Tops

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, Manfriend’s lovely mum recently gave me her overlocker. It sat in my sewing room glaring at me intimidatingly for quite a few weeks before I worked up the nerve to even attempt to thread it.

Toyota overlocker
Menacing

But it turns out if you just read the instructions and follow the coloured dots it’s really not that difficult. I did it in the wrong order the first time but the second time went fine. Chuff knows if I have the tension right but the stitching looks fairly balanced to me.

I decided that the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – which is a free pattern by the way – would be a good one for my first knit project as it doesn’t have sleeves to worry about.

Kirsten Kimono tee

I went on a bit of a knit fabric sending spree on Minerva and used this diagonal striped jersey. It’s very slinky and I think it would make a lovely drapey dress. Normally I trace my patterns but I seem to have started just cutting out pdf patterns. I suppose because I can just print them out again if the fit is wrong, though it would mean taping the pesky things together again and I’m not sure what’s worse, taping or tracing.

I use a rotary cutter for cutting out my fabric so cutting out was no more difficult than cutting out woven fabric and this wasn’t a particularly curly fabric so I think I had a fairly easy go at it for my first knit garment. I cut a straight size medium but I sort of wish I’d graded out at the hips.

Kirsten kimono tee back

For some reason I expected it to fit more like the Deer and Doe Plantain. No idea why as none of the photos I’ve seen of other people’s versions do. But for my for my next version I will grade out a couple of sizes at the hips for more of a floaty look. Or maybe slash and spread somehow to avoid reprinting and taping the pattern.

I didn’t bother stabilising the shoulder seams (can’t remember why) and it all went together really quickly. I struggled with sewing the neckband and it’s a bit of a puckered mess but it doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

Kirsten kimono tee neckline
Pucker up!

I got this far and the t’shirt sat, unhemmed and unworn, waiting for me to figure out my sewing machine walking foot and twin needle. Which my sewing machine was having NONE of. I broke two twin needles and when I tried using a zig zag stitch that wouldn’t work either. But I recently upgraded my sewing machine and it handled the twin needle easy as pie. In fact, since having my new machine I’ve started to wonder if my original one was just a bit broken all along.

Anyway that’s all I really have to say. I wore it last night to go see Avenue Q in Swansea with Manfriend and a friend from work and her husband. Avenue Q is brilliant by the way and if this touring version of it is going anywhere near your town you should definitely go and see it as it’s hilarious. Puppets with no bottom half having sex is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Better Off Ted.

Here’s one last creepy picture Manfriend took of us after taking these photos. He had his phone on beauty mode so we look bizarre and blurry faced.

Creeeeepy
Creeeeepy

Two Weddings and a Mad Rush

Way back in December two of my favourite people got married. Unfortunately*, it wasn’t to each other so I had two weddings to attend. 132 miles apart…

I went to the ceremony and reception of a good friend from work’s wedding in Ceredigion in the morning and then travelled to the evening reception of another friend in Bristol.

So the mad rush in the title refers to the day of the weddings but also to the making of my outfit. I set myself lots of unreasonable targets this past festive season and I should have just bought an outfit but I bought this fabric a while ago with the intention of making a self drafted pencil skirt and a slinky Grainline Scout tee so a pencil skirt and a scout I was making. I can be stubborn. I finished sewing at half 11 on the Friday before the weddings. I was cursing myself but I was pleased with the finished outfit.

shortwood-skirt1
Oh also, new hair. I suddenly hated the blonde and needed to change it.

I’ll talk about the skirt first. I used the skirt block I made during my craftsy course and rewatched the lesson on turning it into an empire line skirt. Then made a toile and I was happy with the fit and only widened the back darts very slightly. After sewing up the actual skirt though I think I might need to do a bit of a swayback adjustment.

shortwood-back
Terrible, terrible seam matching and I actually tried, sob.

I cut the bottom off the back pattern piece to draft the pleat panel. I just cut it into strips and added extra paper between each one, folded them closed then added seam allowance and cut the excess paper off while the pleats were still folded to allow the right seam allowances for them.

I had to take the side seams in a little pretty much all the way down from my high hip as this is a stretch woven fabric and the extra ease built in to the block just looked silly.

shortwood-skirt2

I’ve decided to give any patterns I draft myself names rather than just describing them every time I use them – empire line pencil skirt with pleated back doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. So I’m calling this the Shortwood skirt as the reception I went to in Bristol was held in Shortwood Lodge golf club. And Shortwood is more pronounceable than Sgubor Teile, which is where the first one was.

shortwood-shapes
Throwing some shapes.

IMG_4655The Scout was made with this silky satin from Abakhan. I’d ordered samples of the green and the red beforehand as I was thinking about making a slinky Anna dress for my work Christmas party but changed my mind in favour of the Christmas Hunks fabric. I think I must have been sent the wrong swatches as this fabric is completely different to the swatches. Here is a picture of the swatch, which is a lot slinkier and doesn’t have a shiny side. I didn’t open the parcel for ages due to moving so it would have been too late to send it back.

