Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Sewing

By the time this post is let loose on the world, the Christmas sewing that I have completed will have been gifted, and I will be settling down after Christmas dinner with my husband and father, a G&T in my hand and some new sewing books to pore over (please Santa!)  A small but enjoyable gathering and I trust that your day will have been just as enjoyable.

Time to share some projects!

When we were in Canmore in October we passed a small shop that had some lovely flannel nightshirts on display.  Mr. SDSC said at the time that he would like a nightshirt and so I was on a mission.  I used Simplicity 2317, which features regular PJ's, a jersey vest and shorts, as well as a nightshirt.  My local fabric chain was selling some lovely Canadiana flannel at a great price - so I was good to go!  I used the XL size which will be on the large side - but I suspect that this will also be worn as a dressing gown.  I made a couple of changes to the pattern/construction:
  • lengthened it by about 5", Mr. SDSC is 6ft tall
  • no piping.  Just because.
  • serged the collar to the neckline.  I like to top and edge stitch the seams, rather like a faux flat felted seam (I actually have seen it called a welt seam)
  • plastic 'poppers' instead of buttons
  • pockets added to the side seams - who wouldn't want pockets in the side seams?
  • hand-stitched the facings down.  I know that this will not be ironed, and there is nothing worse than 'flappy facings', so it took an hour or so to sew the facings down and I am pleased that I did that.

It is hard to make it look good on my dress-form - but you get the idea!

I know that the closures don't look perfectly spaced at the top - I just wanted there to be a couple of options of how high the neckline could be.

I know it is a little bit vain, but I do enjoy adding a label.  I have found that the folks that I do make things for tend to look for the labels and appear to be a little disappointed if I have failed to include one :)

Next up was a pair of socks for Mr. SDSC.  Nothing special about them other than the yarn is rather fabulous.  It is self-striping from Regia and this is the second pair that I have made using this yarn.  It is fab!

Oh no, what is that I can see in the grey stripe?  Yep, a dropped stitch.  Dangnabbit.  Oh well, It is all tidied up now!

My father is quite hard to make/shop for, but when I was at a quilting fair this year I saw a remembrance quilt by a Canadian designer called Corinne Hewitt which I thought he would appreciate, so I bought a kit called 'Lest We Forget'.   Again I made a couple of changes - left out the lettering (I think that it is rather poignant without the lettering), changed the headwear of the soldier to look more British (my father is a retired British Army Officer).  I used the profile of a WW1 memorial in Wales for reference (scroll down the link until you get to the profile photo at the bottom), and am rather pleased with how it came out:

The three poppies in the field (bottom right) are small, red buttons.  The four poppies in the corners are made up of two layers of poppy petals and a black button in the middle.  I kept the Canadian flag as my father is very proud of now being a Canadian citizen and this is a lovely marriage of the two Countries.  I have added a sleeve to the back so that he can hand it if he likes - it is 25" x 36".  Oh, and this photo was taken two or three days ago - as you can see, a nice dry deck.  Would you like to see what my garden looks like now?

Winter has arrived!  I'm not too sure how excited the dogs are, but I am looking forward to a white Christmas!

Each Winter I plan to make some table runners and never seem to get round to it - but this year, I did.  Both are free patterns:

Ah yes, just look at that lovely, fresh snow.  The light at this time of year can be pretty dull and it therefore hard to get good photos, but this works!  This is a really quick and easy project and I used up some of my Mum's quilting fabric which I enjoyed doing,  I kept the borders very plain - I rather like the modern esthetic of a skinny binding, and that is it.

There are a few different ways to finish off this topper - I chose to use pinwheels and to go 'scrappy' using red and green fabric although not necessarily Christmas fabrics.  I love this!

The white flecks on the photos are falling snow - it was snowing when I took the photos!

Unfortunately I didn't get chance to sew any Christmas clothing - but I am still off work for another 9 days so I am sure that that will change!  Do you have any Christmas sewing that you'd like to share?

Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Restyling Patricia

Over the last few months I have made a few Patricia Skirts (Tina Givens - who else?!).  The pattern is for a dropped yoke with a gathered skirt attached and then the hem is pulled in and sewn to a band.  It has a very funky balloon or pegged (thank-you Lorie for the description!) look.

So far, so good.  Well, not really.  The skirts have been sitting in the back of my wardrobe - feeling a little unloved, so I set about determining what the issue is and fixing it.

It turns out that there are two issues - one is that I clearly walk like an Amazon with big ground-covering strides, and the hem band is rather restrictive.  I found this especially so when getting in and out of the car, stepping over lounging dogs - you get the picture!  Also, the skirt has no pockets.  Well, my version doesn't.  I changed the pattern a little to make the yoke one piece with an elasticated waist, so no side seams.  One of the joys of making my own clothes is to add pockets, usually inseam.  To everything. Well. Almost!

To fix the first issue, I made a couple of the skirts with an elasticated hemline - thereby keeping the shape of the skirt, and yet making it more 'walkable'.

