainline Scout tee

Hi guys, this post is a little later than I’d hoped to get it up – I’d been getting into the routine of posting on Sundays – but I didn’t get photos until quite late on Sunday night and I haven’t really been in the right frame of mind to write. I expect people are sick of hearing about the EU referendum but the result has really upset me. The manfriend was away for his brother’s stag do at the weekend and I spent almost the whole weekend falling into an internet clickhole, constantly on Twitter and reading every article posted. I barely moved from the sofa, didn’t cook myself proper food and generally felt sad and scared. As you can imagine it was really not good for my mental health.

penny big bang hermit

But the shining light that is sewing managed to help on Sunday afternoon. I pulled myself off Twitter, put Archer series 7 on Netflix and started work on my Carrie trousers. Then the manfriend got home from Manchester, bought us a Chinese takeaway and I put water to my body to make myself presentable to take these photos of my new Grainline Scout tee.

grainline scout tee

This was a lovely quick and simple make. I’ve sewn it once before but it was much nicer this time as I wasn’t panic sewing. The first time I made it I clearly didn’t read the pattern instructions properly as I sewed it with 5/8″ seam allowances when they’re actually 1/2″ except for the neckband and sleeves, which are 1/4″. I have just realised that I’ve made it twice, not once, as I made my mum one for Christmas. I’m so not firing on all cylinders at the moment.

scout tee collage

There’s not a lot to say and none of my photos are particularly varied sorry. I made a size 10 for my first version and it was a little loose around the shoulders so I cut an 8 grading out to a 10 for the hips this time, for floatiness. It’s still fairly loose and the shoulder seam sits off my shoulder a little bit so I wonder if I need to try a 6 there but I’m not sure if I could do a size 6 sleeve. I do quite I like the loose fit though so I don’t know if I will.

Scout tee Close up

I’ve had 3 metres of this fabric has been in my stash for about a year and a half and I only used just over a metre for this version so I have almost 2m to make something else with. Not sure what yet, I’ve toyed with a Sewaholic Belcarra blouse, a Seamwork mag Addison blouse and attempting to hack some sort of trapeze dress.

I don’t know if pull lines and drag lines are different things or if the lines I have are either of them but I have lines from my bust to my hip. From fiddling about with how it hangs I think making a tiny dart might help. So before my next version I’m going to try adding one and then rotating it out. I’ve attempted a very crude attempt at a diagram of my plan below. Then smooth out the side seams and hem. I may leave the fullness at the hip or I may then take it off the side seams. I’ll see how much it adds before I decide because I’m only making a tiny dart.

darts

I used French seams throughout and did my own thing with the construction as I wanted to try out sewing the sleeves flat, like you do with knit dresses. I think I prefer it as they seemed to go much better than when I’ve done set in sleeves before. I also used French seams on them even though they don’t have the right seam allowance for it, which didn’t seem to cause any problems.

scout tee

The details

Pattern: Grainline Scout tee

Measurements: Bust 37″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hip 40″

Size made: US 8 at shoulder and bust grading out to a 10 at the hips

Alterations: None other than the grading.

Fabric used: 1 and a metres of 150cm wide viscose from Abakhan

Another version? Yep, I need at least 6 more Scouts.

Any changes next time? 

Possibly some shoulder narrowing shenanigans or perhaps try sizing down across the shoulder and neckline. I’d like the get the shoulder to end where my actual shoulder does because that seems to give more of a cute cap sleeve on other people’s versions I’ve seen.

Non-clueless versions

Final thoughts

I love this t’shirt and have worn it loads since finishing it. I’m wearing it now in fact. I really must make some more. Oh, if you’d like to see it in motion, it’s in my latest video.

I’m going to finish by going back to the whole EU referendum thing sorry. To any European readers I’d just like to let you know that the result of this referendum in no way reflects my feelings and I feel very ashamed of my country. I truly believe that we are stronger together and the only way to tackle our global problems is by working together. It has saddened me to see the small percentage of racists in the country now thinking that their awful views are in any way okay.

But on a positive note, this happened in my sort of home town (where I live but not where I’m from). It made me cry when I saw the tweet.

Sea Sirens Simplicity 1418 Skirt

Simplicity 1418 skirt with petticoat

Why yes, yes that is a skirt covered in sexy ass mermaids.

It seems to be becoming a theme of mine to combine Alexander Henry Fabrics with Simplicity 1418. First my hunks Christmas dress and now this skirt. I got the idea to make a Simplicity 1418 skirt from Kath of Bernie and I after seeing this version of hers, which I love. It’s so colourful and pretty. (That’s her old blog, her new one is here.)

