Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Confessions from My Stash

Whilst mooching through my lovely fabric collection for some more fabric to make some work trousers, I came across some grey wool fabric.  It is quite soft, about 3.5m in length, and I started thinking about it . . . . and when I purchased it.  Let me tell you my story - then you can tell me your fabric confessions!

I knew that I bought it from the Birmingham Rag Market (UK) when I needed to make some office appropriate clothes for a new job.  I knew that 3.5m would make me a jacket and a skirt, possibly trousers.  So far, so good.

Hey, I hear you say, so you didn't get to make a suit then - that's not so bad.  Until you put some dates to this. . . . . . First of all, I moved to Canada nearly 10 years ago - and I know I brought the fabric across the pond with me.  I joined the Police in 1996 - and I certainly didn't need any suits for that.  My previous job was office based, and I was there for about three years - yep, I'm thinking 1993.  At the earliest.

The trousers are my usual TNT pattern and this time I added a very thin tuck in the centre of each leg piece to make them look as though they have very sharp creases!  I actually did this with my uniform trousers when I was a Police Constable and was warned that I could be put on a charge for damaging Police property ::sigh::  It meant that I could was my trousers and as soon as they were dry - they were ready to wear - no starching and pressing, making the fabric all nasty and shiny for me!

The purple velvet is also of an age - but I don't remember when I bought it.   would say at least 15 years ago . . . . . . !  Wow!  So - how do you like my new vintage outfit?!

Whilst I am here - let me share one more pair of trousers that I made recently.  I only wore them once and as the fabric was so loosely woven, they tore apart along the centre front seam.  I should have added a thin strip of interfacing along the centre front and centre seams prior to sewing up - and I will remember that for whatever garment I make from the leftovers.  Here are a few pics for you - I wore both of these pairs of trousers whilst modelling my jackets here.

Can you see the repair above?!

And how about you - are you carrying any vintage fabric in your collection?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Disappointment Averted!

I recently wrote about the disappointment I faced after making a few cardis from some Ponte de Roma fabric, purchased from my local Fabricland.  The fabric was lovely and soft, had a great drape, a nice amount of stretch and came in some FABULOUS colors.  So I bought loads of it - red, fushia, blue, chartreuse, cream, black (not all at the same time you understand!) and made up some great tops using McCalls 6168.


Sadly, the fabric pilled quickly - after just one wearing, the cream jacket has pilled so much around the cuffs that I can't wear it anymore.

Sew, this week I spent time making up the tops again in fabric with a very high cotton content, and I couldn't be more thrilled!

As you can see, I have manged to duplicate all the previous tops, with the exception of the chartreuse one - when I see a cotton knit in the same colour . . . I will make one of those too!  Oh, and the black one.  I picked up a cotton/lycra knit today, but I am waiting until I get a cover-stitch machine (hopefully in the next few weeks) before using this fabric as it is quite thin.  I do have another fabric that would work well, a black embossed velvet, so that should be making an appearance soon!

Here are some more pics . . . . !

Le Purple Velvet Smoking Jacket - Prince eat your heart out!  I changed out the front of this jacket, and rather than have a button band and a round neck, I took out about 1.5" off each of the fronts and then sewed on a band that has a centre back seam.  More about this fabric in a post later this week.

Tomatoes/tomatoes - ribbed 100% cotton, regular neckline

True Blue Baby - I Love You! Cotton with a smidge of lycra - altered neckline with attached band.

A Study in White - This is the same fabric as True Blue above, and also has the altered neckline with a band.  I am thinking of leaving buttons off this one but sewing some beads around the band.

I rather like the smaller white glass beads at the top, the large ones are gold lined glass beads and I think that they are a bit ostentatious and big.  I am looking for subtlety!

Finally Fushia - again, the same fabric as True Blue and Study in White.  I may need to re-hem the bottom as I sewed a narrow hem that is wanting to turn out and is not happy about lying flat!

Sorry about the flushed face in these pics - I had just had a shower and I think I was still rather warm!

Incidentally, the reason why I had the time to get all this sewing done, as well as my PJ's, is that Mr. SDSC and I took a week of work.  Just like that.  For no real reason except that we wanted too.  And it was great!  We had a couple of things that needed doing - dogs to the vets to get their teeth cleaned etc., but on the whole we chilled and did what we wanted - went out to dinner, saw an exhibition and I sewed, sewed and sewed!

