Monday, 27 March 2017

Grainline Grey Marl Driftless Cardigan

I'm really getting back into the swing of this blogging lark! (ooh look Grainline joke!) Its timely too, because i'm blogging another Grainline success! I know you know i'm obsessed with pretty much every pattern they've created and I was desperate to try Driftless, I loved all the different versions popping up around the blogosphere but i'd seen a cardigan in Mint Velvet, (a really great UK store, they focus on pale tones and high quality fabrics,) sadly the high quality part puts them right out of my price range, with a cardigan setting you back around £70 plus! I'd seen this one in store and immediately thought of Driftless. 
I knew the length would be a bit much for me and I do already own a darker grey cardi from ebay at this length. I went stash diving and found a slightly brushed grey marl jersey, I think it might've been bought at the Minerva meetup.
Excuse the teapot pose, I was trying to show the pocket in action, if you will...
One of the features i'd seen recently on a rtw cardigan was leaving the sleeves raw and letting the jersey roll. So thats what I did with this one. I like it as an effect, but it bugs the sewist in me, i'll live with it and see what happens... 
As you can imagine on a wearability scale, a grey cardigan is off the charts! It goes with everything, I'm particularly loving it with mint and pale pink. I already have two more cut out and ready to go!
What are your wardrobe heroes?

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Triumph Over Sewing Fear: Deer and Doe Safran Jeans!

"Hey, look! Pants!"
 "What about them?"
 "Nothing... Just (I made) Pants!"

Is anybody else in love with the film Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium? I decided Edward Magorium, toy aficionado and avid shoe wearer pretty much summed up how excited I am about actually making a pair of wearable pants! (ok trousers, jeans or whatever you call 'em but still!)
This has been my sewing nemesis for a long ol' while. I've been stalking the blogosphere, cooing over perfect pockets and terrific topstitching! These my friends, are none of those things. Nevertheless I'm proud of myself for throwing down the gauntlet and giving it a go.
My main beef with trousers in general, are my laughably short, hobbitlike legs. Elfen lilithness, I have none. 
I didn't make any attempt to shorten Safran. This means the shaping at the knee and downwards are off... Way off... as in I had to cut them off because I'm so damned short! This is not a mistake I will make again as I have adjusted my pattern and I shortened at the correct place 14cm... 14cm!!! No wonder they look weird! Still excited I made them though!
I'm pretty pleased with the rest of these jeans. I used a remnant piece of denim I still had knocking about from an old Minerva project. (Denim skirt here if your interested, yeesh it needed a press!)
I would've used something with a bit more stretch, but I wanted to invest little in my first go as I anticipated the results to be far worse than they are. The fit is tight, but with the right stretch percentage, these would be comfy enough for daily wear. I also haven't washed these yet, so they have the potential to soften over time. I did wear them to a recent Fabric Godmother Open Day, helping out with the fabric cutting and I managed to bend and stretch without feeling uber restricted.
The fly was a bit of a baptism of fire on this one. I have done them in the past on a Moss skirt. But god knows how I managed to get the result I did. I used the Safran instructions initially, then Katie suggested a Sandra Betzina Threads video which I watched. I just couldn't get the fly flat enough to not gape open. I then invested in Heather of Closet Case Patterns Jeans Class. It all just clicked. I unpicked my threadknotted mess and tried it her way and huzzah it worked! I have to admit, the Sandra Betzina video was great, I just didn't offset the zipper as you would in jeans, but its worth a look to help with the process. Basting the front together was inspired!
This picture really shows my knee issues. I have what I affectionately call, carrot legs. They are wide at the top and narrow pretty quickly. When I make another pair i'm hoping I won't have to do too much adjustment. I pegged these down a little from the knee but I will make sure I adjust the pattern next time. 
A few whiskers, but I'm tilted here and I think the fit through the tummy and even around the back pleasantly surprised me. I may do a full front thigh adjustment, but I think the stretch factor in the next pair may help.
I loved the ingeniousness of the pockets on Safran. I am hesitant to call them jeans in a traditional sense. I think they would look amazing as work trousers in a nice hefty stretch drill. I'm calling these a denim pant. I ommitted topstitching on these. Primarily as they were my first try but secondly because I'd left my second machine at my Mum's. I have now retrieved it as I'm excited to embark properly on the Ginger Jeans Class. 
All in all, i'm calling these a win because hey! I learnt to make a wearable pair of pants and that is a huge personal achievement! 
What in your sewing life has been your nemesis project?