Simplicity 1418 skirt with petticoat montage

I really love Simplicity 1418. I love the off the shoulder bodice and I love the pleats on the skirt and the way it flares. It also has side zip, which is great when you’re using a big pattern like this as it means you don’t have to pattern match on the back seam and you just get to easily showcase the print.

I made the skirt to wear on a night out and in typical me fashion was still finishing it off right at the last minute because I handstitched the hem. I did have visions of me stitching it on the train but luckily that didn’t happen. I just went out with rubbish hair instead.

simplicity-1418-skirt-montage

It’s a pretty simple pattern so there’s not a lot to say about it really. I bound the seams as my overlocker is on the fritz, it’s actually in hospital at the moment. Luckily, I found a man in my home town who does sewing machine repairs as the man in my work town is horrible and rude so I didn’t want to give him any business. I went in to his shop once looking for needles and instead of helping me he quizzed me on where I bought my sewing machine, sneered at me for buying it online and made out that the needles I wanted (twin ballpoint) don’t exist. So I bought them on eBay.

bound-seams

Choosing the pattern placement for the waistband was quite fun. I think I have three sets of boobs on it. I also topstitched it with metallic thread because I thought that seemed mermaidy. It didn’t come out as shimmery as I was hoping though.

topstitching

This skirt seems to have become my favourite thing to wear when me and the Manfriend go do nice things. I wore it when we went to the Swansea Gin Festival back in April and when we went to watch Taskmaster being filmed in May – the series has just started on Dave and we were in the front row for the last episode of the series if you want to try to spot us. We were just behind Doc Brown, I look like me but I’m wearing my glasses and Manfriend has a giant beard, but then half the men there did so that’s probably not much help.

alexander-henry-fabric-skirt

The details

Pattern: The skirt part of Simplicity 1418 with a self drafted contoured waistband

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″

Size made: 14 but sewn with 10mm/3/8″ seam allowance instead

Alterations: I took 2″ off the length before hemming. Really should have shortened the pattern before cutting out. I will before using it again.

Fabric used: 1.6m of 110cm wide Alexander Henry Fabrics Sea Sirens cotton in blue from Frumble Fabrics

Another version? Possibly as I really enjoy wearing this skirt, I love the shape of it. I’ll definitely make the dress again. It’s my favourite “dressy” dress pattern.

Any changes next time? I might make it a smidge snugger.

Final thoughts

I really love this skirt. I think the pattern and fabric are a good pairing. It was nice to sew with such a well behaved fabric. More Alexander Henry Fabric skirts! But maybe I should try to find one that I can get away with wearing to work, I think this one has slightly too many boobs on it.

If you’d like to see the skirt in motion it’s in my latest video about Me Made May, it’s about 5 and a half minutes in if you want to skip the rest.

jumping
My terrible attempt at trying to get a jumping photo

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Mine has been fairly quiet, just a bit of housework, a visit to my mum and a tiny bit of sewing but that didn’t go well so I’m a bit of a sulk over that. Next up on the cutting table are a pair of Sew Over It Carrie trousers from the new online course. How about you, what’s on your sewing table?

Deer and Doe Datura Blouse

I was trying to blog my backlog of makes in order but I’m bumping my Datura blouse up the list because I want your opinions on my next version. But first, let’s talk about this one.

deer-and-doe-datura-blouse

Despite only owning three of their patterns I think Deer and Doe are my favourite pattern company in terms of their style. If I could win a competition where the prize was all the patterns of one company of my choice, Deer and Doe would be it. Top of my current lust list is the Fumeterre skirt (check out Camille and Lynne’s fab versions). Followed closely by the Chardon skirt after Jo’s post last Sunday.

datura-blouse-leaning

Anyway, my Datura blouse. My very first Advanced pattern! Go me. Though of course I did version B, with the collar and not the cut out version so I don’t know that I can actually claim to be advanced. My version of the pattern has been in my stash for nearly a year so it has the old instructions, which were a bit brief and I did struggle at times. Luckily I found this tutorial series, which was super useful.

Deer and Doe datura blouse

The hardest part was sewing the shoulders and I definitely used that photo tutorial for that. Because the top has a lined yoke you sew the shell to the lining at the armholes and neckline on both front and back yokes. Then you put the front inside the back and do some shoulder seam magic. I would try to explain but I don’t think I’ll do a very good job so you’d best look at the tutorial.

I have seen a Seamwork magazine tutorial where they do a very similar thing but slightly differently and for my next version I think I’ll try it that way as it seems much more simple.

