The other Toaster Sweater

Just a quick post to follow on from my previous Toaster sweater. The pattern comes in two styles and having liked the other one I wanted to give this second version a go.

I spent the longest time on this make in choosing the pattern size. Based on the sizing guide and my concern of the thickness of the fabric I thought I was going to make a large but decided to stick with my guns and go for the medium. In actual fact there is plenty of room in the jumper so it’s a good thing I didn’t go larger. 

I used a thick plush jersey for extra snuggle factor and have been loving wearing it in the colder weather. It’s a beautiful oatmeal colour with stars that I bought from a sewing shop in Witney Oxfordshire. I think I actually prefer it to the other version!

I couldn’t get my twin needle to work so opted for zig zag top stitching but I think it works. 

This is a great pattern and I want to try making it in a drapier jersey to see how it works. I’m not sure if the polo neck might collapse too much but I’m going to give it’s a go… fingers crossed!

BHL Holly trousers (another foray into the WIP mountain)

Another item from my recent develing into all of my unfinished WIP highlighted these BHL Holly trousers. These are actually the second pair I made, the first a tester pair were in a green linen blend. I absolutely loved them, the fit I think is reminiscent of 1940’s style but on the first day I wore them in the wild a colleague mentioned how they looked like the genie from Aladdins trousers. Yes, the nail in the coffin. I never wore those lovely trousers again and it caused me to halt progress on finishing this black pair I had planned for work ataire.

Now older and a bit wiser, or just keen to finish some WIP (you decide) I took them back up and finished the hand sewing that was left.

They are a beautifully simple pattern which are fitted with darts on the back and loose on the front to look flattering. Sadly I’ve put on a bit of weight since I fitted these trousers but I still love the pattern and highly recommend it to anyone who fancies trousers with relatively limited fitting issues due to the style. Apologise for the poor photo quality, black is terrible to photograph and get a sense of the shape!

They also feel like secret pyjamas which is always a win! Sadly for anyone one wants to know the fate of the green pair, I sent them to a charity shop in a hopes someone else can love and wear them! Some things aren’t meant to be!

Sewaholic Rae skirt revival

This is a bit of a cheeky blog post as it’s not actually something I made recently but is something that I’ve never blogged about. I made a few versions of the Rae skirt by Sewaholic a few years ago and loved the skirts but had nothing to pair with them. Thanks to the arrival of my new favourite basic the SOI Silk Cami I’ve managed to start wearing them again! 

I made this murky green version using an unusual fabric from Fabricland. I’m not sure on the type but it has a glossy finish with a nice shine and the fabric holds it own more than a viscose or crepe. It also has a slight stretch to it, possibly like a stretch sateen or something??

The skirt has absolutely no fit issues and I made it straight out the packet. Even better it still fits despite me putting on weight since I made it. Largely thanks to the elasticated waist! 

It’s amazing how the arrival of a new pattern can re-open opportunities for patterns you’ve forgotten. Now I’m desperately on the hunt for another fabric in my stash to make one in.

Whilst trying to photograph this my husband decided he wanted to be on the blog too so here he is …

The pile of shame aka the fickle sewer

I, like many other sewers have work in progress projects (WIP). Sometimes projects get shelved and they end up in my WIP pile. Often they are shelved because I’m avoiding a tricky sewing technique or more likely I’ve gotten distracted or worse I just can’t be bothered to change the thread in the overlocker! Yes I am a terribly fickle sewer. When a project gets shelved it either ends up on a pile or it gets shoved under the table my sewing machines are on with the thought that ‘I’ll get back to it soon!’.

Getting set up for my first sewing of 2017 I noticed to my horror that the pile is now so big it’s difficult to sew as bits keep falling on top of the foot peddle and I can’t get my legs under the table! Alright I’m probably exaggerating but it’s definitely gotten out of hand (a bit like my fabric stash!).

I decided it was time to have a sort out and delved into the pile. I discovered a few things I didn’t even realise I’d started and it was at this point I realised that I need to start working on my WIP stash.

So here’s what I finished this month …

I think the pattern was the BHL Charlotte skirt made up in a grey pinstripe wool that was gifted from my Mum’s stash.

