Saturday, 10 March 2018

Grainline Studio - Moss Skirt

Towards the end of January, I woke up one Thursday morning with the need for a denim skirt.  So obviously I had to make one!  

This top is a Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top
After a bit of googling, I settled on the Grainline Studios Moss Skirt, which just about everybody has already made.  My fabric is some medium weight stretch denim from The Spinning Wheel in Belfast, and I used some left-over fabric from this dress for the pocket lining.

Pocket Lining
The instructions for the fly zip are great, and the only thing I did differently was to sew the fly shield with the folded edge out as in the photo below.  The instructions have that bit as the overlocked edge.  I also top-stitched everything within an inch of it's life.


Now, lots of folks have mentioned having to lengthen this skirt, as it is very short.  But I confidently took to Instagram to declare that I wouldn't need to because I'm small - how wrong was I?!  I started out making View A (the one without the hem band); the finished length for my size is 18", but mine was 17.5" and that was without the 3/4" hem.


A bit more googling taught me that sizing is a bit of an issue, and it does come up a bit small.  I made a size 4, and it fits at the waist, but I would like it a bit more roomy at the hips.  The fit is fine, it isn't too tight, so I think this is just personal preference.  The stretch fabric helps, but if I make this again in a non-stretch fabric, I would go up a size.

So I decided to add the hem band, as I had enough fabric.  I didn't make the double layer as on the pattern, and just added it to the bottom of the skirt, then hemmed it.  To make my skirt 19" long, I shortened the hem band to 2" plus a 1/2" hem.

I love how this skirt turned out; it can be worn in the winter with black tights, and will be grand for the summer too.  Also, I had an audience when I was taking my photos.  This little cat was supervising from the top of the shed.  One of my neighbour's told me that he lives up the street, and he is an Egyptian Mau.  He's very friendly, and calls into the garden quite a bit, I don't know his name though.


Anyway, this skirt has got me thinking about more denim skirts now, and I found the Megan Nielsen Kelly Skirt pattern when I was looking for something else.  This was one of the first patterns I ever bought but I've never made it, and I also found some lovely versions on the interwebs, so am thinking of making it in chambray.

I also have Megan Nielsen's Tania Culottes pattern, and had great plans to make the knee length version in black crepe to wear instead of a half circle skirt - then I realised that I couldn't wear a net petticoat under it!  Now I'm thinking of the shorter version in chambray too.  Looks like I've fallen down a denim skirt rabbithole...

Have a great week!


Friday, 2 March 2018

Vogue 8379 - View B: 2018 Make Nine (and a Sew Over It Cowl Neck Top)

This is my third Make Nine make, and it's Vogue 8379.  I made View B with the collar and long sleeves.

This amazing fabric is from The Textile Centre, is called "Elizabethan Crossed Keys Textured Poly Jersey"  and is £2.99 per metre.

The bodice is shaped with pleats at the waist, and I used the facings on the neckline as it was necessary with the collar.

I managed to accidentially sew the gap for the waist tie on the wrong side seam, which has turned out to be pretty annoying, which is why my dress wraps to the other side from the pattern drawing.  

I made several mods - the bodice was shortened by 1",  the skirt shortened to 20", and the sleeves arbitrarily shortened by I can't remember how much, but it totally worked!!

It's lovely fabric to work with, but the seams were a bit "bouncy" (if that makes sense), and didn't really want to press flat.  It was especially noticable in the waist ties, which were rather tube-like - so I top-stitched everything within an inch of it's life!   I really wish I'd taken some photos before I did these, because the difference was unbelievable.


There was a bit of a drama with the waist seam though.  I thought I'd be really smart and overlock the bodice to the skirt, but add some clear elastic at the same time to stablise the seam.  As you can see below, it didn't work too well!  So I sewed the rest of the seam and then sewed some 1/4" onto the seam allowance afterwards.  Luckily this is the inside of the wrap front, so it can't be seen from the front!


I love how this dress turned out, I think it's very 1970s, which I love.  My only issue with it is that the waist ties are a bit short, and if I make it again, I would lengthen the ties by 6 inches.


Then it turned out that I had enough fabric left over to make a Sew Over It Cowl Neck top, which took about an hour and a half from cutting to finish!

Have a great weekend!


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress: 2018 Make Nine

This is the second Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress that I've made, but the first one was scrapped due to rubbish fabric.  I do love a Sew Over It pattern, as I don't have to shorten the bodice.