Datura blouse collar and close up

The moustache and bowler hat fabric I’ve used was a gift from a sewing friend at work because I gave her some sewing stuff. She saw it and thought of me in a fabric shop because I enjoy wearing a fake moustache from time to time (Manfriend even bought me a pack of “Emergency Moustaches” as a stocking filler one Christmas). It’s quite a crisp cotton, which isn’t the recommended fabric for this pattern but I wanted to use it anyway. The yoke and collar are made with a cotton poplin I had in my stash.

Datura blouse side view

It is a little bit too crispy and I think the top is slightly too big too, which means if I put a cardigan on it can stand away from my body slightly but I still like it. I’m going to try a size down for my next version and it’s going to be in a drapier fabric.

Datura blouse back

 

I still haven’t actually sewn any buttons on as I couldn’t choose what ones to use. I was torn between these two and I have two of the polka dot ones safety pinned on at the moment. I’ll probably go with those ones and use the little pearly ones for my next version.

Button choices

The details

Pattern: Deer and Doe Datura blouse

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 40″

Size made: 42

Alterations: None

Fabric used: A metre of the moustaches and just shy of a meter of the black.

Another version? Yep, another colour blocked version in black and grey viscose but I’m not sure which colour to put where. Which do you like best? I’m leaning towards the one on the right.

Next datura colour options

Any changes next time? I’m going to try the next size down.

Have any of you tried the Datura blouse since Deer and Doe have expanded their instructions? Are they better now?

Monochrome Dixie DIY ballet dress

I’ve got another Dixie DIY Ballet dress to show you today. I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last either so I’m sorry if you’re bored of them. I’ve mixed it up slightly and put a gathered skirt on it so it’s at least a tiny bit different to my last two.

ballet-dress

If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen a sneak peak of this as I finished it way back at the beginning of March but hadn’t got round to taking photos yet. I have three makes built up that needed photographs so on Sunday I bundled them all up, took my camera and tripod to my mum’s house to take advantage of the better light in her garden. I was hoping for a Max cameo but he showed no interest whatsoever. He seems to only care about photobombing when another human is taking the photos. Attention seeking little bugger.

Anyway, back to the dress. The making of this dress was a bit of a catalogue of errors, so I wasn’t that keen on it when I finished it but after looking at these photos I like it a lot more now. Has that ever happened to you? One of the benefits of blogging I suppose.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress with belt

One of the reasons I was on the fence about it is that I had hoped to do a better job of pattern placement when I was cutting it out. I should have cut it out on a single layer because the fabric shifted slightly and my stripes went a bit skew-whiff at the waist seam. Hence the belt.

Dixie DIY ballet dress seam

I’d thought it was really glaringly obvious but it’s not too bad. Still a bit disappointing but not the end of the world. The other thing that bugged me is the big chevron on the bodice not being centred. I just don’t think I was thinking properly when I was cutting out. The large scale of the print made pattern matching with the small amount of fabric I had a challenge so the skirt isn’t matched at all. I’m quite pleased with my sleeves though. I had planned to do long sleeves but I didn’t have enough fabric.

Dixie DIY ballet dress back
No idea what I’m doing with my body here

The skirt is just a gathered rectangle because I thought that seemed the best option with stripy fabric. And I wanted to have a go at gathering with elastic. I used the Colette Moneta dress sewalong to know how. That went a bit iffy too, I think I had the tension wrong. Any tips on gathering with elastic for my next go?

I’m really pleased with my neckband, I thought carefully about what bit of the pattern I wanted on it and I think I chose well. I like the way the little triangles look.

Dixie DIY ballet dress close up of neckline

There’s not a lot more to say, apart from the details. The Dixie DIY Ballet dress is one of my very favourite patterns. It’s my most made and my closest to a TNT (Tried and True, or Tried and Tested) pattern.

The details

Pattern: Dixie DIY Ballet dress

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″

Size made: I started with a small for the shoulder and graded out to a medium but then when I sewed it the waist was too loose so I took it in a bit so it’s probably a small all over now.

Alterations: Nothing but the grading

Fabric used: 2m of 60″ wide viscose jersey. It came from eBay but on checking the old listing to check it was viscose I noticed that the print on it is different to the one in the photo so I won’t link to the seller because that’s not good. I still like it and I didn’t even notice so I can hardly get uppity about it but still.

This is the fabric in the photo:

print

Another version? Undoubtedly.

Any changes next time? I will go with a small all over and maybe shorten the bodice a touch but I think I am nearly spot on with the fit of this now.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress is geometric viscose jersey

And that’s it. I will be back soon with my Me Made May round up post. I haven’t bothered with weekly posts as I’ve only been wearing 3 Me Mades a week so it didn’t seem worth it.

Oh I have another new video up on my YouTube channel where I talk about my Summer sewing plans if you fancy a look. There’s a lot of lovely floral and geometric viscose and cotton.

