McCalls 6991: DIY Draped Wrap Cross Over Printed Top

DSC_7901
DSC_7901

McCalls 6991 Draped Wrap Cross Over Printed Top

Hello Dear Friends,

Another cold, windy, blustery day and another thin top to photograph :-) Hey, I am gearing up for spring!

This is McCalls 6991. If you like this pattern or have it already in your stash, get it out and sew it up soon! These mock wrap cross over front tops are in the shops right now, but I don’t honestly know how long this silhouette will be around. For this particular view (View B) there are 4 pattern pieces to cut. The whole of the front is cut from a single bias piece, with the left cross over front being formed from effectively twisting the fabric round on itself. So you do need a fabric which doesn’t really have a noticeable wrong side.

McCalls 6991

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

This is not my first time sewing this pattern. Some of  you may remember the saga of my beautiful washed silk. Yep, not done anything with that top (not worn it either). Any way, that was a different view. I can tell you this top feels extremely comfortable and secure: I have got a RTW top similar to this (see here) but I am always checking that top to make sure I am not exposing myself! No fear of that with this top, the cross over part on the underside feels very secure and the top is fastened with a lightweight concealed button.

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

I was concerned it would be too short at the front. I would possibly prefer for it to be ever so slightly longer at the front but it’s fine. If I was making this top again I would also add the sleeve tabs as I prefer this top with the sleeves rolled up. My fabric is a lightweight polyester. I used a microtex needle to sew it.

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Bias tops. A and B: very loose-fitting, pullover, mock wrap, self-lined yoke back, left front gathered to right side forming drape, narrow hem and conceal button closing. B: pocket, shaped hemline, wrong side shows on back hemline. C: button tab on rolled sleeves. D: collar. C and D: wrap, semi-fitted, front gathered into yoke, button/loop closing. B, C and D: long sleeves. Note: no provisions provided for above and below waist adjustments.

I made view B.
Pattern Sizing:
8 – 24
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes – although I thought the way to finish the neckline/ yoke was tricky to get right
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished garment – it is very much on trend right now. The key to getting this top right is fabric selection. You need something with drape and two good sides. This pattern runs large – check the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern. I sized down by one size and it fits perfectly for me. Also, beware: if you are making the sleeveless version the armholes seem very low. The one thing I didn’t love was the way the instructions told you to finish the inside yoke seams (lots of handsewing). I did all of it on the machine, but had to topstitch the upper seams. Next time I am going to see if I can machine it all without topstitching.
Fabric Used:
Polyester charmeuse.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
1 inch sway back and shortened sleeves by 3 inches (probably I would prefer them slightly longer). If making again I would add sleeve tabs.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might….yes I recommend.
Conclusion:

This is a very on trend very well drafted pattern to have in your collection. Sew it up soon and enjoy wearing it.

Has everyone been watching The Great British Sewing Bee (Series 3)? My fellow White Tree Fabric blogger, Amanda, did a great job last night (and previous episodes). I won’t reveal how she got on, but well done Amanda.

Have a great weekend all!

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

McCalls 6991 Draped Cross Over Printed Top

Minoru Jacket Take Two: DIY Khaki Waterproof Hooded Jacket Anorak

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket
Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

Hi Friends,

At the end of 2013 I made my first Sewaholic Minoru Jacket, which you can see and read about here. At the time, I was very pleased with the jacket, and it did get worn quite a bit.

But, I was never fully happy with my fabric selections, and there were parts of the design of the jacket which irked me. Like the fact the collar was too high for me, the hood refused to stay on my head in the wind and the lack of pockets (I added in-seam pockets but they were too shallow to be practical).

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

It got to the point where I just stopped wearing it, and believe you me, life without a practical raincoat of some kind in this part of this world is, well, not very practical! So, I decided to have another bash at it.

