Blue almost-jeans

I made a trouser pattern in a hurry in early 2016. I was pleased with the method, maybe more on that later. However, the fit of these was really quite baggy. I’ve worn the original of these (and the only dark blue pair) so much that they are now gardening trousers rather than worthy of being seen in. I was just going to make more to the same pattern, but decided to improve the fit. Gah, trousers are hard to fit! so many interrelated curves in all sorts of directions. I can’t buy trousers of any sort to fit me though, including jeans. So the effort is worthwhile!

This is not a true jeans pattern. It has darts at the back and patch pockets at the front. If I end up with a version I’m happy with, I might try converting it to more classic jeans construction. Then I’ll most likely change shape again eh?

The light is dim today so the pic on me is not wonderful.I’m cautiously excited by the fit I’ve managed though. This is heavy wool/cotton blend twill (denim? drill?) with no elastane. The fabric is really nice. I’ll be heading back to the shop tomorrow to see if I can get a little more for a repeat pair later.

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I have fun with the decorative sewing on pockets. The designs are free hand drawn in chalk and then stitched freehand with a twin needle. This is my current favourite design. Gentle arcs are easy to sew. After taking the picture, I realised that these still needed the stitching run across the top, which I then went and did. I use a straight grain tape under the top folded edge to minimise stretching.

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My fitting changes in the tummy/hip/bottom seem to have made the vertical leg seams twist, so I’ll have to fix that for the next pair. Not cutting any more until I’ve worn these though.

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I feel I must add that testing fit in an underheated house in winter is tedious! How many times have I had these on and off in the last couple of days. 6 maybe?

Pink!

Some months ago, my niece pointed at a picture in a book and said “I want that one”. I didn’t see the picture, but I’m told it was a bag made from a pair of pink jeans. I needed to organise a present for her and this is something well within my capabilities. She may not even remember the picture, or the wanting, but I hope she likes it anyway.

An opshop provided a pair of size 8 ladies jeans in brilliant pink. I chopped them below the fly, inserted a rectangular base and handles, cut from the legs.

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I then put a coordinating lining in.

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I left the button and fly functional for fun. Then I realised that gave access to the space between bag and lining for the putting of things, and a five year old would. So to prevent the inevitable struggle of having to get them out again, I sewed through to catch the placket closed. Pity I didn’t think of this until the lining was in, so that stitching shows on the inside. Oh well. If I ever make another I shall try to remember.

And the backside:

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I reckon it came out quite well. It occurs to me that my old jeans would make good grocery bags made up like this with a squarer base. I wonder if I’ve kept any?

Orange merino jersey

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I bought this length of orange merino jersey in Wellington over 2 years ago. I’ve had at least 5 different plans for it. When I got it out recently, I realised that there was less of it than my faulty memory had been telling me. Enough for some sort of long sleeved top and no more. I have need, or at least want, of orange clothing for this coming Saturday, so I settled on making a button necked pullover. I could have just made a skivvy, but that felt too boring. So I added a neck opening and buttons. Not my best design decision ever. Pullover + buttons + long hair = trouble. Oh well, I like the look and I have a long standing fondness for Henley type jersey shirts.

I put a lot of thought into the construction method. The fabric is medium weight and very stretchy. I have a poor history of getting machine top stitching to behave on such fabric, other than my standard twin needle hem. I was right to worry. I got the neck facing sewn down but not as neatly as I would have liked. I tried applying the first button loop by machine but it did so not go well. The rest got applied by hand.

The button loops are made from a simple three element braid of “tapestry” woolen yarn in appropriate colours. I plaited it, then steamed and cooled it to minimise unravelling.

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Here is a close up of the neck. The grey shell buttons have previously done service on another shirt.

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And on, both buttoned and un.

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Not the most flattering shots. I was suffering from tshirt hem build up. I have another skivvy of the same cut, plus a short sleeved cotton T under that. It’s cold!

William Morris Shirt

Or “Mama shirt stage three, the real thing”.

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This post is just me showing I did make up that lovely William Morris fabric for Mama, mentioned in my earlier posts Mama shirt: stage two, trial shirt  Mama shirt: stage one, the pattern

Also skiting* about my best ever pattern matching effort across the front.