I will leave you with a photo of Max waiting for bubbles to eat. Hope you’re all having a great day. I’m off work and it’s sunny so I’m about to go lounge in the garden with Pratchett.

Bubble eating dog

Another New Look 6217 Tee

Have you ever had one of those patterns where you love your first version so rush off and make a second one (err.. 8 months later…) only for something to just feel a bit off about it?

Well that’s the story of this New Look 6217 tee I have to show you today.

New Look 6217 tee

I made a few alterations to the fit for this version so I was expecting this to now be my perfect t’shirt but I accidentally made a few things worse.

The neckline on this pattern is really wide, which is something to watch if you make it. I used the smallest size at the neck and shoulders for my last one and it was still bra-showingly wide so I brought it in a smidge (about 1/4″) for this version.

I also moved the shoulder seam forward, which is something I’ve started doing recently as I have terrible posture. My head sits quite far forward so if I did a normal forward shoulder adjustment, where you leave the neck part of the seam where it is and pivot the shoulder seam forward, the seam still wouldn’t line up with my ear like it’s supposed to. I don’t know if that makes any sense. But anyway, I moved the whole shoulder seam forward by 1/2″.

And now the t’shirt garottes me. I even put it on the other way round while I was taking these photos to check I hadn’t put it on backwards.

New Look 6217 tee
Backwards – annoyingly I much prefer the print placement on this side

The shoulder seam seems to be sitting in the right place so I don’t know if it’s just the neckline. I think I will just lower the neckline slightly on my next version rather than move the shoulder back again. See how that works first of all.

I omitted the back seam entirely on this version, which makes it really difficult to tell which is the back. The back is slightly longer, which is the easiest way to tell if I’m putting it on the right way round. (I was checking which way I’d pressed the seams at first…)

New Look 6217 back

I lengthened this version by 2 inches and I bias bound the hem again. I much prefer this length for having it untucked. I took some photos of it tucked in too even though I’m not sure how often I’ll wear it that way. I haven’t really got any skirts or trousers it’d work with (this pencil skirt is far too tight and I never wear it anymore).

New Look 6217 tucked in
It was too windy so I came inside

The sleeves on my first version were too tight because of me shortening it above the bust so I added an inch onto bottom of the armhole for this version. And they are still too tight. Which had me baffled until I remembered that I’d chopped about an inch, maybe more off the end of the sleeve because the sleeve sort of tapered (I think because of my grading between sizes badly) so it made the hole bigger. So I’ll need to fiddle with them before my next version too.

new-look-k6217

I think that’s everything I have to say about it. Even though it’s flawed I’ll still wear it. I wore it to work on Monday and felt comfortable in it all day. Just realised Monday was only yesterday, I’m having trouble with the old brain-thinking today.

New look 6217 side view

The details

Pattern: New Look 6217

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″

Size made: 10 at the neckline and shoulders, grading out to a 14 for the rest.

Alterations: Shortened by an inch above the bust and brought the neckhole in by about 1/4 inch. I also moved the whole shoulder seam forward by about 1/2″ and lengthened the hem by 2″

Fabric used: 1m of 150cm wide viscose from Abakhan

Another version? Yep, even though this version isn’t quite right I’m sure I’ll still wear it lots and I really do love this pattern.

Any changes next time? I’m thinking about making a floatier version with a high low hem to copy a top I saw someone wearing a while ago but I’ll make some more fitting changes too. Just the things I mentioned in the post, lowering the front neckline, maybe widen the neck again and fiddle with the sleeves.

So that’s my slightly disappointing second New Look 6217, hopefully third time lucky will hold true for my next go. Though I have quite a few other things in the queue to make first. I’ve got two knit dresses cut out and the fabric for a Deer and Doe Datura blouse washed and waiting. What’s on your sewing table?

True Bias Southport Dress

It feels more than a little bit wrong to be posting about a summer dress in the middle of winter but if I don’t show you the True Bias Southport dress I made for my holiday now then I will forget everything about it. So here I am in Fuertaventura last month, not being rained on… *wistful sigh*

True Bias Southport dress

I originally bought this fabric (javanaise viscose from Abakhan) with the plan to make a By Hand London Anna dress with a gathered skirt. Then the Southport dress was released and this fabric seemed perfect for it. I only had two metres of the fabric so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get the dress out of it but I managed fairly well. I just had to forgo any sort of thoughtful pattern placement and the drawstring is slightly shorter than its supposed to be for my size but it’s still plenty long enough. And I only ended up with one boob flower.

southport-dress-dancing
Dance party para uno

This ended up being a bit more of a last minute make than I had intended thanks to a rather stonking hangover on the Sunday I’d earmarked for sewing. So it was sewn in evening snippets throughout the week before I went away.