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

The fabric is described as a water repellent super fine cupro and microfibre soft touch poplin, purchased on ebay (I swatched first). I used a microtex needle to sew it. It was hard to get pins to penetrate through the coated fabric, and I tried to limit pins to seam allowances only. I used my silk organza press cloth throughout. I didn’t use any special thread for the topstitching: I didn’t really want it to stand out too much so used my regular Gutterman polyester.

The jacket is fully lined with an acetate (I think) lining:

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - inside lining

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – inside lining

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - inside lining

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – inside lining

In terms of the changes I made, I made no changes to the sizing/ fit of the jacket from the previous version. However, I did the following:

  • Shortened the collar height by approx. 1 and 3/4 inches
  • Used a 28 inch (as opposed to suggested 30  inch) zip
  • Omitted the zipped section in the collar to store the hood: I never used this anyway. I sewed the hood directly to the collar/ neck seam of the jacket
  • As a consequence of shortening the collar, I also shortened the length of the plackets by 1 and 3/4 inches
  • Added single welt pockets placed on the diagonal to the front of the jacket. I used this tutorial from Craftsy: it was spot on. I did add anorak snaps to the welts, but they are non functioning (I didn’t add the corresponding back snaps)
  • Added a front zipper guard with snaps. The snaps were a b*tch to put on. I used this tutorial from no big dill, which helped. A little. Tip: buy double the number of snaps you need. You will end up using them all.
  • (Unintentionally) made the hood slightly smaller, and added an elasticated drawstring to keep it on my head
  • Omitted the wide elastic in the back of the jacket and instead added narrow elastic which is adjustable: make as tight or loose as you wish, and I think it’s more flattering (for me)

Lots of pictures:

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - zipper guard with snaps

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – zipper guard with snaps

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - elasticated hood

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – elasticated hood

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - back view

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – back view

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - back view on dress form

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – back view on dress form

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - single welt pocket and adjustable elasticated waist detail

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – single welt pocket and adjustable elasticated waist detail

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket - elasticated hood detail

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket – elasticated hood detail – BTW, the eyelets were also a b*tch to get in. Tip: interface your fabric in that area and consider adding a square of fabric behind to build your fabric thickness up: too thin a fabric and the eyelets won’t hold

So that’s me sorted for a casual raincoat and I am very pleased with the changes I made and the way this jackets turned out. Added bonus: Khaki is currently very much on trend. I think I am getting addicted to sewing coats of any description!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

Khaki Waterproof Minoru Jacket

McCalls 6604: DIY Feather Print Chiffon Top with Pleated Neckline

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline
McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

Hello Friends,

It was totally not the weather today to be parading around outside in a chiffon top, but the things we do for our blog, hey? This is my version of view D from McCalls 6604, and I love the finished product.

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

The fabric is a polyester chiffon. I didn’t use any special techniques to stabilise it when cutting. I just laid it out on my cutting table, pinned well and weighted it down before cutting out. The only part I cut with my rotary cutter was the neck band, which is cut on the bias. But some useful things tips to aid with sewing chiffon would be:

  • cut notches outwards
  • drop your stitch length (I sewed at 1.6 setting)
  • use a new needle of the right weight/ size (I used a size 70 Schmetz needle)

I actually loved sewing this top and I don’t know why I don’t sew more tops as I badly need them. That will change in the next few weeks!

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

So, I am quite happy with the fit (I did do some modifications – see below), and it is definitely not tight. But I do think there are some slight drag lines over the bust near the neck line, so if I made this up again then maybe I should do a FBA? Suggestions?

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

Confession time: I hate wearing camisoles. So, I lined the main body part of this top with a pongee lining I had in my stash. I am so pleased I did this as it just makes wearing this top so easy. I overlocked all the seams using a three thread overlock. This is a polyester top – let’s not get precious about things! The only thing perhaps I should have done differently was underline the pleats and left the rest of the body as a free hanging lining – does that make sense? But it’s a minor quibble.

