Happy Wednesday folks. Hope you’re all having a nice week. I have one of those rare beasts for you today: a finished garment post! Not a proper one though as I still can’t find the mojo to take photos of myself these days. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with Me Made May! I realised I didn’t share any photos of the things I made for Christmas presents last year, which is daft as I made a point of taking a few snaps before wrapping things.
I made myself a promise after getting myself stressed and miserable the previous year that I wouldn’t make any Christmas presents in December. I didn’t really stick to my promise but I did get everything finished by mid December, which is progress.
Helen’s Closet Suki Kimono
I don’t really wear a dressing gown apart from a ratty old towelling one that I put on when I get out of the shower but the Helen’s Closet fan girl in me still wanted to make a Suki kimono. So my nan got one for Christmas.
It’s another fab pattern, with great instructions and lovely touches. I particularly like the hanging loop and the fact that the ties are sewn on so you can’t lose them. There are two sets of instructions for certain parts – the neckband and the cuffs – depending on whether or not you want your seams enclosed. I chose to enclose them and I used French seams for a nice finish.
A couple of years ago I made my cousin’s little boy a dinosaur tail for Christmas. So when I found out that their little girl likes dinosaurs too (I don’t think big brother gives her much choice) I thought it’d be nice to make her a little tail too. I was sent a lovely photo of the two of them in their tails and apparently she’s been accepted into Clan dinosaur. ETA: There’s a good tutorial on how to make a tail here: http://www.running-w-scissors.com/2011/03/dinosaur-tails.html.
And this hoody is for my cousin’s little boy to go with the dinosaur tail I made him previously. I cut it out the Christmas before last but ran out of time to sew it so I don’t know if it actually fits. I think my mum said she’s seen a photo of him in it but I haven’t. Hopefully he can least hang it from his head as a cape.
Sew Over It Alex shirt dress
Not the best photo and the dress doesn’t actually look that good on her here. I’m sure it looks nicer in real life but she looks a bit swamped in fabric around the shoulders and arms here. I’ll get more photos eventually and I might need to offer to take it in a bit. It is supposed to have a dropped shoulder but they look like they’re hanging a good 2-3″ off Mum’s shoulder.
Every year I make my mum and nan a Christmas cake each and I curse myself so much for making a rod for my own back every time. My royal icing skills aren’t the best and these looked way better in my head but I’m still pretty pleased with them.
And that’s the lot. I tried not to go too nuts with the plans this time. I think I’m going to try to phase out the handmade gifts from now on though. It’s a lot of unnecessary pressure to put on myself at one of the most stressful time of the year. Maybe I need a “only make things I can’t buy” rule. How about you, do you make handmade gifts? Do you plan 23 different gifts and then only end up making 8?
What’s that? A finished garment post? Don’t all keel over in shock. I seem to be starting a tradition of making the manfriend a Paxson jumper/sweater/pullover/whatever it wants to be called for Christmas. Even though he would far rather I didn’t make him anything and just enjoy December rather than shutting myself in the sewing room making presents.
While I’m on that subject I should put my pledge to myself down on (digital) paper:
This year I am NOT making any Christmas presents in December. I can make Christmas presents by all means but they must be finished by December.
Last year I had the week before Christmas off work and I spent it stressed and miserable because of my stupid habit of taking on far too much. Instead of pottering about and watching Christmas films I was sewing and cake decorating and stressing. And I still haven’t actually finished all the Christmas presents yet… oops.
Anyway, this year’s Paxson. There’s not a lot to say really as it’s a simple make and something I’ve made before so this will be a fairly photo heavy post.
I made the same size as last time even though he’s a bit bigger this year because the last one still fits. Paxson is a super quick sew because you can do it all on the overlocker. I do love the neat finish of a cuff or hem band. Though as of tomorrow I will be the proud owner of a coverstitch machine, eeek! So I should be able to sew lovely neat knit hems. Ha, we’ll see…
I shortened the sleeves a little bit but a cutting mishap made them a little shorter than I intended. He tends to wear it pulled up slightly like this. I have offered to fix it (redo the cuffs a bit longer) but he’s said he likes it fine as it is.
