Friday, 21 July 2017

Closet Case Patterns - Ginger Flares

This is my third pair of GingersThe first pair are here, but the second pair didn't make it to the blog due to bad fabric happening to good sewists.  Anyway, the fabric for this pair came from a sale at Sherwood Fabrics.


My first pair were always a little bit big, so I went down a size on these one's.  That said, they are still a bit roomy at the top of the back of the legs.  You can see that's where they're a bit baggy in this photo.

I also took the outside side-seams in a bit from the low hip to the knee.  I'm going to have a look in my trouser fitting book "Pants For Real People", but if anybody knows any good resources on what pattern alteration to make, please let me know.  Thanks!

Construction was pretty straight-forward, but I don't really love the fly extension (I think that's what it's called - it's the bit that sits behind the zip on the front right).  Mine is at a bit of an angle, but I didn't notice until after I'd overlocked it, so now it's a design feature...


The inside of the pockets are made from the left-overs from my Liberty sleeveless shirt, which I happened to be wearing when I took my photos!

All the top-stitching is done in dark blue, which has the drawback of making it difficult to see, but the benefit of disguising the dodgy bits.   After the jeans button/rivets battle on the first pair, I felt no desire to go there again, so just used a green metal button from my button jar.

I also added two belt loops on either side of the centre back seam, instead of one over the centre back seam.  As with the first pair, I used normal thread in the same colour as my top-stitching thread to sew the belt loops on.

I decided to get all fancy with the back pockets, and copied the pockets off some jeans I saw on the internet.  Now, as much as I absolutely love how they turned out, they took waaaay longer than they should have to sew!  If you want to drive yourself crazy too, there's a how to at the bottom of this post.

I love how my jeans turned out.  They're a much better fit than my first pair, and hopefully I can sort out the fitting issues on the back legs for the next pair.

Have a great weekend,



Here's how I made the back pockets (the pocket in all of these photos is the right hand side pocket, the left hand side pocket is a mirror image):

I added 2 x 2cm inserts into the pockets.  One is in the centre, and the other is 2.5cm towards the outside edge of the pocket.  Mark the edges of the inserts with a notch, and snip it into the fabric.

On the right side, rule the inserts lines with chalk, notch snip to notch snip.  (That red pin is so I know I'm working with the right hand side pocket!)

Fold chalk line to chalk line, towards the outside edge of the pocket, and pin in place.  It's handy to mark the seam allowance in with chalk too, then you won't accidentally top-stitch into it.

 Top-stitch as in my photo, or do your own thing!

Here's what it looks like closer up.  I found it helpful to hand sew the folds down from the inside, as the bits that are not top stitched were pulling a bit.  I noticed this when I basted the jeans together and pinned the pockets on for fit.

The extra folds in the pocket top made it tricky to fold over twice and stitch, so I made a facing.  Cut the facing using pattern piece "L - Back Pockets Interfacing", but add 3/4" to the bottom.

 Mark 1/2" in on both short edges,

then trim the 1/2" off.  This helps reduce bulk in the seam allowances.

Interface the back of the facing, and finish one long edge on the overlocker.

Place the facing, right sides together, along the top of the pocket with the overlocked edge at the bottom.  Make sure the facing is 1/2" in from the pocket edge on both sides.  Sew using a 3/4" seam allowance.

Trim the seam allowance down, and press the facing to the back of the pocket.  Press the seam allowances in on the pockets as on the pattern instructions.

Top-stitch to the jeans, then reward yourself by buying some lovely fabric!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Maxi Shirt Dress

I loves me a maxi  dress, and this one is no exception!!  It's another self-drafted number, but is loosely based on Simplicity 8014.

I absolutely love this lime green fabric.  It's a linen/cotton mix that was an ebay purchase from last November, bought during "The Great Dress Fabric Buying Haul" when I should have been looking for fabric for my green coat!  It was from Fashion Fabrics 4 All on ebay, was £8.99 per metre, and I bought 3 metres. 


There's a loooot of top stitching in this dress.  I had it in my head to top stitch the collar and plackets using a triple stitch, and let's just say that it's lucky no-one will see the stand under the collar...  


Button size turned out to be an issue too.  It took three goes to find the perfect buttons - these ones are from The Button Company.  The second lot were from Textile Garden, and are gorgeous, but are also 5/8" wide.  As hard as I tried, I couldn't get them to work with a horizontal buttonhole along with the top stitching.  And just be very glad that you don't live in my house when that was happening, but I think I've got top stitching a shirtdress out of my system now! 