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline - inside lining view

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline – inside lining view

The sleeves are a little voluminous but not overly so:

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline - sleeves

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline – sleeves

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:
Fitted, pullover tops have hem variations and narrow hems. A: armhole bands. B: collar, and sleeves rolled-up (wrong side shows) with button tab. A and B: bias front and forward shoulder seams. D: sleeves gathered into cuffs. C and D: bias neck binding and front pleats.

I made view D.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. although I lengthened mine.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished top. So easy to wear. Nothing to dislike.
Fabric Used:
Polyester chiffon.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I lengthened the top by about 4.5 inches, and widened slightly at the hips. I did a 1 inch sway back adjustment and a 1.5 inch full arm adjustment. I also ended up narrowing the cuffs by just over 1 inch. I stitched in the ditch to secure the neckline binding, rather than the hand sewing the instructions suggest. I also lined the main body of the top using a pongee lining. I sewed a narrow baby hem for the chiffon.

This top is not tight and is very comfortable to wear but there are some slight drag lines near the bust/ neckline so I don’t know if I need to do a very slight FBA next time round.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I might sew this again and I do recommend.
Conclusion

I love the wearability of this top and I enjoyed making it.

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

McCalls 6604: feather print chiffon top with pleated neckline

I wore this top out today for a valentines lunch date with Philip and we had a lovely time. What ever you do this weekend, hope you enjoy it and spend it with loved ones :-)

IMG_0016

Vogue 9037: DIY Oversized Collar Cream Wrap Winter Coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat
Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Hello there, from a wet and wild Cumbria!

Winter is still with us, and last weekend I decided to make a coat (as you do!) I had this fabric in my stash that I picked up from my local market and I figured if I didn’t use it then it would sit there until next winter…or longer….so I decided to go for it.

Let  me tell you about the fabric first. It was either made by or for Barbour (the company that makes the famous waxed and now quilted jackets). It is perhaps what you might call a technical fabric? I have no idea of the exact composition. It has a nap and is very soft and strokeable. It is also double layered. By that I mean it is two layers of fabric which appear to have been glued together with a layer of foam sandwiched inbetween (so it is quite heavy and very warm). It is also water repellent. Here’s a shot of the fabric so you can see what I mean by the two layers.

Double layered fabric used for Vogue 9037

Double layered fabric used for Vogue 9037

In case any one is wondering about the practicalities of keeping a cream coat like this clean without running up extortionate dry cleaning bills, I prewashed this fabric (I tested a sample first!). In fact, I noticed some marks on it before taking these photographs, so it is in the wash as I type.

Now, the pattern. The pattern is Vogue 9037. Here’s the envelope illustration of the version I sewed (view C).

Vogue 9037 envelope illustration

Vogue 9037 envelope illustration

My version:

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

The major difference you will notice is that I chose to level the bottom hem off (remember if you do this, you also have to adjust the facing pattern piece as well). It’s an easy adjustment to make if you are not fond of the shaped hem thing.

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

This is classed as a very easy vogue pattern and it was very easy. I don’t think there was anything particularly difficult about it and the results, as you can see, are pretty dramatic. If you don’t like the oversized collar thing, this pattern isn’t for you (although there are two other more moderately sized collars included in the envelope).

I didn’t want to line this fabric. It is double faced so I didn’t see the point. That  is in part why I went for this pattern. However,  you are then left with a dilemma as to how to finish the insides. I chose to make bias binding from a polyester satin and do a hong kong finish on most of the seams. I started doing it on the pockets and side seams and it looked like a dogs dinner. So I ripped that off and tried overlocking those seams. Again. Not nice. This is a thick fabric. In the end I settled for pinking those edges (another thing about this fabric is it doesn’t fray). I am ok with it. (Ignore what else you can see on the dummy: my daughter has claimed this dummy for her own!)

Vogue 9037 inside finish

Vogue 9037 inside finish

Vogue 9037 inside finish

Vogue 9037 inside finish

The one thing I wish I had done differently was adjust the collar for turn of cloth. Ah well, It’s not too obvious but a lesson learned for next time.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:
Loose-fitting, unlined, double-breasted jacket has collar variations, front and back tucks, shaped front hemline and snap closing. C: side pockets. A and C: self belt. Note: No provisions provided for above waist adjustment.