The fabric is the snaggiest fabric in the world. It kept catching on the edges of my nails and I was really worried I was going to leave pulls in it. Which isn’t the best considering the Manfriend is a gympanzee and has callouses on his hands from weight lifting. So it snags on them too, which is a bit of a bugger.
Alterations: I shortened the sleeve slightly(a little too much)
Fabric used: About 1.5m Warm jersey from White Tree Fabrics
I think it’s time to try other patterns if I do more unselfish sewing.
I am going to try to make myself something with the left fabric though. Which we’ll never wear at the same time don’t worry.
He claims to like it and has worn it in public so we’ll count it as a win, it’s just a shame about the catchy fabric.
Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, with lots of sewing and/or relaxing. I still haven’t actually done any sewing so far this year. This week I cut out a Sew Over It Nancy dress and the mustard Deer and Doe Plantain I mentioned in my Make Nine post. Taking my total of cut out projects to seven. So I really should actually sew some of them soon. I’ve got tomorrow off work to bake cakes to sell at work to raise money for an old school friend’s crowdfunding appeal but if I finish quickly I might do some sewing.
Anyway, have a good week folks. I’ll leave you with the manfriend’s (moderately terrifying) “broken doll” pose to haunt your dreams.
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.
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.
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.
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*
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.
Pattern: Paxson Sweater from Colette Patterns Seamwork magazine
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.
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.
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.
Pattern: A free Simplicity one that may have vanished
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?
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.
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.
I think I’ll let the picture do the talking with this one. Adorable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*whispers* Is it okay to start talking about Christmas now? The Christmas adverts have started so I’m guessing it’s okay. Side note: Everyone else bawled at the John Lewis advert right? It’s in association with Age UK and it’s the first time one of their adverts has made me cry, because it’s about a very real and incredibly sad issue. I don’t live near a John Lewis and probably wouldn’t shop there if I did because I’m cheap but I did donate to Age UK and I’d like to try to do something more practical but I don’t know what. Anyway, you’re not here for me to whitter on about charity, you’re here for the sewing shenanigans.
As is my usual way I have decided to make far too many things for gifts and should really get cracking on it – November will fly by, I’m sure. So I thought I’d share a few of my Christmas sewing plans. Mainly in the hopes that writing them down and having them public will make me actually do it.
The Manfriend loves crisps and likes to call Christmas crispmas so last year I made him a Crispmas Advent Calendar. I just bought 24 packets of crisps, individually wrapped them, wrote numbers 1-24 on them (24 was a sharing bag – he reeeally loves crisps) and put them in a box that I wrapped and decorated. But this year I fancy jazzing it up a bit, so I’m planning to make a garland style one with little pouches.
I’m going to actually make my mum the festive Scout that I was planning to make her last Christmas but didn’t get round to. I’m going to give it to her pre-Christmas though so she actually gets a chance to wear it. Her office is really hot and if she wears a Christmas jumper to work she cooks so I thought a t’shirt would be much better for her.
I mentioned my dinosaur loving pseudo nephew at the end of my last post and my plan to make him a t’shirt out of my leftover dinosaur fabric. I’ve just bought the Oliver + S Field Trip raglan t’shirt sewing pattern for it and I’ll probably use the dinosaur fabric for the sleeves.
I also want to make him a dinosaur tail. I’d seen them on Etsy before and was already considering making one and then I saw Liza Jane’s adorable version, which sealed it for me. I have to make one. Mine won’t be fancy and include a hoodie though, it’s just going to be the tail.
As well as his advent calendar the Manfriend will be getting some pyjama bottoms and a Paxson sweater, hopefully in marl if I can find some nice fabric – he loves raglan and marl.