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Merckwaerdigh Pants MIX30

Morning Lovelies! I bring to you yet more underoos! This is the knicker pattern for Merckwaerdigh Mix 30. I have had this pattern forever and to be honest these knickers have been cut and sat in a bag forever! I finally got the courage to whip them up just before I endeavoured onto my Harriet Bra.
Merckwaerdigh are an interesting pattern company. They sell kits, supplies and their own pattern designs. I wasn't enamoured with the 80s styling of the pattern designs when I first found them. But the designs are sound and i've seen some amazingly beautiful versions of their patterns sewn up around the interwebs. Here is the pattern image for MIX30. I've been dying to make the bra but I'm not sure if I hacked into the pattern in my naive days and screwed it up. Fingers crossed I just added seam allowance.

The knickers i've made are the hipster ones pictured in pink and blue. They are deceptively high in those sketches and to be honest they sit much more naturally on me. I'd call them a hipster. The little hip crossover detail is a nice touch and worked really well with plain fabric and my damned crazy lace (also purchased a million years ago from their website.)

These remind me of my skull pansy blazer, skirt combo. Who knew i'd ever be able to say I could liken that fabric to anything else? Its crazy.
The pink elastic was out of necessity but actually I quite like a red and pink contrast. The back design incorporated the back of the lace, freefloating across the hip. I like this feature, but the stretch of the lace is not the same as the spandexey jersey below and so it pulls a little when wearing. Not uncomfortably so but I notice it.
I didn't really use the instructions for these as they are pretty self explanatory. I may make them again in the future, but right now I have some Evie La Luve and Ohh Lulu pants patterns i'm desperate to try. I'd better start clearing out my underwear drawer to make way!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Ode to Grainline... The Lark Tee

Oh Grainline, how I love thee...
Thats pretty much how my brain works whenever I pick up anything from Grainline ever. 
Everything i've made has been something that is staple in my wardrobe. In fact, I often find myself thinking why didn't I make more of those? 
Heres what I've made by Grainline so far in my sewing career:
Archer Shirt x 3
Tiny Pocket Tank
Moss Skirt
Scout Tee
and now I have another to add to the list! Lark!
Now we all know my love for a jersey tee is beyond all other kinds of love. I can whip them up in a couple of hours and wear them until they fall apart. I have several Renfrews and Plantains are in high rotation, some of which have been going for years! I didn't feel I really needed Lark for that exact reason, but then I decided to purchase it in one of Jen's rare pattern sales 
(Along with the Morris Blazer, Maritime Shorts and Lakeside PJs, watch this space for those soon!)
I love Grainline's drafting. They seem to fit very true to size, their instructions are clear and to the point with excellent diagrams and further clarification on the blog should you need it. Plus they really are wardrobe staples!
I will now admit this Lark is way to big... Why? I went with my old measurements and promptly forgot that i'd lost quite a bit of weight. Ooops.
This is still totally wearable. Truth is, I wanted to be cautious. There is nothing worse than sewing something too small and I treated this as a wearable muslin. I got tons of this fabric in a swap years ago and i've never used it because I wasn't sure it was "me" It seemed sort of overly girly. I'd wear each of these colours individually but I wasn't sure about them all together and floral.
Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. I do wear this top, although its not the first thing I reach for every morning. The floral is not too overwhelming and I'm hoping it will also look nice with some grey jeans i've bought recently. 
The great thing about this pattern, as with the good old Renfrew, is that it comes with 3 different sleeve lengths, 3 different necklines and all of them are individual pattern pieces so you can mix and match to your hearts content. This is the Scoop neck, Long sleeved variation. 
(I like long sleeves pulled to my elbow when i'm warm,) 
but I can't wait to try the classy boatneck version.
Have you made Lark? Do you have 500 versions in your own wardrobe? 
I can see it going that way for me!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Seamwork Mesa Dress