I was good girl and made a bodice toile and as I result I moved the shoulder seam forward by 2cm (chopped 2cm off the front shoulder and added 2cm onto the back) and raised the neckline by about 1.5cm. I possibly didn’t need to raise the neckline but I’m funny about low necklines. I think I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s lots of fabric pooling above the waistline at the back.

true-bias-southport-dress-side-view

It would probably benefit from taking some length out of the bodice all round to be honest. It seems to be hitting below my natural waist in these photos and making me look a bit rectangular. I was also expecting the skirt to be floofier than it is. And yep, floofier is totally a word. I certainly can’t think of a better one anyway. Ooh ooh, got one, more voluminous.

southport-dress-floaty

I shortened the skirt by about 3 inches at the lengthen/shorten line but it’s still a smidge long for flats. I also left off the pockets because I seem to be a bit of a rarity in that I don’t particularly like pockets on dresses. I never use them and I think they often make things sit funny so I’ve left them off every pattern I’ve made that includes them. I wimped out a bit with the slit and didn’t sew it as big as it’s supposed to be, which I regret now. Though if I make another I’ll probably leave the slit off entirely so that I don’t have to shave my legs to wear it, which as we all know, is the beauty of a maxi dress.

southport-dress-back-view

I used French seams on all seams except the slit, which I folded under and edge stitched all the way up, so I have stitching either side of the centre seam. I did make my own bias tape and then realised that I’d accidentally used the wrong fabric and the one I’d used was the one that leaked blue dye all over my Megan dress so I didn’t want to risk it and used some pre-made stuff I had. I messed up stitching that down loads of times and kept having to unpick and redo so there are some slightly shoddy looking bits.

true-bias-southport-dress-walking

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress view B

Measurements: Bust 36″-37″ ish – Waist 29″ – Hips/butt – 39″ Height 5’2″

Size made: US 6

Alterations: I moved the shoulder seam forward by 2cm and raised the front neckline by about 1.5cm. I shortened the skirt by 3 inches.

Fabric used: 2m of 148cm wide javanaise viscose from Abakhan

Another version? I’m really not sure. I don’t know how much I like it. I think I’ll need to wear it properly when it gets warmer before I decide.

Any changes next time? Fit wise, I’d make a swayback adjustment and shorten the bodice a smidge. Style wise, I might slash and spread the skirt to get more swoosh and I’ll probably cut both the bodice and skirt on the fold. I might replace the drawstring with elastic too.

Non-clueless versions

So that’s my first make of 2016, that I won’t be able to wear for another 4-6 months… It has put me in the mindset for planning and sewing spring/summer clothes though. How early is too early?

Colette Seamwork Paxson Sweater and Superhero PJs

Happy Sunday, peeps. I’ve got the promised Christmas dude sewing photos for you today and a bit more of a write up of the Paxson sweater and Marvel PJ bottoms I made for the manfriend.

Paxson Sweater

The Paxson sweater is actually the pattern that made me subscribe to Seamwork. If you haven’t already heard of it, Seamwork is an online pattern magazine. It’s chock full of interesting articles and it’s basically what I wish print sewing magazines were. I particularly like the Block, Paper, Scissors series that teaches you how to alter a basic block or one of the patterns that comes with the magazine to get something different. I haven’t actually used any of them but I still like it as a concept.

Colette Paxson sweater
Beard: Model’s own

But anyway, this isn’t about me, this is about the Manfriend and his Paxson sweater. The Manfriend seems to go through phases with his wardrobe (thankfully, the floral shirt phase had passed by the time we got together) and at the moment it is comprised mainly of raglan sleeved tops and marl. So when I saw the Paxson sweater I instantly decided to make him one.

Paxson sweater back view
Back view

It took me ages to find the fabric I wanted. I wanted a grey marl for the body (obviously) and I was leaning towards a burgundy or maroon for the sleeves. I say or as if I can differentiate between burgundy and maroon, they’re basically the same colour in my mind. Fabric godmother had a quilted maroon coloured ponte that I was planning to use but I was waiting until payday to buy some and it sold out before I got paid.

So in the end I went with teal. I actually bought teal and purple and enough grey to make two just in case the first one fit him so badly I had to make a second. I’d love to say I’m still going to make him a second but it’s far more likely that I’ll use the fabric for myself. Not even ashamed *terrible ladyfriend face*

Seamwork magazine paxson sweater

Paxson is great as the waistband and cuffs mean that you can sew it entirely on an overlocker (apart from topstitching the neckline, which I don’t tend to bother with) so it’s a really quick sew. Colette say it should take an hour but I am a slow sewer so it took me 2.5 hours, with just cutting out taking half an hour. I still think that’s a nice, quick sew though and I’m sure if I made more I’d get quicker.

