Sewing Projects · Uncategorized

I’ve been Me Made Maying

on instagram. Not here.

Ive worn everything I’ve made, most of them twice now. And it’s made me realise that I need to:

1) make more clothes

2) get better at fitting my clothes

so I’ve started making a new short sleeve topwith a FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT. This is PROPER FITTING STUFF, folks. Normally I just make things too big then shove in a dart or sew side seams narrower until it fits. But no more! I want my clothes to fit, not just be “not too big”.

anyway. Ill blog the top when it’s done. But I have no photos of my Me Made May journey so far because I delete them as soon a ive put them on instagram. You should be pleased not to see them though. You see, most people doing this thing either get someone else to take the photos, use a proper camera with a clicker thing or a proper sized mirror. I’ve just been taking photos in the grubby (since cleaned) mirror in the bedroom in the eighteen seconds I have spare in the morning. Lately, the photos have featured tired eyes, WTF eyebrows and a general air of “i will brush my hair when I’m good and ready”. Instagram can keep those photos, as far as I’m concerned.

aaaanyhoo. Must go. Toddler is awake and I’ve promised him chocolate buttons in return for not touching my sewing things. We both accept that I am the naive one in this arrangement…

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Clothing · Sewing Projects

A little dart here, a little taken in sleeve there…

I’ve finally finished making adjustments to a t-shirt I originally made a few months ago. It’s the same pattern as my fraying top, but in a stiff cotton fabric this time. I followed the same size, but on completion it was clear it was a little bit big. And then after losing a little bit of weight in the last few months, i put it on today and realised it was swamping me. And to be honest it just looked like a big square sack.

so i set to work. With a (very) rough idea about what to do, I put in some darts to give the sack a bit of a shape. Which worked. Huzzah. But now the neck was too wide. So I took in the neck at the shoulder sides – incidentally I am really happy about the facing and top stitching around the neck and I managed to keep this in place with taking in the neck. But taking in the neck gave me weird pumped up leg of mutton shoulders. Which really wasn’t the style I was going for. So I took in the sleeves on the top where the seam was, and ended up taking it in about 6/8 of an inch.

All of this left the sides. The big, voluminous sides. Having the darts did help with the shaping but there was still a lot of excess fabric so I took in the side by half an inch. Which was neater but not enough. So I took it in another half inch which is just about right – it leaves enough space for me to get the top on, but isn’t so loose to be unflattering.

great stuff.

some pictures to go with the waffle. You can’t really tell from the outside out pictures, but there are darts. And top stitching round the neck.

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Here’s a close up of the darts

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Neat. Darty.

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And all the insides with the three side seams and two sleeve seams and the darts. And the neck facing. And all of today’s sewing joy.

Clothing · Sewing Projects

Yes, I did make another skirt this weekend…

I promised the four year old a skirt. So I made her a skirt. Just like that.  I told her to choose the material and I’d make her skirt. After a bit of rifling around, She found some fabric in my stash that I bought around two years ago but hadn’t any idea what to use it for. Really sweet elephants trumpeting in rows. I decided to use a different piece of material for the waistband as a bit of a feature and because it would be a bit softer round her waist.

after the experience of last time, I made my own pattern. This time, I just measured her waist, halved it and used that as top measurement for the pattern panel. I measured her from tummy to knee and used that as the drop length of the skirt, cut out the patter, cut out the fabric (4x panel) and then cut out the waist band – 2 pieces each the measurement if her waist. EASY PEASY.

Sewing the seams was a doddle. Sewing the waistband to the top edge of the skirt was simple. But yet again, making the casing for the elastic (top edge of waistband folded over to top edge of skirt) was a nightmare. Yet again the fabric bunched and twisted. I really couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I asked online for help and someone suggested that the material needed to be cut on the bias in order to stop twisting. The BIAS?! The instructions said nothing about bias. Harrumph. I solved the issue by using approximately 8,000 pins which stopped most of the bunching and twisting. Next time, I’ll figure out what cutting on the bias means. And maybe even do it…

anyway, elastic was threaded through with minimal fuss this time and it’s been finished off, a complete piece of clothing someone could wear.  Hurrah!

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Tarrumpty trumpetting elephants with polka dot waistband.

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Both skirts, finished.

Clothing · Sewing Projects

Oh, the tears I have cried… (I finished the skirt)

Yes, I did it! I finally made a piece of clothing that is wearable and funky and (so far) has no holes in the stitching. But boyoboy, was it difficult.

i thought my problems were over once I’d found the right dimensions for the pattern pieces. I think that my skill level is still firmly entrenched in “amateur” and my ambitions definitely overshot my ability. Although I’ve done it now so next time should be easier, surely… Anyway, i managed to engineer half an hour on Thursday night (at approximately 10pm) to sew the side seams of the skirt together. After a small number of tears and swears I finished it. I definitely didn’t even try to pattern match with this one, way beyond my capabilities and patience just now. But honestly? I don’t think it really matters. Still looks good to me!

