Sunday, 18 March 2018

Completed at last - Peplum Jacket in Green Faux leather.

This jacket is yet another item that was far harder to actually make than to dream about making. I had the idea back at the wonderful New Year when I made my plans like many of us do to sew certain things that I actually need.

I made the very successful and easy to make faux leather skirt and wanted a jacket.

I have never made a peplum jacket so went with Burds Easy. Its the second item I have made from a Burda Easy and to be honest they are NOT EASY.

I think ts called Burda Easy because you do not need to trace and the styles are very teen inspired. Don't let that put you off though because they are also very wearable. Possibly the problem is all things I have made are the difficult patterns and I am taken in by the magazine title. The shirt I made worked and this has also worked.

They just take longer than I expected. But then most things do.

I suppose I really like to churn out fast easy projects which helps with blogging because I have something to write about every week, but really it is time I started to spend longer, and make better more involved clothing so apologies if the blog posts get further appart.

When you read all this stuff about being a successful blogger, a post a week seems to be a must, but really my blogging is a way to connect with people like me who sew, because its a lonely world otherwise. Its not really about being a blogger. Thats just the means to an end. And its a very successful way to feel connected. I a not really into Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc but I do enjoy blogging.

Though blogging does also mean you see your makes differently because you see photos when perhaps you would not normally take any and then you see things as others do and you see how something does not hang quite right - see my peplum!

Or is that just a crease?

I think blogging does help with perfecting your sewing. Also when people tell you where you went wrong that is so helpful. It really is a good thing to get criticism and advice from other sewists. Or sewers.

I will still aim to do a post a week or more but when all you have achieved is unpicking something ten times it gets a bit difficult.

Well this faux leather is ok for unpicking as well which surprised me especially after the antics with my T shirt.

On this occassion, I immediately unpicked when I went wrong  rather than go away and leave it.

It went wrong when I put in the zip, and later when I tried to finish off the neck.

Loads of problems in fact possibly down to my inaccurate cutting out with blunt scissors. Yes, I have to get round to buying some new ones asap because sharpening has not really helped much. I think there must be a burr stopping them working properly. They no longer cut along the entire blade.

Well the actual attaching of the zip, whilst giving me some thought to get it right, went OK. As explained in my previous post about constructing this jacket

This Burda Easy is in German so I need to be a bit creative. But then, I have yet to follow a Burda pattern that does things in what I think of as the right order anyway. I usually have to wing it.

I tried to sew the topstitching down the side of the zip, where you get the zip overlap - not sure what this is meant to be called. I carefully pinned onto the stitchline and I sewed from the right side. It went OK at the start then just all puckered up.

Disaster thinks me and ruined jacket from my lovely fabric. And this fabric was very cheap. this bit was just 99p for about 3m, but I still love it, it was such a  bargain. I cannot replace for that price since the Ebay seller has since realised what it is she is selling. It now goes for £7 for 2m. Still Ok but this was much cheaper. I was very lucky to get it in the frst place. Green is not my first choice for leather but not a bad choice when this cheap and I do wear dark and bright greens a lot.

I also thought it will look great made into this jacket. But I am tired at the end of a busy weekend and get on with sewing to try and get this finished and I HAVE to immediately un-pick when it all went wrong. If it was any other fabric I would have done this later to avoid slipping with the stitch ripper when tired. I needed to stop but I persevered. I very slowly unpicked and forced myself to take a break half way through to ensure I did not destroy this.

Had a cup of tea and then when I had already decided to stop I just went ahead and sewed it with the right side down over the same stitch marks. I never pinned this time and its not quite perfect but does actually look passable. I do not think I would have done a better job later taking more time so thats the best I am going to manage I think. It will have to do. Its a bit narrower at one side at the top of the zip than the other but does not look too bad on.

So then I hand sewed the peplum lining up. I needed to add tucks on the reverse to make the peplum work. Again probably imperfect cutting. I think its is still not quite rigt in the way it hangs but only realised that after seeing the pictures. Definitely seems to be pulling a bit to one side (see the picture above)  so I may get round to undoing and resewing this at some point.