Gosh, this is getting long and daunting and I haven’t even finished!
There’s also my nan’s Christmas cake, which I’ve already made and will just need to decorate closer to the time (after it’s had a bit more booze). I’ve been prowling Pinterest for decoration ideas and I think I’m going to go with Santa stuck in a chimney.
I made mango chutney last year that went down really well with my nan and Manfriend’s mum so I’m planning another batch of that this year. I think we’re going to make a little hamper for his family so there will probably be a few chutney type things being made. Last year I made onion marmalade, beer mustard, arancello and pomegranate vodka for hampers and I might repeat some of those.
And last but not least, there are the things I want to make for me. I’m planning a festive Scout for myself too and my work Christmas party outfit. Last year’s hunky simplicity 1418 is pretty much untoppable so I think I’m going to just go for something a bit more elegant this year. Maybe By Hand London Anna dress in some sort of slinky fabric. Or possibly a jumpsuit.
How about you? Have you made any Christmas sewing plans? Have you started? Or do you have any tips for me to make sure I actually achieve this years plans?
Some time last summer my nan saw me in my New Look 6096 maxi dress and told me how much she liked it. I must have been in a good mood because something made me say, “would you like one for Christmas?” even though I’m very much a selfish sewer. I bought the fabric, took her measurements and then got so caught up in all the other things I was making over Christmas (I made foody hampers) and with moving house and trying to make it nice for Christmas that time got away from me and Christmas eve sneaked up and I still hadn’t made her dress.
Fortunately my nan didn’t mind me being such a rubbish granddaughter and said she didn’t mind waiting for it. Though I’m not sure she was expecting to wait quite so long. I finally got round to it the week before we went on holiday so that she’d get to wear it out while we were away.
We stayed in a lovely villa in the middle of a fruit farm in Coral Bay in Cyprus, which gave this lovely backdrop for a couple of quick snaps of my nan in her dress.
It’s a New Look 6096 with a few little alterations. The neckline on my version is quite wide and I knew my nan wouldn’t feel comfortable in that so I took about an inch off the centre front and back and added it back in again under the sleeves (and widened them to match). I also raised the front neckline by about an inch and lengthened the sleeves slightly. I cut the skirt at the length my nan said that she likes best when I measured her, so it’s a bit longer than the short skirt version.
My nan loves monochrome prints and I hunted for aaaages to find one I thought she’d like but all the ones I liked the look of seemed to be on knit fabric. I found this poly crepe de chine on eBay and thought it was pretty and that she might like it even though it’s beige and black and not black and white. It’s lovely and slinky. I also bought some of the black and white viscose Katie used on her Sew Bossy swap with Amy and let my nan choose which one she wanted. I was glad she chose this one as I had sneaky selfish plans for the black and white one if she didn’t choose it.
I think this is a good dress to have used for unselfish sewing as the fit is probably quite forgiving because of the elastic. I don’t think I really went into much detail about how the dress is constructed the last time I made it. It’s nice and simple, for the arms and the neckline you just press the edges under 1/4 inch, then 1/2 inch and then top stitch close the fold to make a channel for the elastic. For the channel under the bust you use the bodice seam and press it down towards the skirt and top stitch. I French seamed everywhere for a nice finish inside (and because I’m still scared of my overlocker, though I have nearly made a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – just hemming to go but my sewing machine is fighting me).
Looking at these photographs while sat in my room with many names (dancing room, breakfast room, brunchatorium) is making me miss the sunshine very much. I love Cyprus, I lived there for two years while I was growing up as my dad was in the army and I’ve been back there on holiday three times now. You can’t beat somewhere where a man will sell you avocados in a pub and the ice cream man gives you a free bag of quails eggs. He also offered us a kilo of halloumi, which we probably should have bought as we got through quite a lot of it.
How about you? Ever bought food from somewhere unusual?