Ready for the next stage
Ready for the next stage

then last night I found another hour and a half (again from 10pm. Zzzzzz…) and geed up by a comment on the last post (thank you!) I decided to just go for it. I sewed the two waist band pieces together (short ends together) to make the loop. Then pinned it to the skirt. I noticed there was about a half a centimetre extra on the waistband but reckoned on this not being a problem. HOW WRONG I WAS. I sewed the waistband to the skirt and it seemed ok. Then I ironed seams (yes, me! Ironing! Such novelty) and made a start on pinning down the waist band to make the casing for the waist band elastic. Surely this would be EASY. I was a fool. A simple fool. I folded down the top edge of the waistband down to the join with the skirt and pinned in place, aiming to have the stitching close to the seam.

the sewing started. Almost immediately I seemed to be generating extra waistband fabric. I have no clue how this happened. I don’t think I was pulling or stretching the fabric. Before I knew it there was an extra inch. AN INCH. having been disappointed with the finish of things before, I decided to pull out the stitches and start again. Rip rip ripping rip. Started again. Extra pins in place, steely determination in place, i got the sewing machine going again. Very slowly this time. But again after sewing only 20cm I had extra fabric appearing. Again! A few swear words crept out. As did my stitch ripper. Back to the start. Extra pins were employed. THIS time would be better. Oh, dear reader, how I wish that was the case. It wasn’t better. But it was the last time. Half way round I had a good inch of extra fabric getting in my way. How did I solve this? I cheated.

i know, I know. But never mind. I’ve forgiven myself now and in the grand acheme of things the crime wasn’t that big. But I just cut out a wedge of waistband approximately an inch in length, thus removing the extra fabric forever. Or so I thought. Because by the time I worked my way back round to nearly-the-start (I had already pinned out the two inch gap to thread the elastic through) I had generated another half inch of fabric. I swear, the sewing machine is a magician as there is no rational explanation for this material materialising. I should put it on the stage. Anyway, I decided to just ignore the extra fabric and worry about it once I was sewing the elastic threading gap closed.

ah, threading the elastic. This took me 45 minutes. Seriously. like a good needle woman, I used a safety pin on the reading end and pinned the other end to the skirt so as not to lose it. I also followed the instructions – 34inches of 1inch wide elastic was used. this was not the right amount or size of elastic. I couldn’t get the elastic through the casing. So I cut around 3mm off the edge and it was perfect. The length? After slowly easing it all the way through the casing there was BAGS of elastic still hanging out the end. No stretch used. I sewed the ends of the elastic together and popped it into the opening to see what the skirt looked like. Awful, is the simple answer. So i pulled the elastic out again, thankfully the end was close to the gap, and cut 3 inches off it. Ends sewed back together, popped back into the casing and it looked much better. I probably could have removed another inch or two but by this point, sweaty, teary and half asleep, I decided it was fine. So I hand stitched the gap closed and set to work on the hem.

to be honest, the hem was the easiest part. I pinned a centimetre up all the way round, zoomed it with the sewing machine and hey presto! The skirt was finished. And it looks really nice.

will I do this again? I have to – my just-turned-four daughter has demanded a skirt of her own. But for me? Yes, I’ll do this again. I’ve got the template and know where the tough bits are AND I know I can get through them. So hoorah!

the final result pictures:

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Nice gathers…

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The reduced length of elastic meant I had a nice gather all the way round the waistband.

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Look at the nicely pressed hem, see the nicely pressed seams. See the dedication, determination and swearing that went into the skirt…

end result: I have a wearable skirt. I’ve used the iron. And I have a pattern I will use again. Oh, plus I learnt how to add a waistband on a skirt, even if I did somehow generate extra fabric. Still need to puzzle that one out…

Sewing Projects

I’m making THE Easy Sew Skirt

Who else is inspired by “Me Made May”? I’m really inspired by the bloggers I see who have signed up to this and feel that whilst I’m not quite at the point where I can join in with “Me Made May”, one day I hope to have a small collection of clothes that a) I made and b) are actually wearable.

To kick start this, I thought I’d have a go at making something simple. A skirt! What could be simpler! So I turned to my trusty copy of “Sew Your Own Wardrobe” from the Great British Sewing Bee. See the skirt, read the instructions, make a pattern (once I realised after 20 minutes of looking at the paper patterns provided and rereading the instructions that I had to make the pattern…), cut the fabric and boom! Skirt!

Not *that* simple sadly. Like many other bloggers before me, I realised the dimensions given in the book (page 98) were totally wonky. I couldn’t make the pattern work on the dimension of fabric provided. Couldn’t work. No matter how I laid the pieces. No matter how many tiny hot tears of frustration I cried over the (now sodden) fabric. It just would. Not. Work. So I did what everyone else does, I googled and found the answer. It wasn’t me that was wrong! Oh frabjous day! The book was wrong.

The actual dimensions to cut out of the skirt piece are:

fold fabric, measure from the fold 17cm top and 22cm bottom, draw diagonal line from top to bottom. This, once unfolded, gives you a skirt piece of 34cm top and 44cm bottom. From then on it has been simple.

SO FAR. For this is a work-in-progress post. I always forget to take pictures until right at the end so thought that I’d do a WIP post for the first time.

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Here is the fabric – -a lovely green  fabric with yellow lines on it. Saw the fabric and thought it would be perfect for the skirt. Here’s hoping…

The pattern calls for 4 skirt pieces to be cut, along with possible 2 waistband pieces (still not convinced I’ve got the right number). After a lot of time with my cutting wheel, I managed to mostly neatly cut out the pieces.

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The book instructions suggest you make the pattern out of a newspaper page. I had no newspaper handy – there was a flurry of recycling just before I started which ruled that option out. But I do have quite a lot of paper chart pattern paper and some pattern plastic which I decided to make use of. I’ll keep the pieces to make more skirts, assuming I can pull this one off. Otherwise they will be recycled and never mentioned again. 

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And now the final picture – the “where I got to before I started blogging this evening” picture. I’ve pinned all four skirt pieces together in readiness for sewing.  I’ll need to take a bit of a run up at it and hope with a fair wind and a napping baby I’ll be able to get this done in the next…ooh…year or so.

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