There are two different skirt and sleeve lengths on the envelope illustration, but not on the actual pattern.  This confused me a bit, but a bit of googling proved a few people had found this.  Also the bodice and skirt are all one piece, so there isn't a waist seam.

Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

My fabric is a mid-weight poly jersey from The Textile Centre for £3.99 per metre.  I had 2 metres, which was plenty for a size 10.  I did shorten the sleeves considerably though.

I also didn't use the facings, as this fabric is a bit thicker, and also I didn't get on well with the facing on this dress.  Instead, I used clear elastic, which I attached to the inside edge of the neckline on my overlocker, then turned the edge over, and stitched with a twin needle.

I used this great youtube tutorial by Maria Denmark.  I had a few goes on some scraps first, and found that stretching out the elastic first caused the fabric to gather a bit, so I didn't stretch the elastic before sewing it to my dress.

My only issue with this dress is that the front is a bit low, and I had to sew a snap fastener to the front it to keep it closed.  Although, having looked at other peoples' versions, it seems to be the way the dress is.  I think I might need to make a full bust adjustment in order to raise the top of the wrap, but have no idea how to do this on a jersey pattern with no waist seam.  If anybody knows how, or has done it themselves, please let me know.  Thanks!

Alternatively, I think I could add a bit to the shoulder seam towards the neck so I could then raise the wrap neckline.  Anyway, I have been wearing this with a slip underneath, so it's grand, and it is also my second make from my Make Nine.


Have a great week,


Monday, 12 February 2018

By Hand London Rumana Coat: 2018 Make Nine

This pattern needs no introduction, as it's taken the sewing world by storm, and I bought it immediately on it's realise on Christmas Eve.  It's a PDF only pattern which I don't mind, and I happily stuck together all the coat pieces.  I lost the will though with the lining pages, and got it printed by Net Printer.


My fabric is a lovely wool/viscose coating fabric from Montreux Fabrics, and my lining is some black lining fabric with red flowers which might have been from ebay, but I can't remember.

I'm not going to lie, I had a two issues with this pattern.  First was the lack of lengthen/shorten lines.   The waist, bust and hips are also not marked, so this created a lot of extra work to find a single markable point on each pattern piece to be able to shorten each piece at the same point.  This was an issue for me, as not only did I need to shorten the overall length, but also shorten the bodice and sleeves.  This was my biggest problem, and has made me quite ragey during the making of this coat - please feel sorry for Andrew having to listen to me!  But I am trying to be constructive, and not just go off on a stabby rant!

The second issue was the 10mm seam allowance on the collar, and also the scant instructions on sewing the collar.  I found sewing the curved outer edges of the collar stand to the collar to be very tricky with the smaller seam allowance, and the one illustration on the instructions wasn't helpful.  I've noticed a few other people have had issues with this too.

Also the smaller seam allowance made it difficult to attach the collar and facing to the coat.  This bit was pretty frustrating. The instructions say to use the 10mm seam allowance at the neckline, but don't give a seam allowance for the coat front.  I used 15mm at the coat front, and then 10mm across the neckline.  No idea if that was right though. 

I found the 10mm seam allowance at the armhole/sleeve head to be odd - I've never seen this before on an armhole.  So I added 5mm to both seams, and set my sleeves in using the bias strip method that I used on my black coat.   


I also noticed that the metric measurements on the printed out instructions don't match up with the imperial measurements, but they do on the By Hand London website.  

Me, being me, couldn't leave the pattern as it is, and made two mods.  I made bound buttonholes using the welt method in Karen from Did You Make That's ebook.

Also, I added vents to the sleeves using a tutorial from a Craftsy class called "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer".  I didn't do any buttonholes though, and just sewed the buttons on through both layers.  My buttons are from ebay.

I'm delighted with the top stitching, and ended up using my 1/4" foot for it.  It was very easy to do by putting the little guide into the seam.  I couldn't find a top stitching foot for my Elna; maybe they don't have one.  

I don't love my hem, and this is because of the lining which is a bit of a mess.  Due to the lack of aforementioned lengthen/shorten lines, my lining ended being too short.  By that stage I was pretty fed up, and just winged it with sewing it in, and it's really not my best work.  Maybe I'll re-line it a some stage, but right now I couldn't be bothered.  That said, I saw a coat in the window of a fancy shop in Belfast today, and the hem was a bit dodgy on it too.