I made him a size Large and it fits him quite well I think. He is a gympanzee and most of his tops tend to fit snuggly on the chest, shoulders and arms with a looser fit on the body so this is actually looser than most things he wears. There are a lot of wrinkles on the arms but I am not a wrinkle whisper and have no idea what adjustments they’re trying to tell me that I need to make.

Paxson sweater

The details

Pattern: Paxson Sweater from Colette Patterns Seamwork magazine

Measurements: Chest 42″ – Waist 34″ – Hips/Butt 39.5″ – Height 5’10” ish

Size made: L

Alterations: None

Fabric used: 90cm grey and 75cm teal 148cm wide ponte de roma from Oh Sew Crafty on eBay

Another version? If I feel kind

Any changes next time? I will quiz him on what changes he wants made before making another one. The body might want to come in a bit and I wonder if taking a bit of length and/or width out of the sleeves would help get rid of some of those wrinkles.

Manfriend says: If I could improve on it it would have dragons and skulls and a beard. It’s totally in my wheelhouse.

Superhero PJs

And for the PJs I used a free Simplicity pattern that I can’t find on their website since they changed it. It was in the learning to sew section but I would definitely not recommend it as a first project. Mainly because the PDF was such a nightmare to put together. The worst one I’ve ever done.

It was a simple sew in the end though. There are only two pattern pieces, each leg is just one (huge) pattern piece and then there’s one for the drawstring and you cut out two of each piece.

manfriend-pjs
Superhero pose

I sewed a size Medium and took about 3 inches out of the length at the lengthen/shorten line using a pair of his RTW PJs as a guide. He is quite long in the body and shorter in the leg. If I was to make a second pair I think I’d try taking some length out above the crotch because the PJs sit low on his hips and mean that the crotch hangs a bit low.

The fabric came from Etsy and actually says on the selvedge that it’s not suitable for children’s sleepwear, which I found a bit odd (flammable?). But he’s not a children and they’re loungewear for him rather than sleepwear anyway so I don’t think it matters.

superhero-pjs
Double superhero pose

The details

Pattern: A free Simplicity one that may have vanished

Measurements: Chest 42″ – Waist 34″ – Hips/Butt 39.5″ – Height 5’10” ish

Size made: Medium

Alterations: Shortened by 3″

Fabric used: 3 yards of Marvel superhero flannel

Another version? Maybe

Any changes next time? Experiment with shortening the crotch

Manfriend says: I don’t know, I just like them, stop asking me for quotes.

So that’s my quota of unselfish sewing fulfilled until next Christmas. I should make more of an effort and make Manfriend nice things throughout the year. Does anyone have any recommendations for nice manchap sewing patterns? Or should I just forget about it and concentrate on pretty dresses?

Christmas Crafting

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas or any other festivity you celebrate. Mine has been wonderful. Christmas day was spent at home with my Manfriend and then my mum and nan came over for Christmas dinner. Boxing day was spent with Manfriend’s family, which was good fun – it included getting cream pied in the the face playing a silly game. And yesterday I barely moved from the sofa all day, which was utter bliss. I’m off work until the 4th January and very much looking forward to some complete laziness, catching up on TV we’ve recorded, reading some books and doing a bit of sewing.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little recap on how I did with the homemade Christmas presents that I talked about a couple of posts ago.

Crispmas Advent Calendar

This didn’t happen. I cut the fabric out but ran out of time so I individually wrapped the bags again and put them in the box from last year.

crispmas advent calendar
It’s rather more battered this year

Blogger Secret Santa present

This is one of the two extra handmade presents I mentioned adding to my list in my last post. I made a Stowe bag out of a swallow print chambray that I bought on eBay. I forgot to take a photo though. Doy! I changed up the order of construction slightly so that I could use French seams – I stitched the bottom as the last step instead of at the same time as the sides. I still don’t understand the last step fully so I just didn’t do it. I don’t think that’s very clear at all. When I was googling to try to find an explanation I came across a GOMI thread slating the bag and it did make me feel a bit stupid for buying it, when as they said in the thread there are about a bajillion free tutorials online to make a bag like it. It wasn’t something I’d thought to look for though, I just saw the pattern and thought it’d be handy for a knitting bag. You live and you learn I guess.