Not now though because I have really had quite enough of this jacket and I am prepared to wear it as it is for a few wearings at least. I will see if it hangs out first because I did leave this in a pile of UFOs for over a month so have not kept it well and it did get creased. Being coated cotton I feel worried to iron it so will leave it for now and wait.

Then I couldn't get the collar to work either. I unpicked that 3 times before waking up in the middle of the night with a realisation that bias binding - I already have some in dark green which sort of tones - in a  band attached to both the facing and the collar would sort the problem out. I think the facing was a touch too short but it works in the end. It was a bit fiddly to sew to each side but I got it done very quickly one morning. I hand sewed the inside collar next to the zip ending and the neck facings. The collar as you can see is higher one side or at least the facing shows more one side than the other!
It is a bit too tight possibly too or maybe my shoulders are too wide (they are wide!) so next time I think I may need to do some pattern adjusting here - wow I am getting so knowledgable now.

Wouldn't have even considered adjusting a pattern a year ago!

I have currently no idea what I need to do to correct this so will need to read up on the best way to adjust this - any help or advice on pattern adjusting for wide shoulders appreciated.

It has taken me months to make it, but mainly it has been the fact I needed to sew the cuffs by hand since I had such problems with the rest of the top stitching I decided not to bother to sew topstiching to attach these - at least I think that is what Burda is telling me to do, but as explained its in German and my german language skills are limited so I am going by pictures here. Since I couldn't handle the hand sewing  and that meant I could not attach them any other way, this has had to wait till I got round to it which as it turned out was several weeks.

I am now in exactly the same boat with a coat I am making,  and I have to hem the coat by hand and attach the lining which is a BIG project but more later on that, hence this was the smaller project so I finally got it finished. 

Since its taken me so very long to sort out the problems with this jacket I really have had enough.  I need this project to end!

I do not want to scrap it but its not very good really. But it does work despite all the mistakes and my next one should in theory work better. I am reasonably happy despite my collar which is definitely not right. It looks OK according to my other half who can be very critical. I can wear this despite the neck, because unless I do the zip right up, which is something I am very unlikely to do anyway, you actually cannot really tell its wonky. Having long hair probably hides things too so I will try not to tie it back when wearing this!
And really I should now move on I think and maybe make another more perfect version of this and use this as my muslin. Maybe a size larger too! And with adjustments............

Sad I had to go and make my first attempt from my faux leather but then they do say make a muslin first don't they. Wise words in this case but a bit late for me to realise that!

So here is is with my green skirt:

And here I feel cosplay-ish with my green faux leather leggings:

Could do with a sword or something here!
Yes. its OK despite its faults and again it was a real learning curve and after all thats the whole point of this blog.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave any comments - especially if you have advice on how to do this better or make adjustments for wide shoulders because everywhere else it fits, because thats what I need for my next version of this pattern - and I haven't a clue where to start. Maybe I should cut a larger size and try to grade in to the waist?
Thanks for reading,

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Two tops and my latest stash builing fabrics

I have not done much this week. I made a couple of tops.

The green is velvet - probably polyester. Its an OK quality but not luxury. Just your average polyester that has some two-way stretch but no lycra. You find oodles of RTW made of this stuff around Christmas time. I previously made a slip dress from this green velvet. 

The pink top is made from the bodycon 4-way stretch I used several times before for leggings and another top. You can use the reverse as a plain black as well as I did for my leggings.

These two tops were both originally made for work. This is Butterick 5562 View D which is the same pattern as the multi media tops
I have worn them for work earlier in the week but being nice basic Tshirts I am also starting to wear these for fun. I think they both work well with my blue combats. These were childrens/teen boys RTW that I bought in a sale ages ago and then dyed royal blue. They are pretty much worn out now but I do still wear them for things like dog walking. I need to make a replacement for these in fact but so far have not found suitable fabric at the right price.