The skirt needed a bit of hand sewing which was very therapeutic. I find it a good task whilst watching tv like pinning seams or taping together PDF patterns.

If I’m honest I don’t remember much of the construction although the darts are at weird angles which I think was an adjustment for fit at the time. 

Having finished and worn it the skirt is a little on the snug side for me these day but it looks smart and it’s a great addition to my work wardrobe. If I can find the pattern I might make another with a tad more ease around the bum!

Now the confession is over I’m hoping I can keep up finishing items to get the pile back down to a more sensible level! I’ll keep you posted!

SOI Silk Cami – #2017makenine

I was lucky enough to snap this up in the Black Friday sale last year as I’ve fancied it for a while. Although it’s fairly basic I think it will be perfect for working towards my capsule wardrobe resolution for 2017 so that I have more full outfits that are me made instead of parts of outfits.

Having made a few SOI garments I know their block is based on a much taller person than my 5 ft 2 in so I took 2 inches out of the length of the body in 2 x 1 inch sections. I then just graded the side seams into a smooth curve.

I cut it out in some left over viscose from a Walthamstow visit. It has beautiful fluidity and I knew it would allow me to test it before making it up in all the beautiful fabrics I got for Christmas from my family.

The final look is fairly loose but I think that’s the style. I love it tucked into skirts and on reflection I think the neck line suits me better than my normal higher style. It’s something I’ll look at in future makes.

The construction is easy, although it has an interesting method for sewing on the facings in an all in one method. I confess I left out the French seams on the side seams but they would be a nice finish in future versions.

A few options for my next one …

That’s two big hits from my #2017makenine. I hope I can keep it up and make a few more items soon.

Sew House Seven Toaster 2 – #2017makenine and #sewmystyle

Given I’m pretty rubbish at sticking to challenges I’ve been pretty ambitious this year and signed up to 2! I’m hoping that now the wedding and honeymoon are over I should have more free time where we’re not planning and coordinating that can be spent sewing. Both of these challenges as I’ve spoken about before are helping to work towards a fuller wardrobe of clothing that is me made and this pattern is no exception. Eventually I’d like to have an almost wholly me made closet!

Jumpers are definitely a huge hole in my existing wardrobe. I’d never heard of Sew House Seven patterns until signing up to #sewmystyle but I bought the versions 1 and 2 combo pack for the toaster as I think both will be great! Plus this winter the weather has me dreaming of nice snuggly jumpers!

I have some beautiful wool Jersey which I bought in Japan and is destined to become a toaster sweater but in the meantime I wanted to test it in something from my stash. I have very few stable jersey knits which is what this pattern calls for so ended up opting for this lighter weight jumper style fabric. I’m afraid I’m pretty rubbish with the different names for knit fabrics. The fabric looks like it is knitted together rather than a solid jersey fabric and it’s something that’s been in my stash for well over 10 years. I’m not sure where it came from or what it was intended for but it’s been sat in my stash a little forlorn as I couldn’t see any possible use for it.

I went for size small and didn’t make any alterations however I noticed after I had cut out that the knit fabric had been stretched out on the carpet and subsequently shrunk when unpinned. I think I lost an inch in length on the body and the sleeves. I normally cut out on a wooden floor so this is something I’ll watch for in the future when cutting out on carpet! Given it was a test garment I ploughed on regardless.

The construction is nice and easy. It’s the first time I’ve done a split hem and the instructions make it so straightforward and neat. I love the mitring on the corners! I ended up sewing the hem by hand as I think the fabric calls for an invisible hem but regardless this jumper can definitely be made in a day and is suitable for a relatively new sewer given its for stable knits. It also only has 3 pattern pieces which makes for quick cutting out!

The final fit is good and although initially unsure I really like the look of it. I am currently happily snuggled up in it as I type and am looking forward to adding a few more to my wardrobe! Given I like the current length of this version I will have to measure up against the pattern and decide if any length needs to come out of the pattern before making up my next version.

I absolutely love this pattern and if I don’t end up liking any of the other #sewmystyle makes I don’t mind because this jumper was worth it! Now to find some more fabric to try out option 1…….

SOI Molly Tops extravaganza

Yes that is me with a big grin because I have bicycles on my top!