Hi Lovelies, 
I'm bringing you another make that should have been blogged 100 years ago. So much so that I would argue that its got a bit big with weight loss. Ah well, here is Seamwork Magazine's Mesa.
I made this as a basic for winter. I live in Mabel skirts and simple jersey shift dresses around the colder months of the year. They are my super secret pyjamas especially when teamed with leggings and boots. Being in and out of buildings and different classrooms it helps to layer up!
I found that the Mesa is a bit more sacklike than I would like and so I have belted it here. I normally would style it with a long belted cardigan and a big scarf but you don't get to see a lot of the dress that way so I left that off for photos.
I have a love hate relationship with Seamwork. At first I was loving the two patterns every month but the last 6 months or so I feel that the patterns have felt like more of an afterthought and I haven't spent my credits for a very long time. In the end I was pleased you could redeem 3 for a Colette Pattern. I ended up getting Aster, Laurel and Wren. None of these patterns are ones I would've purchased but I'm happy enough to try them out for a few credits I had extra.
I'd love to know what others feel about Seamwork and Colette at the moment as I'm not sure they are the same quality of company they used to be.
Mr. Piemaker bought me a tripod for Christmas to get me back into blogging but it took some doing getting used to using my remote and everything again. I decided to get a bit silly and try some new poses. (Having some Bruno Mars on in the background helped!)
This pattern was an easy, quick and dirty kind of project. If I was to make this again I would make a size down and I would go for a patterned jersey. I made it in a ponte and it was a nice choice but it felt a bit uncomfortable and a bit dull. This could have been the quality of the ponte but I think it was just a bit too structured for me. This is evident in the sleeve head which could be partly pattern based. I tried to counteract this by trimming the excess in the seam but it made very little difference. 
I have to say I like the last picture I took. I feel like I look like a Hogwarts wizard with my remote wand!
Have you made Mesa? What do you think about sewing Seamwork Patterns?

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Harriet Bra and Geneva Knickers

You guys! I've been sewing! To be honest I never left the Blogosphere, i've been lying low you could say. 
So whats new? I'm now Mrs. Piemaker! We got married on the 3rd of September and the run up pretty much left me totally exhaustiflated not much time for anything really. 
(We still haven't received our photos but when we do that is a post for another day.)

At the start of 2017 I made the decision to start doing more things that made me happy and one of the biggest things i'd missed recently was blogging and connecting with all the lovely people in this little corner of the interwebs. 
So i'm back. I have a backlog of projects to blog but my output this year is going to be focused on more long term goals in my sewing than sheer magnitude.
In the time since I last popped my head in, I've lost quite a bit of weight. I did it mainly for the wedding but i'm still keeping with it, so a lot of clothes had to go, including some well loved me mades. I'm working on building my skills this year so that I can make more wearable garments that last.
Now on to todays main event!
I made a freaking bra guys!

This has been on my to do list for like ever.
I bought some kits way back in 2013 but never had the confidence to give it a go. I decided this week that it was a totally irrational fear and with the release of the stunning Harriet Bra from Cloth Habit, i dug out this Electric Blue Kit from Sewing Chest (No longer available, well it was years ago!) and got cracking.
Now I'm not clever enough to have just done this by mere instructions alone, no no I had bought the Beverly Johnson's Sewing Bras, Construction and Fit Craftsy Class a while ago and watched it in stages. I made sure before I started, I watched the whole construction portion of the video and I made an order of construction with my own diagram to help me along,
then I tackled the cutting. 
Bra making really does look scary without a kit and when I attempted it all those years ago I bought various bits of cupro and elastic expecting it to all make sense, it totally didn't and I still have some half cut up bras that are wasted because I didn't have the right tools. Trust me lovelies, buy a bra kit first. It made it so much easier having everything to hand!
After watching the class I used some cute post it notes to label each elastic I had so that I wouldn't grab the wrong one whilst sewing. Then I set up my laptop with the instructions, (great to scroll up and down quickly,) put on some soothing, relaxing music from Spotify and set to it. 
This took me about 8 hours from cutting to finish over two days so all in all not too bad timewise. 
Beverly Johnson says at the end of the class if you finish and you've got cup issues there isn't a lot that can be done unless you want to cut up your bra, its more a pattern issue. So I went in to this expecting an unwearable bra. 
I was half right. I used the high bust and bust measurement to determine my bra size and it came out at a 38D. My ready to wear recently has been a 36/34 D so I was a little surprised. I persevered and low and behold my band was too big and my cup could do with going down too.
It is wearable but more as an "in house" bra although I am surprised at the comfort already even when its a little large!
There won't be any photos of me in it as I don't fancy that doing the rounds at the school I work at thank ya very much! But here it is on Evelyn who is a size 16.
Its much more flattering on her! 
I also had some issues with the sides. They seem very high up into my underarm so I might take a little out from the outer cup. I also had some wrinkling at the top of the cup indicating the cup is too large. In my next go I will cut a 36C and see if that corrects it. If not, I think taking out some seam between the upper and inner cup may help.
I felt that after all that effort making a bra it would be silly not to have something to match it.
These are the Geneva panties from Seamwork. These are made from a knicker kit I bought with my bra kit all those years ago from Sewing Chest. I'm one of those people that buys 2 pairs of pants for every bra then forgets to wear them together! 
I think I have to re-evaluate my sizing on things since I lost weight. I wasn't thinking when I cut an XL in these. I could easily have cut a medium, they are huge! Wearable but again more in the house than out on the town. 
(Hah as if we do that anymore!)
These went together like a dream and left me wondering why on earth I haven't attempted underwear before. I wanted to keep the scallops on the lace visible so the waistband elastic is sewn in pieces rather than one band. As it turns out I would've been just as happy without the scallops but by the time I thought about it i'd run out of my blue picot.
I'm chalking this down to a learning experience but i've totally got the undies making bug!
I bought a couple more kits from Elise Patterns to try out and I'm going to focus on getting Harriet fitting just right (oh would you look at that they have an electric blue kit just like mine!)
I can't speak highly enough of the Clothspot Harriet Pattern, her instructions are great with detailed diagrams and the steps don't overwhelm you. I can't wait to make another!
* This post was featured in Social Sew and Emerald Erin's Bra News