Thankfully, she likes it, and has even collected a random compliment already.

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*hmm, it turns out this is local slang. Means boasting, showing off.

 

Sock pair #28

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Yup, this is the 28th pair of socks I have knitted. I’d forgotten the count had got so high. This pair has taken a while to knit. I started them on the New Zealand trip back in January. I usually knit socks only in trains, planes and waiting rooms various. I obviously haven’t been doing much of that recently.

There are several experiments here. Lots of design decisions all to make socks for travelling that dry quickly. They are also short so they take up less luggage room. I’ve used slightly larger size needles (2.75mm) than normal (2.5mm). Fewer stitches to balance that of course. The yarn, by Araucania, is on the fine side of 4ply.  I don’t have the colour name or code ’cause I can’t find the label. I think it might be old stock though because I bought it about a year ago as an oddment at a yarn market and couldn’t find it on the net when I looked then. I’ve also knitted them very plain to enhance drying, including my first Fleegle heel, which is shaped like a slip stitch heel, but is just flat knitting. I’ll wear them for a bit to see how they go while I knit up a more standard pair for a friend.

 

Out of Season

This is a summer garment even though where I am it’s now very much winter. Sometimes a length of cloth states so firmly what it wants to be, that one may as well just make it up. The last three times I opened the stash cupboard, this linen said “Ahem, I will be a summer shift dress please. See, I’m a lovely cool open weave in calm, cool colours. Really. You can even use that bodice pattern you are so keen on right now” *. So, I did as it said. I pressed the cloth and cut it out. Laid it aside while I had a lovely house guest. Then made it up over the last couple of days.

Yes, that’s the same bodice as the last few dresses, only this time with no darts and with the side seam angled out to dress cloth width (~112cm). Shirt tail hem. The front has a shaped facing and front slit for visual interest. The back has a deep, lined yoke with a centre seam. This way, the whole thing could be sewn by machine, using the turn-through-the-shoulder method. The neckline and shoulder seam have straight grain tape stabilising them. I’ve used no interfacing otherwise. That back pleat was not intended. I stuffed up when cutting the back yoke and forgot to angle out those short sides so I lost a little width. Oh well, the pleat looks good anyway.

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I did put some care into placement of the huge checks. There wasn’t quite enough fabric to allow full matching of the checks front to back. However it did work if I inverted the back skirt piece and matched the white stripe. Neater than no matching at all anyway.

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I won’t normally make pretend things on garments. Closures that don’t open, buttons that don’t fasten, pocket type trim without actual pockets. I broke my rule. These buttons are simply sewn on to close the slit and look pretty. It just seemed the thing that would lift what would have otherwise been a more boring garment.

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So now this fabric is happy and has stopped yelling at me, I can move on to the next thing.

*no, fabric doesn’t really talk to me. Not out loud anyway. It does seem to be opinionated at times though :-).

“Nothing” to wear

I had an appointment coming up in corporate land. Having gone to this office a few times now, I’m finally aware that it’s heated so much that I will overheat in anything more than shirt sleeves. I quite seriously had nothing in the wardrobe in which I was willing to be seen, in shirt sleeves, in corporate land. This was made to fill that gap.

It’s the same pullover pattern as the last few dresses, but with a deeper neckline and made out of very fine wool suiting. So a corporate friendly pinafore dress. I think I’ve cut it just high enough to wear as a dress alone, but it’s on the roomy side so I can wear a variety of shirts and/or jumpers under it.

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I’ve put a tab and buttons on each side to make it follow the figure a little more.  This basically replaces an underbust dart. If the fabric were any heavier, this closure would be too bulky I think.

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This picture shows the fabric better. It’s a pleasing teeny tiny woven check in chocolate brown and black. I’ve stab stitched the neckline to preserve the nice soft edge. Machine top stitching would have squashed the character out of the fabric.  The lining is top quality Bemberg rayon cut from a too small petticoat I made years ago. It’s wonderful stuff to wear but the slitheriest fabric I’ve ever sewn.

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Here it is, with my serious face on. Only sometimes do I remember to smile for these pics.  It’s lovely to wear. Really comfortable and nicely swishy with it’s full circle skirt. After the meeting, still in town, I collected a welcome compliment on the ensemble, from a lady who turned out to be a fellow dressmaker. Sweet.