Mum’s Grainline Scout

I’m going to try to get a modelled photo of this but here are some rubbish quality ones for now. The fabric is a fairly crispy cotton I bought from Calico Laine last year with little metallic gold outlined Christmas trees on. I used French seams throughout and I’m quite pleased with how neat the neckline binding is. I did an appallingly bad job with the sleeves, really really bad. I just don’t get the whole ease things in thing. Only gathered sleeves from now on.

grainline scout tee
Apologies for the pants photos, I will try to get a modelled one

Dinosaur Tail

I think I’ll let the picture do the talking with this one. Adorable.

Dinosaur tail
The tiny Louiesaurus Rex stalks his prey

Dinosaur T’shirt

I used the Oliver + S Field Trip raglan t-shirt pattern and this was a lovely quick sew. It was also a nice PDF to put together. It has a grid, which I really like and it’s quite cleverly laid out to use a minimal amount of paper. That and it being for tiny people so makes it the best PDF pattern I’ve ever had to assemble.

I used some white viscose jersey for the body and leftover dinosaur fabric for the arms and neckband, I cut out a pocket too but decided to leave it off in the end. The viscose is slightly too lightweight really but I couldn’t seem to find any cotton jersey with the right stretch. The only one I did find was expensive and only available to buy by the metre and as I needed less than half a metre it seemed like a waste of money.

My pseudo-nephew isn’t 3 until April and I have no idea if he’s big or little for his age so I cut a size 3T size the plan being that he can grow into it if it’s too big.

dinosaur-raglan-tee

Lua Sleep Sack

This is the second handmade item that got added to the list of Christmas crafting. It was seeing Marie of A Stitching Odyssey’s recent lovely version that inspired me to make one for my pseudo-niece (my cousin’s new little girl). I had intended to do a contrast yoke but ordered badly and instead of matching the pinky purply dots in the print, the cotton I’d chosen (with crossed fingers and wishes) was more sludgy coloured so I didn’t bother.

It was a nice quick sew but I did accidentally put the zip in the wrong side and I struggled one of the steps. You leave a bit of a gap along the top edge of where you sew the zip in to make it a bit easier and then the instructions tell you to close it once you’ve put in the zip and sewn the lining to the zip, which I couldn’t make sense of and my sleep sack didn’t seem to match the photo of that step. From the photo it looks like I should have done it before sewing the lining to the zip so if I make another version I’ll do that.

Lua Sleep Sack close up

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Manfriend’s pyjamas

I don’t have any photos of these or the next one because I’m going to ask him to model both of his presents and then I’ll do a full post about them. I took last Monday off work and spent the day sewing his presents and getting my wrapping done, of course I still ended up finishing the wrapping on Christmas Eve but I tried. I am my mother’s daughter as she always used to wrap on Christmas Eve (whilst getting progressively drunker and sillier with the tags – getting a present from Fred Savage made me very happy) until the year we had a power cut and she had to wrap by candlelight.

I used Marvel superhero flannel that I bought from Etsy and a freebie Simplicity PJ pattern that I can’t seem to find to link to, sorry. He really likes them which is a relief as I was worried they were a bit silly as the rest of his PJs are fancy branded ones.

marvel flannel

Manfriend’s Paxson Sweater

The Manfriend loves contrast coloured raglan sleeves and marl so I made his Seamwork Paxson in grey marl for the body and teal for the arms and neckband. I’d wanted to do the sleeves in the same burgundy/maroon knit that Josie the Fabric Godmother used for her version but it had gone out of stock by the time I’d been paid. I’m going to do a full post when I have pictures of him modelling it so for now here is a photo of the overlocker offcuts or #sergerspew as I’ve seen it called on Instagram, which tickles me.IMG_20151221_142611

My Christmas Party outfit

I decided not to make a new outfit this year because if you own a dress covered in hunky, half naked Christmas helpers why the heck wouldn’t you wear it at every chance you get? Plus, last year’s Christmas party was only a small one so not that many people had seen it. I’ve lost a little bit of weight so it doesn’t fit that brilliantly anymore. I did take it in slightly at the upper chest but I think I’ll need to alter it properly if I stay slimmer (I’m a yoyo, so it’s best to be realistic). Alterations seem harder and more scary than just sewing from scratch for some reason though.

Christmas simplicity 1418
Spaaaaarkly shoes

Christmas cakes

I was quite proud of myself as I managed to decorate two cakes in one evening (we’ll ignore the fact that you’re supposed to let the marzipan dry for at least 24 hours, I was cutting it fine and had our food shop to do the night after. They’re both a bit shonky and I don’t have good photos – bit of a theme in this post I’m afraid.