Talking of fabrics Sue of a Colourful Canvas posted about how she has just ventured into online fabric shopping:

I found this an interesting post because virtually all my fabrics are bought online. Most are cheap and bought in larger amounts since I tend to buy  job lots from Yvonne at Weston fabrics off Ebay 

The green velvet I bid on two pieces. One was 4m and cost me 99p. The second cost me about £3 for 2m making the much cheaper piece the longer bit and this generally seems to be how it works. Then the pink bodycon fabric I again won two pieces. I do not remember the cost of this one since I bought it at the start of my stash building. It was pretty inexpensive though. 

 Yvonne also does a "Buy it Now" range and from experience these are the middle bits of the roll so tend to be better as in less creased/dusty etc. I often bid on several bits of fabric then I either pick up direct from Yvonne or get I posted to me which depends on if I can get time off work.

To be honest if there is an option to pick up, and I can do it, I go for it because my car is very cheap fuel wise and to my way of reasoning that gives me an extra one or two pieces of fabric because to post 10kg to me costs about £10. Sometimes I can pick up 8 lengths of fabric for £10 off this seller but that is down to luck. Fuel there and back costs me about £4 ( its a 40 mile round trip) so you can see how I am thinking here.  I will sometimes also add a full price piece from her Buy it Now range but even at full price they prices are good value.

For example I just bought 4m of jet black 4 way stretch dancewear type crushed velvet with lycra the other week for £12 which is not a bad price at all. Usually you would pay £6.99 plus postage for this even off Ebay. However I also won a 2.75m piece for £4.09 so it is often cheaper to go for the auctions but these can end up more expensive than just going Buy it Now in the first place.

I also recently ignored the Buy it Now price for a lovely 4m piece of 4 way stretch multicoloured burn out velvet which I would have loved and which the auction piece went to £24 so I should have bought the identical Buy it Now bit for £12 but someone else got there first. I was at work so could not follow the auction. Sad but I tell myself it was not meant to be. So it does not always work out.

Buying fabric this way you need to just go for it and not worry too much or obsess too much about what you want it for and how much you like it because its all a risk.  You may not win it. You have not felt the fabric and you may hate it tho even then you always find a use eventually believe me so you cannot really go wrong. I rarely buy tho knowing what I will do with it. The only time I know is when I buy full price from someone. I just buy when I have some spare money and decide later what to do with it.I also only buy a couple of times a year. Then I binge and get £60 worth of fabric.

This is my latest haul of fabrics from this seller costing me £78 including nearly £11 to post to me:

Here I have: 6.75m of the black velvet in 2 pieces - 4m at £12 (Buy it Now) and 2.75m at £4.09 (auction decsribed above).
3m of  4-way stretch and very nice sky blue animal print,
4m black chiffon £8 ( full price, Buy in Now bought before I won the auction just in case I didn't because I actually, unusually have a known use for this),
4m black chiffon £4.75 (auction),
4m burgundy ribbed £3 ( bought this before in dark green and purple and its great for tops, dresses and flared trousers although quite light weight). I missed out on the black but have spent out!
 2m Black and cream stretch £3.31 ( see a hoody for my man hereright in photo) and maybe a skirt/top,
3m black and white striped dancewear quality 4-way stretch £4,
6.75m green velour £10.77 ( got carried away with bidding aganst someone here so over spent. Good quality tho.),
2m black stretch faux leather £7 (full price Buy it Now. Bought loads of this in different colours a year or so ago but she has realised what it is now and put up her price. I got my green which is the same for 99p for 4m). There was some in the auction which went for less but I stayed safe and just bought this after losing the multicoloured burn out. I have only small bits left of my last two bits of black faux leather so its a good time to grab some and still a good price for 2m.

The surprise with this lot was the green velour which looked lime on the PC but is actually more emerald/ forest in real life so thats something to be aware of. I personally do not care but some people might. Though you can always resell on Ebay if you do not want it.This is a good stash building haul and I am now planning what to do with all this lovely fabric!

Yvonee has an unpredictable fabric selection since its all ends of rolls but there is some lovely stuff available. You do have to pick and choose but mostly I have had a very good experience from this Ebay seller.  There have been a couple of bits with faults ( she tells you on the description) although I have had one bit that was not labelled probably because it was difficult to see and she never realised but generally its fine for the price and because you get a big bit you can work round any marks or faults easily so long as you look first to check. So despite the fact I will end up bidding against you, I would recommend this seller on Ebay.