Monday, 21 March 2016

Completed: Grainline Hemlock...

Hi all, jumping in with a quick and speedy project today, yet another Grainline pattern,
(sorry not sorry.) I love Jen's patterns and they are a slightly different aesthetic to my closer fitting makes but man, I love every pattern of hers I've ever made and most of them are worn regularly 
(Archer, Hemlock, Scout, Moss and Tiny Pocket Tank are all on my completed list.) I am turning slightly fangirl with Grainline but hey, they work for me!
Hemlock is a FREE! pattern that was released a little while back, just in one size which for someone like me (Size 14 on top) strikes horror into my heart. I printed this out and put it on the back burner for a while thinking I would have to grade it up but when I bought 3m of this ahhhmazing grey and neon pink jersey from Fabric Godmother. I knew I was going to have to make myself a top (or three.) I knew it wouldn't be as drapey and oversized as it is on Jen but I wanted to test the water with a closer fit anyway, I'm not sure if off the shoulder is for me.
 I measured the bust of the hemlock pattern and realised that with the stretch in the jersey I'd probably be ok. I had it cut and sewn in a couple of hours! All in all the fit is pretty much where I wanted it.

Now I'll go back to my original comment about my aesthetic. My bust and hips are wide. They are balanced by a proportionally smaller waist which I take full advantage of. This top doesn't allow me to do that, as a loose (ish) fitting shape does nothing for flattering curves.
That being said I really enjoy wearing this top and the drop shoulders are a style feature I really like, maybe this style is something I could warm to? Its so comfy and I wore it all weekend so I can see it being in regular rotation.
There are a couple of changes I might make:
Being such a shortarse the sleeves just hit my wrists instead of mid forearm, I prefer this and might lengthen them a smidge more to get the balance right with the dropped shoulder seam. I may try it graded up larger to see how I like the drapey effect, I don't think its worth skimming in at the waist as that would take away from the style of the pattern. I could potentially shorten the hem as I did quite a wide invisible hem and it drags ever so slightly. I think my next incarnation of this pattern may be in a plain colour, it could be luscious in a dark indigo blue silk jersey! This could work really well with a really large loud print too!

Fabric: 3m of Grey and Neon Pink Striped Jersey £7pm in Fabric Godmother Sale £21
(still loads left!)
Notions: Thread Fabric Godmother £1.75
Total: £22.75
Wearability: 8/10 I love wearing it, but the shape might have to grow on me a bit! I'll make sure not to count any more yardage of this fabric if I make something else with it, if I can squeeze 3 tops out of it then this top is more like £8.75 to make which is probably a bit less than I would've paid for it on the high street.
Have you made Hemlock? How did it work for your body?