I made a slightly modified view C.
Pattern Sizing:
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, I think so, although I chose to level the front hem off (remember if you do this you have to also change the facing piece as well).
Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished effect. That is probably alot to do with my fabric (see below), but if you want a dramatic oversized collar, then this does the job.I wish I had adjusted for turn of cloth on the collar.
Fabric Used:
It was either made by or for Barbour (the company that makes the famous waxed and now quilted jackets). It is perhaps what you might call a technical fabric? I have no idea of the exact composition. It has a nap and is very soft and strokeable. It is also double layered/ double faced. By that I mean it is two layers of fabric which appear to have been glued together with a layer of foam sandwiched inbetween (so it is quite heavy and very warm). There is no wrong side and it does not fray when cut. It is also water repellent.

Because of the above, I wanted a pattern for a coat which was unlined. I chose to finish my jacket with a combination of a hong kong finish and pinking.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I levelled the front hem and facing piece off, and added 1 inch to the lower hems. I shortened the sleeves by about an inch and did a 1 inch full arm adjustment. I hand sewed the hems. I added belt loops and some topstitching to the belt.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

It’s quite distinctive so probably not (maybe one of the other views?). Yes, I recommend.
Conclusion:

I feel ab fab when I wear this coat. It feels amazing on and I am sure I will get a little more wear out of this  piece before packing it away until next year.

Wherever you are, keep warm and keep sewing. Until soon…

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Vogue 9037: Oversized collar winter coat

Saiph Papercut Tunic: DIY Mustard Quilted Tunic Dress

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey
Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Hello Dear Friends,

Here’s a little splash of colour to brighten a now dull and cold winters day. Mmmmmm…..mustard. It’s not a colour everyone likes, but, as Sunni wrote in this post, it’s something that I am drawn too (and I loved her mustard skirt!)

The fabric is somekind of quilted jersey/ cloque (from ebay). I have another piece in navy. It is warmer than wearing your average jersey, but handles something like a scuba. It was definitely easier to handle and I would say more hard wearing than my last quilted jersey piece, detailed here.

Quilted jersey/ cloque

Quilted jersey/ cloque

The pattern is the Saiph Tunic from Papercut Patterns. I first made it here.

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

In addition to whatever changes I made last time, this time round I did a one inch sway back adjustment, I took a little more off the sides at the waist and I redrafted the neck facings and deepened them by one inch. I also slip stitched the facings to the shoulder and back seam to stop it flipping out.

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

The hems were overlocked, turned once and stitched. Yes, I change all my overlocker threads everytime to suit each project. :-)

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Hmmm…not much else to say. I told you I wanted a couple of looser fitting tunic styles in my wardrobe for the cold weather and I have them now. Now on to other, more complex projects!

Here’s a shot without the scarf. I do think if I made this again I might raise the neck up slightly.

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Until soon….have a great weekend…we are predicted extremely cold weather next week (minus temperatures), so I am off to hibernate :-)

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Mustard Saiph Papercut Tunic in quilted jersey

Erbsenprinzessin ballet suit leotard pattern: DIY girls gymnastics leotard

DIY gymnastics leotard
DIY gymnastics leotard

DIY gymnastics leotard

Hi Friends,

Today is a quick review of a gymnastics leotard that I made for Kezia using a new to me pattern: it’s the Erbsenprinzessin ballet suit leotard pattern, which I downloaded from Etsy. If you have a little girl (or even not so little; the pattern runs to 12 years), who is into gymnastics or ballet I highly recommend this pattern.

Kezia started gymnastics in September and loves it. Before that, she did a couple of years of ballet/ dance. So she was wearing her old skirted ballet dress. I told her I wouldn’t buy her a new leotard until she had gone to gymnastics for at least a couple of terms (tough mum!) so when I came across this pattern and realised I had some black swimsuit fabric left over from my Ginger swimsuit, I thought, let’s see if I can do this.