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New Nightshirt

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This feels a little like showing pictures of my underwear. It’s quite decent though really. It’s a modest garment and I’m not even modelling it.

Some people like pyjamas, some people prefer nothing. I like voluminous white nightgowns. I find them comfy, and I can pretend I’m a historical figure or a character from a book :-).  I’ve been making them myself for years, because although one can buy the sort of thing I like, they are jolly expensive. My current favourite winter one is just a loose, ankle length shirt. So I decided I’d make another like it. It’s my standard shirt pattern cut a little wider under the arms and with the side seams angled out to use the full (only 112cm wide) fabric width. I’ve learned finally not to put lace on the hem, it ends up too bulky to be comfortable. So this is just a shirt tail hem with the back intentionally a bit longer.

The fabric is a flannelly cotton/linen blend (or so I presume, it’s certainly cellulose fibre and feels very much like some cotton/linen I had years ago). It feels a little heavy initially but goes beautifully soft on working.  I have a bolt of it from a warehouse closing sale. So if I like it, I have a lifetime supply of winter nightgown fabric.

If I’d thought more about the lace placement before I made the button placket, I’d have done a matching point. Oh well. Ah yes, the placket is a different fabric, a plain shirt weight linen. I was concerned that the flannel would come out too bulky with all the folds that this sort of placket generates.

I must say, applying that lace at the end of the cuff, enclosed in the seam was a rather more complicated affair than I expected. I’m happy I made it work though there was a bit of unpicking and changes of plan needed before we got there.

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a few steps back

but a decision has at least been made on the lattice patchwork. I’d stalled for a week or so, trying to finally decide whether to use the sun block or not.  I was never sure it was the right thing and for some reason a couple of the edge pieces refused to line up. Then I found that I had stuffed up and made it about 7mm too small in both dimensions. That’s it. Three strikes and you’re out. Three bits of dubiousness or disappointment and that element I’m trying to make work is rejected. I won’t throw it out, I’m sure it will find a home in another project eventually.

So. The new plan is to replace the sun area with more lattice blocks. Not a huge issue and I’m feeling much happier about this. I just need to make 16 extra blocks, which I’ve just cut the fabric for.  I now need 196 blocks in total, of which I’ve made 160. 36 to go. Quite doable.

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Out of paper error (or method in my madness)

Some of you are going to get really sick of this quilt, some probably already are. Others might enjoy the progress updates. I feel like sharing my excitement about this next stage. Look away if you are bored.

At 125 blocks, I ran out of papers. So I decided to be brave and start joining the blocks so I can liberate papers for the next blocks, rather than cutting yet more papers. This is exciting but a bit scary because I want to have a fairly even distribution of fabrics, and if I introduce any more before I finish making blocks, I might end up with a concentration in a section. So… I decided to make sections of 4×4 blocks so they can be switched about and there will be gaps and edges to add to later. Each of these sections will liberate enough papers for another 9 blocks.

The next decision was how to arrange the blocks. There is a system of fabric/colour arrangement within each block. I’ve learned over my years of patchwork, that to achieve a pleasing balance of colour, one needs there to be order. Random doesn’t deliver the look I want. So my initial set of fabrics were split into four sets. These are very roughly designated as Pales, Reds, Oranges and Blues. One of each has been used in the same order for every block. This spreads the colours out and makes it easier to avoid having the same fabrics adjacent.

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As block production progressed, I also decided to make four blocks of each fabric arrangement and split those into four sets of blocks, from which I build the sections. Just another contribution to achieving a good spread of fabrics.

After several trials, I decided to arrange the blocks with each one in the same orientation. It puts each “colour” furthest from it’s fellows and was the option deemed least likely to cause a stuff up. Here is the first section assembled. So good to see it all neat as well as madly colourful:

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and then with the tacking threads removed on all but the edge most pieces. It looks so crisp!

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and again after the papers have been removed. Softer and more like it will end up. Still gorgeous if I do say so myself. Tee hee, without meaning to, each of these pictures has the section a different way up.

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A pic from the back, with the stack of liberated papers ready for reuse.

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