Santa stuck in a chimney is my Nan’s and the ski slope is my mum’s because she prefers royal icing.

christmas-cakes

Hampers

This is the only thing I didn’t manage to get done. It was a conscious decision really as I was starting to get stressed out and panicky and something had to go. I’m still quite impressed with myself for the amount I did get done without having a breakdown – this time last year it was a rare day that didn’t see me crying for no real reason. I’m hoping to still get the mango chutney and chorizo jam made and given as belated gifts.

Well that’s it from me for now, I will be back soon with my Top 5 of 2015 posts and photos of Manfriend’s presents taken with the snazzy new DSLR camera I got for Christmas – that I have NO idea how to use yet and am too scared to take outside.

For now, here’s a photo of my nan’s dog Poppy looking seriously tired of our shit on Christmas day.

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I should Coco

I first mentioned that I was planning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress waaaay back in August last year but have only just got round to it for some reason.

Coco dress
It goes beautifully with my cow print wellies, as you can see.

I say only just but I finished it at the end of October and took these photos at the beginning of November but haven’t got round to blogging. I just don’t seem to have had the oomph, I filmed an October favourites video that I haven’t finished editing yet either. And I have 326 unread blog posts waiting for me in Feedly. It’s my busiest period at work at the moment so I’m a bit drained by the time I get home.

But anyway, I went for a walk in the local Country Park with my mum and Max at the beginning of November and made a point of wearing the dress to get some photos but it’d been raining a lot so wellies were the only appropriate footwear, leading to the super stylish look I’ve got going on here. (I actually quite like it)

This version is a wearable toile/muslin really because I’m not too keen on the fabric – which you can see a bit closer in this video. It’s okay from a distance but when you get close you can see bits of white through it and it looks terrible stretched. Luckily the dress turned out quite loose fit so that’s not a problem. I was expecting the dress to be a bit tighter – I sewed a size 4 despite being closer to a 5 on the size chart because that’s what I’d traced months ago when I was a bit thinner. Because I’m lazy I decided and didn’t want to trace the 5 I just went with it and used a lightly smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) on the side seams.

tilly-coco-dress
Leaning on an invisible bar

I measured the sleeves before cutting and I thought they were a bit long for where I like 3/4 length sleeves to sit so I took about 3.5″ off the length but I think they’re a tad too short now so I’ll add an inch or 2 back on for my next version. I also ended up sewing a bigger seam allowance (2 cm) on the sleeves because I like a tighter fit. It’s still not quite right for me so I’ll have to fiddle a bit with my next version.

coco-dress-side
I tried to get Max to stare off into the distance too but he was having none of it.

There are quite a few alterations I want to make to the pattern before my next version, as you can probably tell from the photo above I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s a big ol’ pool of fabric at my lower back. The neckline is too wide too, if I pinch about an inch out of the front it feels much better. Looking at these photos the shoulders sit off my shoulders a bit but fixing the neckline should solve that. I am going to see what a forward shoulder adjustment does though as I think need to start making them on everything.

dancing-in-coco
He’s unimpressed with my dance moves

Overall I’m really happy with my Coco, even though I need to make a fair few fitting adjustments. It hasn’t stopped me wearing it at all. Ooh, I was really pleased with my stripe matching too. Excuse the terrible quality photo I just rushed to take a photo and it’s too dark for decent photos.

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You can see the white bits I was talking about in this one

In terms of construction, I sewed it all on my sewing machine rather than my overlocker as I knew I wanted to experiment with seam allowances. My machine handled it wonderfully, I really do love my walking foot!

Non-Clueless Versions

There are so many lovely versions of the Coco dress all over the internet but I particularly like:

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 41.5″ (Height 5’2″)

Size made: 4

Alterations: Sewed the side seams with a 10mm seam allowance instead of 15mm and a 20mm seam allowance on the sleeves tapering in at the armpit

Fabric used: Around a meter of a thick not very stretchy jersey I got from Minerva crafts over a year ago. (I cut it out all on one layer, which helps use less fabric)

Another version? Definitely. I have the fabric for at least two more.

Any changes next time? Yes. I’m going to narrow the neckline, fiddle with the shoulders, sew the proper seam allowance on the side seams, lengthen the sleeves slightly and take them in a bit more and do a stonking big swayback adjustment.

coco-dress-back

Lots of the Coco dresses I like seem to have contrast panels so I’m toying with trying something like that with one of my next versions. I have some royal blue ponte that I think would look great with a lace yoke like Katie’s but lace terrifies me a bit.

Sewing for myself is very much on the backburner at the moment anyway though what with my Christmas sewing list, last minute house decorating (spare room underway, kitchen hopeful but doubtful) and general lack of oomph. I’ve finished one item from my Christmas sewing plans but have added two more. Not sure that’s how you’re supposed to do it…