DIY gymnastics leotard

DIY gymnastics leotard

Why do I love this pattern? It’s such great value for money, it’s so quick to tape together and sew, and the results and fit (for me/ Kezia at least) are brilliant. I couldn’t be happier with it. Also, the pattern includes options to sew a skirted ballet style leotard too. It’s a basic pattern, not a fancy one like your Jalie types, but I reckon it wouldn’t be hard to customise.

DIY gymnastics leotard

DIY gymnastics leotard

(BTW, apologies for the not very good photos: you can tell I took these and not Philip or my sister).

Anyway, I pretty much followed the instructions. I cut a straight size 6 I think? It fits perfectly. I added the crotch (self) lining. The only thing I did differently was that the instructions tell you to use FOE or a self fabric band to finish the neck/ leg holes. I used knit elastic (not woven elastic; that is harder to apply) and stitched it to the wrong side of the suit, folded it over and stitched it down again.

DIY gymnastics leotard

DIY gymnastics leotard

I have a long list of things I want to sew for spring already. Any one else thinking of spring sewing? Have a great day!

DIY gymnastics leotard

DIY gymnastics leotard

McCalls 6885: DIY Denim Tunic Dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress
McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

Hi There Folks,

Well, winter continues on here. I can’t complain too much: the winter so far in this corner of the world has been relatively mild. But it’s still quite cold, wet and windy. I wanted a couple of casual, throw on dresses that I could layer over tights and boots. And also, more loose fitting in style.

Enter McCalls 6885. This is described as a semi-fitted pullover dress, which should have a collar and collar/ front button bands. You will notice on my version that I decided to omit the collar to give a more grandad style collar.

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

Here’s the back view. I decided to add the waist ties, which I made from self fabric. Those fabric ties were designed by the devil himself. I spent more than an hour trying to turn them the right way round (using a pair of tweezers!) and my ties are shorter than the pattern indicates. Just saying. You will also notice I added a back yoke with some topstitching.

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

Here’s the inside of the yoke, which I cut from cotton.

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

I decided to add hammer on denim buttons. I wish I had thought more about my thread colours. I did the topstitching in brown, but the seams (and subsequent buttonholes) were sewn in white. Ah well. I also flat fell seamed the arm seam that gets folded over.

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

I actually love wearing this. It’s just so easy to pull on and go. I love the loose, casual fit and the very soft denim. I wish I had been able to get it in a darker wash, but this is all my local market had. Next time!

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Semi-fitted, pullover dresses have collar, collar/front bands, front pleat and narrow hem. C: purchased belt. D: pockets, tie ends and long sleeves with button tab. Shaped hemline B, C and rolled sleeves D: wrong side shows. Lined hat has top, crown and brim.

I made view D.

Pattern Sizing:

8 – 24

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes. Although I omitted the collar.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the loose casual fit and the pullover style. I can see this dress being made in so many different fabrics. Nothing to dislike. Although be warned, the sides of this view are very short. If I was going to make this to wear in the summer and wanted the shaped sides I would lengthen.

Fabric Used:

A very soft, lightweight denim.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I added a back yoke.

I did a 1 inch sway back adjustment.

I shortened the sleeve length by an inch?

I omitted the collar.

I flat fell seamed the sleeve seam that gets turned over.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes and yes.

Conclusion:

This is such a great casual dress pattern to have in your collection that can be made for year round wear. I love it!

What do you think? Are you a fan of the looser, tunic style?

Have a great rest of the weekend!

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

McCalls 6885: denim tunic dress

A Tour of My Sewing Space

My sewing space
My sewing space

My sewing space

Hello Friends,

I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating looking at other people’s sewing rooms/ spaces/ studios. I think you always get lots of ideas for things to try out, plus…well, who doesn’t like snooping around other people’s houses? :-)

When I first started sewing I was, like many of you, on the kitchen table. Gradually, I took over a (very) small bedroom. But when we moved into our dream home just over 2 months ago I also got my dream sewing space! Its located in the roof space above our garage, and not only is it spacious, it also has the most amazing light coming in from the Velux windows and is just such a luxury to come and work in.

