Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Denim landers

Hi hi!

Following on from my last post about these Lander pants I dove straight in and made pair number 2. This time in a lovely, lovely denim from Merchant and Mills. I ordered a sample in this slightly washed blue and the darker colour and was surprised how much it feels like some non-stretch cone mills denim I bought. Sold!!!

I did take some of the length out of the length along the top of the trousers which was bunching around my waist in my wool pair and I think I'm done tweaking. Well, I am anyway because with two new pairs of trousers for winter I'm sort of done. Goal achieved! 

Not much to say. They are full length, but I'm pretty sure I will always wear them rolled up like this.

One thing to say about how I fitted these and my previous pair is that they are not over fitted. You can see more with the denim that there is a fair amount of room under my tummy, but I find this to be the most flattering and comfortable to wear on my figure. I think to aim for the picture on the envelope would be a mistake for me as I want the fabric to skim rather than pull and also want to create a nice shape rather than outline that particular area. Just something to mention about fitting considerations and preference.

I wonder if I should raise the pockets a little in future. Hmmm!

After wearing my wool pair and finding the waistband too susceptible to stretching out I decided to be cautious and reinforce the top line of the inner waistband with a topstitched cotton herringbone tape. It's great actually. It feels so sturdy and allows the bottom of the waistband to mould to my body a bit whilst the top line doesn't budge.

The gorgeous rust effect metal buttons were also from Merchant and Mills. A bit of a splurge, but I love them! They have a very early Hussein Chalayan vibe to them.

I did not line the pockets and finished the opening edge of the front pockets with a bias facing.

Lots of lovely topstitching in a thick cotton thread.

So back to the wool pair! I did go back and mend the stretching out waistband. This did mean abandoning the back waistband tabs, but this is so much better. The overlap on the front acts as a trouser waist stay and although it looks like Fort Knox to get in, it's really not fiddly ;-)

So worth the effort of going back and fixing because I know I will wear these a tonne (I am wearing them again now).

 Anyway, still nothing but love for this pattern x

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

True Bias Lander pant

Hi hi!

I just made a thing and had to blog it immediately because I'm so excited. The Lander pants pattern from True Bias came out over the weekend and I had some sewing time so the timing couldn't have been more perfect! The style is sooooo me and I have been checking out this cut in the shops for so long now. I am totally into the 70's/nautical vibe whatever the year and whatever else is "trending", so these are a worthy investment.

Because I knew I wanted to make this pattern work I was willing to put the hours in to making the appropriate adjustments. This fitted around the top type of trouser is never going to fit me straight out the envelope and certainly doesn't look great when I try RTW pairs on, but I made a toile to see how the original fit was working and straight away added more length into the rise. Once I had toiled with the added length, things were looking a lot better. 3 inches took the top of the trousers to my natural waist (minus the waistband), but my final adjustments were actually 3cm longer than the original pattern.

I wish I'd taken pictures of the toiles along the way, but you know how it goes and I was caught up in how I was going to make it work, but basically I needed a full tummy and thigh adjustment on the front trouser leg which meant adding some width in the front and extending the front crotch curve. The back was fun to do (I'm being serious) and I made a full calf adjustment because the trousers were getting caught on that area and took some length out of the back centre leg length because I had extra fabric under my bottom. Basically scooping out the back crotch sorted this with loads of shifting and pivoting of seam allowances. The below diagram shows the original pattern in pink and my new pattern pieces in black. Basically the crotch curve has an extreme slope from the front to back in order to fit my body. I really enjoyed this process of analysis and because I was on my own I just did one tiny tweak at a time.

The back calf adjustment looked like this...

Here are some scary pictures of me in leggings to show all my bumpy bits. Really sorry you can just see my pants through the fabric, but if you have a similar body to mine then maybe it will help you relate!

Probably some further tweaks could happen for future versions, but I'm pretty stoked! Certainly the waist needs some tweaks, because it is definitely too roomy, but I resolved that with some epaulette things in keeping with the overall look. Also a smidge more length out the centre of the back leg length and top of trouser wouldn't hurt. I don't know, maybe they are good enough. I shall wear these a lot as they are a brilliant match with my overall style.

I forgot to mention that I made these with a wool suiting fabric. I wanted a winter version that would fall nicely and this fabric was already in my stash. So pleased with the wool/pattern combo. Here are some close ups of the details to give you a better feel for the fabric. Can I just say, that I was so nervous about the button front fly. I thought I would feel self conscious drawing attention to my tummy, but it is definitely a new favourite finish. In love with this detail and it's so easy!

I lined the back pockets with some shirting from my husbands old shirt because I was working with wool. I really makes a nice finish and means the pockets won't stretch out.

Beautiful brass anchor buttons from Loop.

A hook and eye inside the waistband to help with any gaping.

The fly shield is faced with the shirting for comfort. I considered facing the waistband too, but I guess I got lazy. I also wish I had bound the seams, but the next wool pair I make will be all bells and whistles.

So that's been a whirlwind sewing romance and I really think this is a great pattern. I probably always say that about a pattern I try, but I mean it! I always expect to have to do adjustments on a trouser pattern, but I'm not always willing to put the time in if I don't feel the love right away. These were worth it for me. I shall wear these a load and see if anything particularly screams out to me as a tweak for future iterations. Love, love, love!!!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Floral maxi skirt

Hey hey, it's me again just one week since my last post!!!

This time I have made a skirt and it is self drafted, but dead easy.

I found this fabulous floral print cotton on ebay a few weeks ago and had to cut into it straight away. I bought 3 metres and used pretty much all of it in this skirt.

Ok, so it's self drafted so you can't have the pattern, but you can make one if you have a little experience with drafting or altering patterns! Just pop on over to the BHL website and use their awesome circle skirt app to get some waistband measurements and you're off!