This is a lovely Royal Stewart Tartan in brushed cotton and is lovely to wear.

In order for this to work - I need to have gathered the bottom skirt onto the yoke.  However, what about the skirts that I had pleated onto the yoke?  I find this a lot quicker and easier than gathering, so I needed another solution.  I noticed that another designer, Krista Larson has a similar RTW design with an unrestricted hemline - so that was the way to go. I cut off the original hem treatment and a simple single fold bias binding attached with a triple stitch zigzig was all that was needed:

This is the first skirt that I changed, and as I did not have any of the chocolate linen/rayon, I dug around and found some co-ordinating linen with a stripe pattern.  The hem looked a little strange being in a different colour, but when a scrap was added down the side over part of the ruffle, and a patch pocket was sewn to the yoke it looked much better - and solved my second issue!

Sorry about the colour variation, the middle of these three photos is closest to the correct colours.  I had to piece the pocket together, but I think it looks rather good.  It is 6" wide and this is about 6-7" in depth - enough for some lip salve, a tissue etc!  And it is double thickness with some interfacing ironed on near the top.

And then I did some other skirts . . . . 

This is a lovely 100% wool with browns/dusky pink/greys that I got for a steal from Fabric Mart or a few years ago before the Canadian Dollar tanked against the US Dollar.  Is is very soft and washes well.  I cut this pocket on the bias, and left the seam that made this double layered on the front so that it can gently fray.  My 'design feature'!  The other bonus with this skirt was that the hemline was quite bulky before and wasn't quite 'right'.  But now - it is lighter, and to my mind, more attractive!

I also updated a plain black 'Patricia' with a strip of lace along the ruffle and on the pocket - you will need to use your imagination for that one though as the photos came out terribly.  And finally, the Royal Stewart skirt has this pocket:

Again, cut on the bias with a scrap of lace 'just for fun'!

Due to the type of tops I wear with my skirts, the pockets will likely be covered, but just knowing that they are there makes me smile.

I am really pleased with this simple makeover.  My skirts are now a lot more wearable and still retain the boho/Lagenlook style that I love. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Undershirts - Hits and a Miss or Two

I mentioned a short while ago about shirt extenders - or undershirts as I like to call them.  Made from cotton jersey on top with a lace trim that hangs down beneath a top or cardi.  And I love them so I made some more . . . . want to see?

White cotton/spandex jersey with a rayon print trim.  Yep, regular fabric works just as well as lace.  I made the skirt 3" longer on most of these.

Grey cotton/spandex jersey with a brown checked fabric.  I also used some pink trim on the arm and neckline.

A 'tartan' check on grey jersey with a little bow on the neckline (shorter skirt).

Apparently this is Royal Stewart tartan.  I think that it looks very dramatic and I have matched it here with black cotton/spandex jersey and black arm and neckline trim.

Charcoal cotton/lycra jersey, charcoal lace and an organza ribbon trim.  For this version I used different lace and it frayed a bit so I edged the bottom with black organza ribbon, folded it up and sewed it to the right side.  Done.

And sometimes I add a lovely little patch on the back:

Please excuse the Merchant and Mills type photography.  The weather is pretty cold right now, and I didn't fancy lots of costume changes!  I think that you can see the details a bit better as well when the undershirts are flat.

Well - how do they look as part of garments?  Let me show you :)

Here is the Royal Stewart version with a charcoal grey McCalls 6168.  I would wear this with black Peg Legs or some Tina Givens jeans.

And it works equally well with the cardi open, a pretty necklace and a scarf.

This time a burgundy cardi and my undershirt is under a light grey linen drapey top.  Pearls and a short infinity cowl made from rayon fabric and done!

I think I will be wearing these two outfits to work next week.  I remember that Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic used to plan out a week's worth of garments including accessories (I can't find the posts now) and they were very inspirational, and such a great idea.  No pondering what to wear in the mornings.  Bonus!

So, what were the misses?  Well, with one version I used some different black lace that I think had lycra or spandex in it.

Can you see all those little threads?  I think that they are the spandex/lycra/elastane/whatever and washing and wearing had made them degenerate.  That's a shame, but I'll take this lace off and add something else so not all is lost.

Here is the other one:

It is a little hard to capture in a photograph but the neck trim doesn't lay flat (this is one of my pet peeves).  It is a matter of lovely trim, wrong application.  It looks great on the neckline of a bra, but does not have the stretch for this jersey.  Oh well.  I'll cut this off too and add a different trim and this will work too!

I'd like to think that I am 'undershirted out', but let's be realistic - that's not going to happen!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

En Provence with Bonnie Hunter

I'm not too sure what the deal is with the end of month and writing up posts - quite often multiple ones, but it has happened again!  So much to say!  I have to admit to being a little lazy - firstly I do do a lot multiple sewing (much to my husbands' consternation!).  Why make just one top when you love the pattern so much?  Why not make three or four?  What I then forget to do is to make a note of the changes that I have made - add a bit here, lengthen this, scrap that etc.  I do keep a notebook that has measurements in for elastic lengths to use on vest tops, or sizes to cut when making little pouches which is useful, but not as useful as referring back to my notes and photos on my blog.  Time to catch up.