This dress is Kwik Sew 3489 which you can read about here.
Even though this wasn't the easiest of makes, I like how my coat has turned out, and please don't let my complaints put you off making this pattern, as I obviously got there in the end!  


I would say that if you haven't made a coat before, maybe try something else as a first pattern especially if you need to adjust the length significantly, as the instructions really aren't comprehensive enough.  I would hate to think of someone feeling that they couldn't ever make a coat because they couldn't work this one out.  

And finally (and well done if you got to the end!), this is my third finished item for my 2018 Make Nine; I just haven't blogged the first two yet, but they're for another post.

Have a great week,


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sew Over It 1940s Wrap Dress

This is my second christmas holiday make, and was supposed to be the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress, which is for stretch fabric.  This reason it's the 1940s Wrap Dress is because I have no memory!

In my head this fabric was a stretch fabric; turned out it isn't!  It is, in fact, some viscose twill from The Textile Centre for the princely sum of £3.99 per metre.  I lifted it out of the stretch fabrics box, and was momentarily disappointed - until I eyeballed the 1940s Wrap Dress pattern lying on the sewing room floor.

I made a combination of both views - the longer sleeves from version 1 (which I shortened a bit), and the shorter skirt from version 2.  And, you might want to sit down for this, I didn't make a toile!  I know!!  The Sew Over It Eve Dress fitted me well, so I compaired the bodice and sleeve pieces, and as expected, they are pretty similar.  Also, a wrap dress is a bit more forgiving in fit.

The pattern recommends 2.8 metres long of 1.40 metre wide fabric for version 2 (that's for Size 10), but I only had 2 metres, so had to do a bit of pattern tetrising.   Totally worked though!  I'd already cut out the two front skirt pieces, and the skirt facing, from the bottom of the fabric when I took this photo.

The pattern instructions are great, and there is also a sewalong on the Sew Over It blog.  I stablised the front neckline with some seam binding, as suggested on the sewalong.  It was a good idea with this fabric, as being viscose, it was a bit shifty.  Also, I stabilised the shoulder seams with seam binding, but do this on any garment.

Black seam binding on wrong side of front neckline.

I understitched the outside edge of the under collars, as it just made sense to get the collar seam to roll under slightly.

If I made this again I might add 1/4" to the width of the neckline binding, as I found it wee bit neat to fold under on the fronts.  But this could have been the front neckline seam binding adding a little bit of bulk, as it was easier to work with along the back neck.

I also machine stitched the binding in place, because I couldn't be bothered to hand sew it.  I moved the collar out of the way so the stitches don't show on the front, but wasn't able to get right up to where the collar joins the shoulder seams, so that bit is hand sewn. 

Love the pleats at the shoulders.

The waistband isn't the easiest thing to sew, but the sewalong post is very helpful, and I only had to unpick the pointed end twice!  A thing I noticed once the skirt was attached was that my bodice and skirt gathers didn't match up as on the pattern illustration on the print out instructions, which I had in front of me.

I didn't think to look at any photos of the finished dress, and thought I must have marked the waist gather incorrectly.  So I unpicked most of the skirt front, and moved the skirt gathers to line up under the bodice gathers.  But when I did look at the finished dress photos, I see that I was right the first time.  I just wanted to point that out in case anybody uses my dress as a reference.  

I cheated a bit by machine stitching the bottom of the waistband down instead of hand sewing it as in the instructions.  So instead of pressing the bottom inside of the waistband under by 5/8", I pressed it by 1/2", then stitched it along the point where it joins the skirt from the outside (stitching in the ditch).

There was a bit of head scratching when I tried it on, as the wrap sections didn't meet at the side seams!  That was when I thought to look at the finished dress photos, and I could see that they aren't supposed to.  If you take a look at the dress photos on Sew Over It, you'll see what I mean.  In the photo below I've marked the skirt side seam with a white pin.


I used snap fasteners to close the dress, and had a bit of a disaster!  I wasn't happy with one on the left front, and cut it off to move it over, but stupidly cut a hole in the waistband!!  It's on the front that is against the skin, so after calming down a bit, I went over it with a zig zag stitch, and it's grand.

I love how this dress turned out, and seem to be a bit obsessed with wrap dresses, as I have made another one, and am half way through a second!

Have a great week,