Back to work on Monday, and a return to weekend sewing,  I find it hard to get motivated to sew after a long day at work, but I do have some ideas brewing - I rather fancy making Tilly's new Coco Dress, and I also wanted to make some garments out of some lovely wool that I picked up this last week.  What about you - what do you have brewing?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

I've made more PJ's
How about YOU?!

I know.  I spent an inordinate amount of time working on that little verse, and quite frankly - it was not worth it.  But hey.  Two more pairs of PJ's made!

Roses are Red:

This reminds me of the fabric used to make Laura Ashley dresses in the '80's.  They were out of my price range then, but I always fancied one of those gorgeous, floaty, cotton dresses . . . and here I am, making PJ's out of similar fabric!  Boy, I am one happening chick!!  Although 100% cotton, and 45" wide, this is not quilting cotton.  In fact, the weave is not as tight as quilting cotton - not as many 'threads per inch' - but is is very drapey.  If it was a more expensive fabric it would be a lawn, but it was from the 'last seasons fabrics' section of my local fabric shop, and it is rather lovely.  The background is coffee coloured with pretty red roses and greenery. 



There is nothing at all different with the construction of these PJ's, although they have highlighted the fact that I need to purchase some more funky coloured buttons rather than using plain white!

Violets are Blue:

Another 100% cotton fabric, quite thin and a bit stiffer than the other fabrics I have used so far . . . I am hoping it will soften up with washing and wearing . . . . !

So there we have it.  Some lovely PJ's to keep me looking decent whilst chilling at home!  I think I will make some summery ones - cropped legs, short sleeves and made from linen.  Watch this space!  In the meantime, I think that I am going to to make some more of cardi/jackets to replace the pilled ponte versions.  I have some bright red ribbed cotton fabric, some white and some blue cotton/lycra and some sumptuous stretch cotton velvet in deep purple.  Woohoo!

Monday, February 17, 2014

McCalls 6840 - Big Top PJ's

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentleman - come on in for the time of your life!  The fabric on these latest PJ's reminds me of the fabric on a circus tent:

It is actually a lovely, good quality, quilting fabric with a very smooth finish and sews up beautifully.  I chose view B for this top, and I am thrilled with it.  I have to say that I was somewhat underwhelmed with view C, and the finish of view B is more the look that I was after.

I made a few (minor) changes to this pattern - I only used the collar stand - these are PJ's after all and whilst I love the concealed button band, I kept it simple with this pattern and omitted it - along with the front pocket.  As I did not want buttoned cuffs on this shirt, I straightened the cuff edge on the sleeves and finished them as below.

Construction wise,  I inverted my back pleat - I thought that it would create less bulk in the back that way, but also give me the additional fabric for comfort.  I also use the 'sausage' or 'burrito' technique to attach the yokes as I like to have smooth, machine finished seams on my yokes.

Other than that, I did my usual faux fell seams and this time round I turned up my hems twice and stitched down really close to the fold.  I used a 'stitch in the ditch' foot with the needle offset by two 'thingys' (I am not sure what the measurements are when I offset my needles, I can move it 6 thingys to either the left or the right, and I don't think that it is milimetres) and I am really pleased with the finish. I also used the automatic buttonholer on my machine this time (I finally got it to work/understood how to get it to work) rather than pulling out and setting up my Featherweight. The buttonholes are not as good quality, but they are certainly good enough to grace my PJ's!

My bottoms are my usual TNT pants, sewn with just a 5/8" side seam, giving me lots of room!

This lovely pink teddy is my childhood teddy.  Called Ted.

I have two more pairs to make - I will be cutting them out today using this fabric.

Now I can hear you asking why am I making sew many pairs?  Well, when Mr. SDSC and I get home from work/get up at the weekends, and we are done with our chores/jobs/shopping/dog walking etc, on come the PJ's . . . . . and these are the sad excuse that I have been wearing lately:



Oh yes, I need new PJ's badly!!  Pattern Review can be found here.

A quick, closing photo - whilst I was taking my photos, two of our hounds were taking a very close interest indeed!