Warning: everything in the room is from Ikea, so if you don’t like flat packed furniture, move on. Ready for the tour?

My sewing space

My sewing space

It is hard to show the room in one shot, so the first picture at the top of this post was “stitched” together (by my sister, who took most of the shots in this post), whilst the picture above was taken by my husband using the panoramic feature on his mobile. Anyway, thanks to both for the photography (and to Phil for putting all the furniture together).

Starting over on the left hand side of the panoramic photograph, the first thing you see is a set of Malm drawers. This is where I store my patterns. FYI, one of the drawers is empty, two are about 2/3rds full and one is about 50% full. So, that gives you an indication of how many patterns I own. Saying that, these drawers can hold a lot of patterns!

Malm drawers sewing pattern storage

Malm drawers sewing pattern storage

I swear they are not that messy! I just need to find a way to prop the envelopes up so they don’t keep sliding down if the drawers are not full.

Next we have lots of Kallax Shelving Units (on both sides of the room). On the right hand side of the room (panoramic picture), I use the shelves to store my fabric. Kallax is an economical, modular system, but being honest, I chose them because I am pretty restricted height wise in this room (in terms of having storage next to the walls), so Kallax fitted the dimensions of the room. I haven’t got any drawers for the shelves yet. I thought I would wait and see how many/ what I needed.

Kallax shelving to hold fabric

Kallax shelving to hold fabric

Anyway, the Kallax shelves on this left hand side of the room holds…wadding, my old sewing machine, quilting supplies. Next to the Kallax shelves you can see a Hemnes Glass Door Cabinet. This cabinet holds my sewing books, printed patterns (badly stored!), and bits and bobs like fray check, machine oil, buttons, interfacing, tracing paper etc. Erm…still all needs a little more sorting.

Hemnes Glass cabinet sewing space

Hemnes Glass cabinet sewing space

This is my sewing table: it’s the Norden Gateleg table. I bought this some years ago…I am not saying it’s what I would buy right now, but it’s fine. This is where the magic happens, hahaha

Norden gateleg sewing table

Norden gateleg sewing table

I just bought the chair, and I love it because it’s height adjustable, lumbar supportive and on castors so I can move between my sewing machine and serger without getting off my bottom. haha. Its the Skalberg/ Sporren.

The mirror (an absolute must in any sewing room if you are lucky enough to have one, IMHO), is the Isfjorden standing mirror. Again, I chose this because I knew the sloping ceilings in this room restricted having anything fitted to the walls.

Isfjorden mirror

Isfjorden mirror

Love my new thread rack (purchased on ebay).

Sewing rack

Sewing rack

I bought the cutting table just recently too. It’s the Gerton/ Finnvard combination, (two of them pushed together), and I am so pleased with it. I have very bad lower back pain and I specifically chose the Finnvard trestles because they are height adjustable. I have these set up so that, with the Gerton table tops in place, the height is 90 cm…the same height as a standard kitchen unit here in the UK. My back is not quite as painful now I am not leaning over the dining table to cut. We haven’t fixed these in to place yet, so I can move them around if I want/ need too.

Gerton/ Finnvard cutting table

Gerton/ Finnvard cutting table

The last thing I wanted to show you was under one end of the cutting table, my husband fixed a Grundtal rail and we hung a couple of Grundtal containers and S-hooks. You can see my Merchant and Mills scissors hanging there (birthday present from mum), and I like to keep things to hand there that I use during cutting, like chalk, tape measure, pins etc.

Grundtal rail and containers

Grundtal rail and containers

So that’s it. It’s still all quite new, and still not quite as organised as I would like it. I would like to add some colour to the walls eventually and I also need some curtains, oh and I am waiting for a new TV. I will do an update post once everything is finished. But it’s my very own amazing space, and suffice to say, you will have to carry me out of here in a box before I leave this house :-)

Happy New Year Sewing Everyone!