I split mine into 7 panels (divide half circle into 8 panels and join 2 of these together for centre back panel) as per below.

Here it is all joined and laid out on the floor.

I created some pockets that get sewn in with the front side panels (which are a little too low unfortunately, oops!)...

and also a centre front button placket. How awesome are these buttons by the way? I have been ordering buttons from Textile Garden for some time now as Maggie has the most beautiful selection. I always seem to find the perfect match in her shop!

The skirt is so swishy and comfortable and I made the back waistband elasticated for some leeway when it comes to comfort and fit.

Not much else to say really. I French seamed everything for a quality finish and I am loving having a colourful floral print in my wardrobe.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Simple summer knit - windlass

Hello hello!!! 

I think this might be the first blog post of the year so far. How did that happen? (This is so wrong. Just checked and it's my third post...). I guess like everyone else I have been documenting my general craftiness on Instagram, but also I haven't been working on many personal makes. I have been feeling generally under the weather since Easter (although much better now) and also using any spare moments to work on new designs (yes they are coming) so have not had much to talk about, but I all of a sudden do have some garments I can actually share which is pretty exciting.

Today is a knitted garment as I am very successfully incorporating knitting into my daily life lately. It is making me so happy! I had a real hankering for some summer knits, so set about knitting with a soft and cool cotton/linen/silk blend yarn. It came on a cone (from ebay) and was a natural colour, but I hand dyed it this gorgeous blush pink. The pattern is a heavily modified windlass from Pom Pom mag, which caught my eye. I had intended to knit the lovely stitch pattern on the top of the bodice, but as I was knitting the body I just wanted to continue the plain design.

The length is cropped as per my mods with a level hem and shortened armscye. I also knit in the round as I was nervous about creating a beautiful side seam on such a plain garment.

I totally love it and I was completely happy with it, but then I had an idea which involved gold.

Yep, I printed some gold foil spots onto my hand knit that I spent hours making. Once the idea happened I couldn't not do it. No fear, just eager anticipation ;-) I ordered the foil and adhesive from here and simply painted on the adhesive and heat set the foil.

Ding, ding, ding!!! Over the moon happy!

The perfect earrings became mine (bought from independent maker Freya Alder) and were worn with this top last night. I do not subscribe to a konmari lifestyle, but I believe these things fit the bill nicely. My new top and jewellery fill me with nothing but joy and happiness.

I am now working on a second windlass tank in green which will hopefully be finished soon should the sun ever come back. See you again soon hopefully xxx

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Shoes for summer!

I have been thinking about warmer weather and my long lasting RTW sandals have finally bitten the dust! I normally eek out sandals for a fair few years by getting them re-soled etc, but alas their time was up! I do have other warm weather shoes, but just not a really good comfy flat pair.

I have not made any more shoes since my first and last pair here, but I have been thinking about it and forming ideas for construction during that time. I find that the time in between is really important for me to assess what I learnt from a task. What I did and didn't like and how I what lessons I would like to carry forward.

One of the things that has really struck me since my first pair is how I can fit this new skill into my life without it causing too much disruption. The tools and glue traditionally required for shoe making is not at all child friendly and seeing's as I'm with children for the majority of time I needed to find a way to make this more suitable. First off the glue! This is the worst bit, because although I know you can get friendlier less fumey glues the one I have is pretty noxious. I decided to be done with glue altogether as it seems too grim and I read somewhere that one of the reasons that shoes can't be easily recycled is because the components can't be separated easily. I am now using the power of the needle and thread and nails in it's place (with one tiny exception that I shall confess to later). I have also kept the tools as basic as possible and easy to store at my design/sewing space up high.

Another thing I find useful with many skills I've learnt is to research as much as possible about how to do things properly, try a few different methods out and then try and forget about what you've learnt in order to formulate a method that suits you and your style of working. Without going into the ins and outs of how I made each shoe, I basically adjusted my designs to suit my growing skills and constructed them in the easiest and most solid way I am personally capable of doing. I believe it took quite some time to figure out how I could achieve my end goal, but I am really happy with the results!

Here is the first pair I finished and these are my dino sandals ;-) The uppers and soles are all stitched together, which I was able to do easily by having the feature top 'spike' design. I sewed this seam last leaving the whole shoe open until the end. The stacked heels and rubber heel tip are nailed in place. The main shoe sole rubber is glued, which was the only bit I compromised on really. I hate that I did and I have since sourced some short shoe nails to be able to nail the sole in future. I have no idea how well these will hold up without glue, so the testing will be in the wearing, but they do feel pretty solid! The straight angles on the sole unit are an aesthetic I like, but are also much easier to cut satisfactorily neat, so serves a double purpose! The leather uppers are small pieces from a discontinued sample book (hence the non-matchiness) and the thick, whiter pieces of the sole and heel are some unknown leather scraps I bought off ebay. It is a large box of weird shaped offcuts that are probably of no use to anyone other than me! The yellow is not reclaimed in any way, but the thick leather is perfect for sturdy shoe parts and it is proving to be a great investment! The crepe rubber for the sole is from here.

The next pair I am making (not finished yet) are my favourite so far and definitely the most practical. All stitched so far and they will have a crepe sole nailed on at the end. The design is inspired by historical shoes with an unfussy fit and fastening. The back has been elasticated for a snug fit and the thick yellow leather from before is used as a heel counter. I am just finishing up the second one ready for the soles.

So that is me so far. Really enjoying my shoe journey and I am enjoying the breaks as well as the practice as this is a long term development of a skill. I can only really put my ideas into practice when I need or want a new pair of shoes, so it is fairly meditative in a way.

Anyway, that is all from me for now. Byeeeeeee x