I also buy from a couple of other sellers but that tends to be full price - although I try to keep an eye open for when they get to the ends of their stock and the price suddenly drops which has happened a few times. I cannot list them all here but there is some good novely skull fabric from here:

Ebay is also very good for trimmings like lace and ribbon, elastic, zips and also for metal studs and steampunk type fastenings  I have bought loads of short 1m lengths of lace and ribbon from Chinese / Hong Kong / Korean companies off Ebay. These take ages to arrive but most of them do arrive. You need to keep an eye on what you ordered though in case it does not arrive and you need to let Ebay know to claim back your money by a certain number of days so this route has its problems. Mostly though its fine and you can get buttons this way too.A word of warning too, I got blagged more than once they were going to resend when something never arrived. Do not agree to this. Get your money back and reorder if you want because you run out of time to claim back the money and Ebay were great and still sorted it out but its hassle in that you have to ring up and explain and then in my case they sided with me but I have no idea if thats usual or anything so be careful. 

This lace trimmed  top tho was made from lace bought in 1m or 1 yard ( I cannot remember which) lengths for 99p each from Ebay Chinese companies and the cream fabric which is synthetic stretch but solid crepe stuff came from Weston Fabrics for £1.02 for 2m. I do not particularly like this fabric but it works in this top and I wear it loads for work with office type clothing.

While taking these pictures I met a sheep. Well she photobombed me!
 She was probably wondering what these weird humans were doing next to her field!

Very friendly creature.

 Oh and I upcycled this hat:

So I would reccomend venturing into some Ebay buying. 

Maybe carefully at first but then you will get more confidence becase there is some great fabric and very low prices out there so long as you do not mind a precut piece in a set length.

So what do you reckon? Will you be trying Ebay fabric sellers?

Saturday, 3 March 2018

black mesh Frieda Petrenko inspired top

I watch Holby City most weeks. Not because I like it because generally I hate hospital soaps, but my other half comes from a family of nurses which is I think why we have to watch it. He is not himself a nurse but his Mum, Sister etc etc are all nurses and by the sounds of it he grew up watching these types of TV programs. So I watch.

For the most part I am pretty bored and get on with cleaning the kitchen or similar essential mundane stuff. One character I have got into though is Frieda Petrenko played by Olga Fedori. She is very much a Goth and wears some really nice gear. Petrenko usually wears mesh or lace tops under here Doctor's scrubs. They just kind of peep out. The tops tend to vary over the weeks and try as I might I cannot find a picture of this top that inspired me to make todays post.

This one particular under top is made from wide mesh and unlike most tops of similar designs I have come across it has a "normal" T shirt neck and possibly wrists.

Well mine has wrists anyway. I did not really want to sit through several episodes of Holby to check that small detail because I know the last time she was seen on screen wearing tis top is 3-4 weeks ago now so it would mean far too many episodes just for this blog post. The top in questions seems not to be in any easy to find internet posts.

So my wrists and neck edges are black lycra fabric left over from something else I made. I used the Its always autumn free pattern for this top - one of my internet favourites which I have used several times before.
Great pattern. I seriously recommend it. You can see some of my previous versions here

and a hack of it here:

Stupidly this time I made it bigger to accommodate as much fabric as possible rather than have a few left over scraps which would go to waste. That was a mistake. I am sure Petrenko's original is tighter and more Tshirt like. I may have to make another but with some fishnet which I have in my stash.

I bought the fabric full price on my birthday back in July so its kid of precious and I virtually never buy full priced fabric so this was for me expensive at £7 a meter. I wanted absolutely no waste. Well its worked out bigger and more baggy that it was meant to but I reckon still looks OK.

That is until I show you this:

Looks like some reject from the market eh?

I cocked it up.

Its all twisted and lop-sided!