I used the wrong side of the fabric as it had a less shiny finish and was still able to get the look I’d been aiming for. I cut a size 10 and it had just the right sort of fit for tucking in to the skirt and I do like it with jeans too. But I think I’ll possibly try a size 8 for my next version or maybe grade between sizes, keeping the shoulders and arms the same and then bring it in slightly from the bust down. I dunno.

scout2

I don’t know what’s causing those lines from my bust down to my hips. Something being too tight or too loose maybe? I am terrible at diagnosing fitting issues.

scout1

I tried using my rolled hem foot for the hem and it went terribly. Seriously look at my awful, awful stitching:

Scout rolled hem
You can also see how shiny the right side of the fabric is.

I originally tried taking pictures in the garden but the light just wasn’t playing ball so I moved into my kitchen dancing area (after moving all the tins of paint and tools lying around) but I thought I’d leave you with a couple of the silly ones I took outside purely because I like them.

IMG_4713
Manfriend and his nephew had just finished turning my garage into a gym, hence the pose – expect more of this.

 

IMG_4703
Fuzzy faced Manfriend makes his first appearance.

*Unfortunate for me, not them. They’re very happy with the people they married.

It’s all me Mimi

Well firstly, hello to everyone who found me through Tilly’s blog! I actually have another Tilly make for you today, I hope you like it. Meet Mimi.

mimi-blouse

I actually started making this (I really want to call it her) months ago and it seems to have taken me ages to actually get around to finishing it. The pieces sat cut out for weeks, then I had a little flurry of activity, nearly finished it and then kept putting off the handstitching and buttons – I hate sewing buttons on. Always have and even now I think I would rather sit and slipstitch a hem on a circle skirt than sew a couple of buttons on. Leigh logic.

mimi-buttons
And here are the buttons. I’m guessing from the shimmer that they’re shell or mother of pearl. The packet didn’t say and I know nothing of these things.

Mimi is the most complicated pattern I’ve sewn and I’m quite pleased with the new skills I’ve learnt and I wouldn’t say I found it too challenging a make, even though I did have several accidents. I interfaced the wrong bit of collar but looked up the sewalongs of other things with collars to see if it mattered that much and decided to still use the bit I wanted to as the top – it had the prettier flowers on and looked better. I also sewed the left bodice front to the right side of the yoke and vice versa and then had to unpick and redo them, which wasn’t fun considering I was using French seams. Oh and button holes were a blinkin’ nightmare. The buttonhole on my machine seems to be really picky and needs me to reset the buttonhole stitch if I touch anything. Just turning the handcrank slightly to make sure the thread uptake lever thingy (I know all the words) was up made it sew one side of the buttonhole and then just stop and sew the bartack over and over again. So now I reset then sew, no matter how many times I’ve already reset it because buttonholes are seriously not fun to unpick. I know this, I had to do it three times.

mimi-poser
I attempted the fashion blogger sideways gaze thing. It didn’t go well.
mimi-laughing
And then I burst out laughing.

I sewed Mimi in a straight size 3 because I made my Megan in a 4 and I had a gapey back so I thought that a 3 would fit better around the shoulders and neck and I hoped that the loose design would mean it still fit okay everywhere else, just a little closer than intended. This almost worked out but I was foiled by my arms. The sleeves are a little tight around the armscye and at the sleeve hem. Side note, am I the only one who changes armscye to arm scythe in their heads when they read or write it? I have absolutely  no idea how you actually say it – arm sigh? Arm sky? Arm shy?

But anyway, back on topic. When I move house, Manfriend’s Power Rack is going to live in my garage and I will start working out and running more than I have been over the last few months and will hopefully slim down a little bit and the sleeves will fit better. Or I the bicep gainz will make it fit even worse, we’ll see. For future makes I might see if I can trace a size bigger at the armhole anyway. I did wonder if sewing it again with a slightly bigger seam allowance would help make this version fit better. Any suggestions?

The fabric is cotton lawn from Abakhan and I really love it. I have a tea dress from Dorothy Perkins in a very similar print that I’ve always loved so I fell for this fabric straight away and bought 3 metres. I used about 1.5m for Mimi so I’ve been having a think about what to make with the rest. I think I’d probably be able to get New Look 6069 (view C) out what I have left but I have also been toying with making a circle skirt, maybe a button up version to have a sort of mix and match set with the Mimi blouse. Skirt, blouse and a sort of shirt dress looking thing when worn together.

mimi-french
French seams

I used french seams throughout the blouse, even on the armscye because I hate finishing seams with a zig zag stitch and Jen from Grainline says you can use French seams for armholes so I took her word for it and I love the neat finish it gives to the insides.

Mimi isn’t something I would normally buy to wear but I really loved the look of it and it was one of the things that made me buy Love at First Stitch. When I first wore it I wasn’t sure how me it was as the neck felt really low, which is something I tend to avoid but looking at these photos it’s not low at all so I don’t know what planet I was on that particularly day. I really love the way it looks in these photos. I adore the fabric and I really like that I can wear the blouse loose with skinny jeans or trousers or tucked into a skirt so I’m definitely considering this a win.

mimi-outside
It was far too windy outside for photos, hence us coming inside for the jeans versions.