P.S. if anyone with sharp eyesight was wondering what the heck is going on with my dress form, that creation is the work of my 5 year old daughter Kezia…an aspiring fashion designer :-) Until soon…

My sewing in 2014!

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Hello There Friends,

Happy new year!

I wanted to take a quick look back over this past sewing year, as well as look forward to 2015.

2014 has been a (even if I do say so myself), phenomenal year for me in terms of sewing. Not only in terms of output, but also in terms of variety of garments and fabric types sewn, as well as the increase in my technical abilities. Here are some brief stats:

I think these are correct….

  • 45 items sewn in total (that have been blogged about; I have also sewn one pair of curtains so far for the new house, and am carrying one UFO forward into the new year – my birthday dress. I don’t do UFOs, so this will have to be finished….but now I don’t have a big occasion coming up that I need the dress for, I am dragging my heels slightly).
  • 17 dresses (including one not mentioned above that has not yet been blogged).
  • 9 tops
  • 8 jackets/ coats/ cardigans/ sweatshirts
  • 4 items for Kezia
  • 1 shirt for Philip
  • 3 bottoms
  • 1 knitted item
  • 1 underwired bra
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 patchwork teddy!

These items are definitely the ones that got worn the most:

Butterick 5683: quilted jacket

Butterick 5683: quilted jacket

Plaid Flannel Archer Button Up Shirt

Plaid Flannel Archer Button Up Shirt

Grainline Archer Shirt in Denim

Grainline Archer Shirt in Denim

McCalls 6899 pleated jersey tunic top

McCalls 6899 pleated jersey tunic top

So suffice to say, I realise that I need to make more tops in the new year!

I also wanted to give a “special mention” to these garments, which I genuinely love each and every time I put them on:

Vogue 8884: spring jacket

Vogue 8884: spring jacket

Simplicity 2444, worn with McCalls 6696 slip

Simplicity 2444, worn with McCalls 6696 slip

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

McCalls 6696: DIY navy linen shirt dress

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Burdastyle Plus Size Placket Blouse 01/2010#133

Now on to the garments which I didn’t love:

Vogue 8936 studded peplum top

Vogue 8936 studded peplum top

The bodice length was too short on this peplum top and I really didn’t know what to wear it with. It has been donated to charity.

Simplicity 1423

Simplicity 1423

The puckered seams on this dress made it a fail for me. I wore it once and then realised how embarrassed I was of it…it went to the charity shop.

McCalls 6991 and Vogue 8936

McCalls 6991 and Vogue 8936

Ah yes, the beautiful silk crossover top. Don’t worry, this is still in my wardrobe…but it has only been worn once. I am thinking what to do with it.

Burdastyle Zipper Sweatshirt 08/2014

Burdastyle Zipper Sweatshirt 08/2014

This last one may (or may not!) surprise you. I love wearing this sweatshirt, and I would like to make another (maybe sized down slightly). The issue is with the fabric. It is extremely delicate and snags (and tears) very easily. I have actually acquired more quilted fabric from another source which seems more durable…so expect to see some quilted dresses appearing.

Plans for 2015? I don’t like to restrain myself with resolutions or plans. I like to go with the flow :-) But I would like to make more tops, more every day wearable pieces, still try and do the tailoring thing, and sew some classic tailored pieces like a beautiful blazer and a tailored coat.

All that remains is for me to say thank YOU, readers, sincerely, for following along this year. For leaving comments, answering my questions, offering opinions and entering my giveaways. Peoples, it’s been emotional….until soon and happy new year.

McCalls 6989: DIY Navy and Black Lace Dress with Cuffed Sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

Hi Readers,

I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful, happy christmas. This dress is my latest make for White Tree Fabrics. They provided the fabric and the pattern (of my selection). Whilst I genuinely do love the lace, I am not so sure about the pattern itself. Here’s the lowdown!