When SOI announced their City Break e-book I was initially sceptical. I wasn’t immediately drawn to any one pattern although the Lola coat did tempt me. But the more I thought about it the more I got hooked! The idea of a capsule wardrobe is not something I’d really thought about as I generally like to just make whatever I feel like but like so many sewers before me I’ve started to notice my random collection of things I’ve made just don’t go together. The drive to prepare for our honeymoon to Japan in November gave me a real incentive to start thinking about capsule wardrobes and so I bought the e-book and haven’t looked back. So far I’ve made 2 of the projects and have another 2 part made which now we’re over the excitement of Christmas I’m hoping to get back to some serious sewing.

My first successful make from the collection was the Molly top. Having now made 7 in total I find it a versatile staple. Depending on the weight of the jersey it can be a jumper weight or T-shirt weight and can be tucked in to skirts or worn over jeans.

The style is more relaxed than I normally go for but as a result it’s exceedingly comfortable and there are no real fit issues.

The detailing of the sleeves adds an a extra twist and is great fun made in stripes. The only real problem I’ve had on any of the seven was the hem on my bycicles top as you can see!Sadly the French terry weight fabric has distorted whilst sewing the hem but it hasn’t stopped me wearing it as it can just be tucked in and hidden away.As you can see I love this pattern and I’m planning on making a few more. Most of these were made using fabric from Fabworks. Although it can be tricky buying fabric over the internet the quality and range of jersey fabric at Fabworks is great and the prices are pretty amazing too. I’m still hoping to be able to catch one of their Tuesday bundle one of these days!

The links to the fabrics I can still find on their website are:

Floral, lemon and white stripe, the pale lilac marl and the nude marl. The lilac marl is a beautiful weight and comes in a range of colours, I’ve also got the avacado and the blue ones lined up for future projects! Sadly there is none of the stripe left but they have a range of other great stripes if your interested in a Breton style top.

I very much hope SOI will release a similar style ebook in the future as this was a real winner for me and has opened a whole new way of thinking about sewing.

The pattern itself is straightforward and a great starter for any new sewers wanting to get into sewing with jersey.

I’m also wondering about making a few more as pyjama tops in the future. Thanks Lisa and the Sew Over It team for another great pattern! Hold tight for my review of the Lola pattern which is an even bigger winner in my books!

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Little Bee skirts

In my mad rush to make a new wardrobe for my honeymoon in Japan back in November I turned to a skirt I’ve made a few years ago. The Little Bee skirt is a straightforward and free pattern. Great for people wanting to get into sewing. It has simple fit and includes an invisible zip and darts which are great basic skills for a new dressmaker. 

Apologise for the terrible photo, I’d worn the skirt all day so it looks a little crumpled. Overall it’s a great wardrobe staple, it’s not my sexiest piece but it’s practical. My only mistake was using silky acetate lining which means the skirts swivel as I wear them. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to stop this?

Finally here’s a photo of me sporting my green spotty version about to go on our first bullet train. They are amazing, if only UK trains were so quick, efficient and tidy!

Sew Over it Trouser course – Carrie

I bought this course the first weekend it came out because I desperately wanted help on fitting trousers. Excitingly it was the day before my wedding back in June! Sadly once getting it I then continued to put it off due to sewing fear.

I finally took the plunge having seen the beautiful versions my Mum had made and  cut out a basic black pair. 

I sewed them half together and then got frustrated that the fabric creases just by looking at it… Not ideal for trousers! Finally I stopped stalling and plucked up the courage to finish them ready for our honeymoon in Japan in November. Then having finished them I ended up loving them so much I made a second pair. Excitingly I had some perfect fabric from a Walthamstow market trip which reminded me of autumn leaves, perfect for the Japanese Maples. They are literally secret pyjamas!

There isn’t much to say about construction as the pattern is fairly straightforward however sewing in the elastic looked less neat than I expected in both my versions. I think I need to try this again with my next pair.

The online class was great and I highly recommend it. The videos are very clear and there are lots of handy tips. I especially think the videos on the waistband are useful. Having made them I think they’re super quick and straightforward so will probably use the videos only for troubleshooting in the future.

The only thing I’m not sure on is how to style them. I think I need a tucked in top but need to find a few other options. I think I can see a few more of these in my sewing future.