It happened because I sewed one sleeve with the fabric on the wrong side. You can just about see here:
Its actually very difficult to see which is the right and wrong side but there is a difference so what I have done is make the back and front of one sleeve the wrong way round if you see what I mean so the lower front neck ends up on the back and the higher back, on the front, but only on one side so the final result is I have twisted it.
Because its so hard to see and to sew as well, because sewing is a bit tricky, so I actually had a larger than usual seam allowance to ensure I caught all the ends of the cut bits of mesh into the seams, so I really do not want to cut this appart and resew.

I could resew but it looks perfectly Ok on me and is comfortable and if I take it all appart I could wreck my precious and expensive fabric so its staying just as it is. The mesh is very forgiving and I think other than me most people, probably all people, will never realise the sleeve on one side is sewn on inside out.

 Sorry about the toast. These were taken when I was not planning on being a model yet.

Well being someone who has grown up wearing cheapo discount and market clothing that's not so bad and it looks Ok on me I think so I am not that worried. I just kind of find it a bit funny. The hem I have so far left unhemmed and raw which I quite like although depending on how it wears I may yet get round to hemming that. I prefer it raw. It works with the look I think.

Its a bit of a shame the neck is so wide and unlike what I set out to make but in all its a success because I am very sure I will be wearing this lots. Its just my kind of garment.

In case you were wondering I also made the leggings.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave comments

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Flora and Fauna The Monthly Stitch February Challenge

This skirt is a catalogue of disasters.


I bought this fabric probably 3-4 years ago. Long before I started the blog anyway so possibly you could say this was the beginning of my fabric stash. At the time I did not have ANY fabric at all and hardly sewed anything. I had though recently made my first bugs dress. So there I was in Ikea Bargain Basement and I got tempted by these two bags of fabric. In each bag there were 3 pieces and it said on the label they were 1.0 -1.5m long. At just £5 each bag that was a serious bargain. Except when I got home each piece was actually only half of the normal width so really I was ripped off. I could have taken them back but I live over 20 miles away from my Ikea store and it would have cost me nearly as much in fuel to go there and back to take them back so would not have achieved anything really so I kept it. This is the first piece I have found a use for. Its lovely heavy weight cotton – almost canvas. Meant probably for curtains. I think these were bits used in their in-store displays but other than the smallness widthwise they are in perfect condition.

Well its such a small bit – this one was just about 1.5m long and as I said half the normal width, so squeezing this skirt out was still not easy despite it not needing much fabric. So there are some serious faults with pattern matching which were completely unavoidable. I did not have much left over as you can see this is all I have left:

I had to use two pieces to make the waistband, since there was nothing left long enough after I cut the skirt bits so the waistband has a seam down one side. It does not matter.

I cut this out using the Toile pattern 1.1 which I used recently for this velvet skirt.

The toile pattern is still free at the moment. To get it you need to register.

This time though I went up a size since the velvet skirt is very tight.

I missed out the back darts completely and “fittted” the skirt to me after construction – before the waistband being attached. To take in the excess I added two front pleats so its kind of a tulip skirt.

This version has a back zip and back vent but again is shorter than the pattern intends. I kept the back vent on this one and since its unlined I kind of just bodged the back. I bagged out the vent which worked great but could not work out how to do the hem without either spending ages hand sewing (not my thing) or topstitching so in the end its probaly a bit unusual in being bagged, topstitched and also I topstitched round the vent as well to reinforce it. Doesn’t matter. By the time I got to this point I no longer cared due to lots of problems. So I broke all the “rules” with this but it seems to work.

I spent ages checking my automatic buttonhole worked ok only to have it jam and cock up on the actual proper one so its very rubbish and in the wrong position.

I put the waistband on upside down and ended up redoing that 3 times. I never put interfacing in the waistband either! I did find a nice button from my Great Aunties stash though so am pleased with that.

Despite the un-matched print I am still reasonably happy with this for several reasons:

  • It fits the theme of this months TMS challenge
  • I finally found a use for my Ikea rip-off stash
  • It will be wearable for work which works with my January sewing aims
  • And to top it off, it gives me a new spring skirt, giving me something seasonal which usually I am rubbish at. Generally the season is half-way through before I manage to sew something for it, so all in all a success I think.

If you were wondering, I also made the top  I am wearing

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave comments,