The pattern is McCalls 6989, which is a Melissa Watson pattern for Palmer and Pletsch. Here’s the line drawings:

McCalls 6989: line drawings

McCalls 6989: line drawings

The sleeves are, without doubt, my favourite part of the dress. They are actually a two part sleeve that is designed to sew in with no ease. I french seamed the sleeve pieces and used a recycled diamante button I had in my stash.

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

The rest of the pattern….I am a bit….meh about.

The bodice is designed with armhole princess seams. Obviously, I didn’t do a muslin (I hate doing muslins and will generally tissue fit where possible). I did a two stage FBA using Fit for Real People, adding 1.25 inches to the front piece, and 1 inch to the side panel (does that sound a lot?) Yep. The bodice ended up huge, and I removed 2 inches from either side seam (i.e. 4 inches in total!) I also dropped the apex point by 2 inches.

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

So, also, in case you’re wondering, I swapped the skirt out for a pleated skirt. The main reason for this was I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the skirt as in the pattern. I actually think that skirt would have been nicer. I ended up shortening the skirt by 2 inches and further shortening the bodice by about 0.5 – 1.5 inches. Philip pointed out to me that the skirt does seem to be dipping low in the front and I think he’s probably right. Sigh.

I also inserted an invisible zipper and cut the fabric on the cross-grain so that I could use the scalloped edge as the hem of the skirt.

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

The lace fabric is a cotton leaf flower lace in navy. It is a lightweight netted lace which is beautiful. The whole dress (except the sleeves) is underlined (not lined) with lightweight black satin. I am not going to lie. When I initally tried to sew the satin with a regular needle it snagged terribly, so I switched to a Schmetz microtex needle after which there was no problem. I overlocked all the seams inside. Don’t forget you can always get 20% off all purchases AND free delivery any time you feel like simply by quoting SEWMANJU.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Dresses have collar band, princess seams, semi-fitted bodice, raised waist, and back zipper. A: self-lined sleeves. B and C: collar, two-piece sleeves gathered into button cuffs with seam opening. C: bodice cut on crosswise grain and skirt on bias grain.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

The bodice part, yes. Due to fabric constraints I swapped the skirt out for a pleated skirt. I think it would look better with the gored skirt in the pattern.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes and no. The sewing instructions are fine. The fitting instructions (this is a Palmer and Pletsch pattern) were a little strange. No instructions on how to do an FBA, although the lines are marked on the pattern. I would have thought that would have been the most common adjustment sewers would make? But there is no guidance on it. Also, note, no body measurements are included on the pattern instruction sheets (only on the envelope flap), and there is no mention of needing buttons on the notions section of the envelope.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

My favourite part of the dress is the two piece sleeves which set in with no ease and the button cuffs. I am not sure about the rest of the dress…(including the high neckline on me).

Fabric Used:

All fabrics were provided by White Tree Fabrics. I used a navy cotton lace underlined with a lightweight black satin.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I did a two stage FBA using Fit for Real People, adding 1.25 inches to the front piece, and 1 inch to the side panel (does that sound a lot?) Yep. The bodice ended up huge, and I removed 2 inches from either side seam (i.e. 4 inches in total!) I also dropped the apex point by 2 inches and did a 1 inch sway back adjustment. As  mentioned above, Due to fabric constraints I swapped the skirt out for a pleated skirt. I think it would look better with the gored skirt in the pattern. I don’t think the front is hanging straight with the back. The question is, can I be bothered to go back and adjust it? :-) I did end up shortening the skirt by 2 inches and shortening the bodice by 0.5 – 1.5 inches.

 
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

You  know, I might sew it again, with the collar perhaps? I think it has potential….for me, it needs more work. I would recommend with caution! Hey, we are all individual…it might work brilliantly for you.

Conclusion:

I wore this dress on christmas eve and I felt comfortable in it and I didn’t feel bad wearing it. Maybe with time/ an adjusment to the front to get it evened up I might love it a little more!

Until soon….best wishes for the new year!

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

 

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