So, lots of sewing happening in my part of the world, and today I am going to start with another quilt that I have started.  Well actually, there are two, so get a nice steaming cup of tea, put your feet up and read on!!

Somehow I heard about a quilter called Bonnie Hunter (and I am so glad I did!) who is obsessed with scraps of fabric (in a totally good way) and thought that I'd have a go at her mystery quilt that she starts this time each year.  I think that this is the third or fourth that she has run.  She starts off with a tempting photo of her inspiration (in this case the lavender farms in Provence.  This link will only be live for a few months) and then suggests colour combinations.  Now this is pretty smart - as computers vary, she actually goes into a paint store and selects a number of paint chips to help you make choices.  I can only imagine how daft quilters must look, running into hardware stores to get their paint chips and then raiding their stashes for the appropriate fabric.  Of course you can make your own colour choices, but I am happy to be a sheep!

Very pretty indeed.  These are the main colours that will be used with lots of low volume neutrals.  The first clue came out on Friday, and involved making over 200 of these (see below) four patch squares (here is the first clue.  Bonnie has asked that folks be redirected to her blog rather than copying and pasting the details on your own blog).

So this is what I made:

I've included a couple of close ups to show some of the very lovely fabrics like cute little birds and sewing paraphernalia, 

the dragonfly above,

Delicate pink flower fabric as well as the two Christmas fabrics with firs and berries, and the stars with writing.  There are some cute little birds and fabric with sewing machines on too.

And the compass fabric with paw prints in.

So there we have it - clue one completed.  Clue two comes out next Friday . . . . . can't wait to see what we will be making next!

Have you tried mystery quilts?  I know that some folks really don't like committing time and fabric to a project where they don't know what the final item will look like, but I really like the freedom of not having to think - just instructions - use this type of fabric, cut your fabric in this manner etc., and if you look at her other quilts, they are rather lovely, so I am sure this one will be just as good.

Clue 1.  Sitting waiting . . . .

Do take a look at the progress of my fellow mystery quilters here.

Is it Friday yet?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Layering Up

As I have said many times before, I really enjoy layering up, and this time of year is the perfect time to do just that.  This is what I wore today:

The cardigan is McCalls 6168 from a few years ago and the jeans are Tina Givens Holly Pants, that I mentioned here.  The white top is a Seamingly Smitten Draped Top and I love it!  I've made three or four of these, they are perfect under a cardi.  And the lace peaking underneath? This is my 'new best thing'!  Let me tell you a little more.  

A few months ago I was told about a website called 'Farmhouse Frocks' - lovely Lagenlook styles made by Amish ladies in Ohio.  Very much my style.  Anyway, I filed this away and promptly forgot about it until a post popped up on Facebook and I took another look.  Oh boy, what a treat!  There are a number of styles that I like the look of, especially the 'Shirt Extender' and I thought how well it would go with my wardrobe.  

For the basic body of my version I used Kwik Sew 2766 an OOP nightgown pattern.  It is quite a simple sleeveless nightgown/petticoat and I cut it mid hip length.  The pattern is designed for wovens (on the bias) and knits, I used some very soft oatmeal coloured cotton jersey and some matching cream stretch lace for the trim at the bottom.  The jersey is actually a fitted sheet that never really fit our bed, so some great re-purposing!  After making up the top I pleated it and serged the lace on the botton edge, and done1  For the neckline and armhole edging I used lingerie lace trim at 80% of the measured edge of the openings and it is lovely!

I left the bottom edge of the lace raw after cutting it with my rotary cutter so that it is nice and straight.

I have already cut out a black version and a (OK, and a couple of) white ones too!  So not only will I be warm as the weather gets cooler, but I'll also have some pretty lace peeking through my layers as well!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gypsy Wife - Completed Flimsy

I love it.  I really, really love it.  I know one shouldn't be proud.  But I love it!  Here is the top (or flimsy) of my Gypsy Queen quilt by Jen Kingwell:

It really is a lot more vibrant that these photos indicate and I think that I have captured that in some of my 'favourite' blocks below:

This orange, brown and green block above, maybe my favourite block of all.  I reminds me of a sunflower!

All in all, it only took two weeks to sew up!  Whoosh, I don't mess about you know!  I have taken a class at my local quilt shop, and am now qualified to use their long-arm machine.  The plan is have horizontal lines running across the quilt, so I am hoping it will be quite simple for my first quilting project!  And yes.  I am hooked.  I am already one third the way through another one.  Totally different this time, a controlled background and colour scheme, here are a couple of pics.

Oh, and look what arrived in the mail yesterday from Black Rabbit Fabrics - I predict some more Peg Legs this weekend!