As I'm still very much enamoured with the pockets on my Hemingway Fabric Dress, so used them again on this. 


The skirt is my half circle skirt.  I had to narrow the side seams a bit to fit in on the fabric, but it all worked out.

I blooming love this dress, it good and swishy, as a maxi dress should be.  My sister said it was very 1950s/Grace Kelly, but also very 1970s/Jerry Hall.  And this is why my sister is one of the best people on the planet!


As I was taking my photos, Valentine decided he wanted in on the act (although he does look slightly bewildered).  He felt that it was important to show how my hair now matches him.   I got my hair done last week, and I blooming love it too!  I finally found a hairdresser who isn't afraid of bleach or orange.  If you're in Belfast, it's a salon called Twisted Scissors and Soul on Rosetta Road.

Happy weekend,


Friday, 23 June 2017

Ida Clutch Bag

I have something a bit different to show you today, which is this little clutch bag that I made for my sister, who absolutely loves it.  I first spotted it on Instagram when Kirsten from Fifty Two Fancies made it, and instantly though that my sister would like it.


The pattern is called the Ida Clutch Bag, and is a free pattern from Kylie And The Machine.

One of the bags on the introduction page is leather, as is Kirsten's, and I really loved them, so decided to give it a go myself.  

Much googling finally brought me to Leather4Craft on ebay, where I bought some veg-tan goat skin leather for £22.00.  It came as a rectangle of leather, which I stupidly forgot to measure, and is lovely and soft.  There was more than enough for this little bag.

More googling was done on cutting and sewing leather.  I used my rotary cutter to cut it out, and pattern weights to hold the pattern piece down.  I say pattern weights, it was really my phone and some masking tape...

You can maybe, sort of, judge the size of the leather from this photo.  There was enough leather to the top to cut out another pattern piece, and there was a bit left over that is probably about half as wide as the bit that my rotary cutter is sitting on.

Sewing the leather turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, but leather needles are a must.  I practised a dart on some scrap leather first, and my machine handled it beautifully.  Sewing leather is a bit of a one shot deal, you don't want to be unpicking, and my walking foot was great.

I marked the point of the dart with a pin, which left a little hole in the leather, then clipped the dart ends within the seam allowance.


I marked the dart legs with a pencil on the wrong side of the leather.


I obviously couldn't use pins on the leather, as they would leave little holes, so I used a mini clothes pegs to hold everything together.  Quilting clips would be great, but I don't have any.


 This is what the darts look like from the wrong side,


And this is the right side.


The instruction page on the interfacing mentions that the sample leather bag is interfaced (I think it's in the comments), but I was a bit too scared to try that!  So I just interfaced the lining.  I used a medium weight interfacing for the whole bag lining (Piece B), and then a woven interfacing on top for Piece C.

I added an inside pocket, and made it as big as I could without interfering with the darts.  It's big enough for a phone.

Next came inserting the zip, and the instructions for it are brilliant.  I didn't take any photos of it, but here's what it looked like when it was finished. 

The pin in the photo above is marking the tailor's tack for the snap placement, which leads me on to attaching the snaps.  I wasn't looking forward to this, because I was afraid of ruining the leather.  But some more googling showed me how to do it.  

Everything I read called for interfacing, but, as already mentioned, I didn't want to interface the leather.  So I didn't use any, and it's grand.  Here's what I did.

First of all, I practised on a leather scrap!  The snaps have two prongs on the back that are secured with a little washer.   

I stuck a pin through the lining and leather where the tailor's tack was (the tack was just in the lining), to mark the snap position on the leather.  Then I used the washer as a template, and marked the position of the prongs with a pen (making sure it wouldn't bleed through to the front!).
Admire that lovely top stitching!

Then I snipped into the leather using some embroidery scissors.

The prongs on the snap go through the holes from the front, then it is held in place with the washer.  I just put it through the leather, so the snap is not visible on the inside of the bag.

Here's what it looks like from the right side.

I did the same with the other snap, and here's what it looks like when it's closed.

As suggested in the instructions, I sewed the edges of the bag with a zipper foot.  It was tricky to get over the closed end of the zip, and I ended up just turning the hand wheel.

I'm delighted with how this little bag turned out, and leather definitely isn't as tricky to sew as I thought.

Now I sort of want to make a leather purse...  Have a great weekend,