Thursday, 28 May 2020

Cherry fabric Kobenhaven number 6 by How to do Fashion




Another stash buster for both pattern and fabric!


And another item thats stretching me - as in I would not go out and buy this because I have become very boring and staid and middle aged in my clothing. Time to stretch my boundaries because I have all these lovely patterns so need to stop making basics and get on with making interesting things. Thats why I began sewing in the first place. I previously made the Cerena Romper and that was a serious risk for me. A step out of my comfort zone. And I love it.

So is this dress. But long ago I bought the pattern so I need to start making all thios stuff and step out of my clothing rut and be who I want to be again.

 I bought the pattern years ago as part of the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month. I put it together a year or so ago and never made it up.

The cherry fabric is stretch cotton sateen bought as an end of roll for £10 for 3m when I also bought this patterned fabric I used for my trousers. I actually regretted both of these purchases because although I love the fabrics, neither is suitable for work clothing. I might get away with a top I suppose. I have enough of each fabric left over to attempt to make some work tops so thats on my to-do list.





Though I really do not want to waste nice fabric on something I intend to be work clothing that if I end up not liking the design as work worthy I will probably also not then wear it for "play" because I wear very different clothing for work and play.

Its not just the fabric choices its the styles and designs. Even skirt length etc. Since I have tattoos I keep them well covered at work. My workplace would not appreciate them despite what the world may say about equality. Sometimes you just have to toe the line and play the game so to speak. I am not condoning this. I hate it, but life has proved thats just how it works. In my world anyway. I was not fortunate enough to make it as an actress or rock star or even a writer so I have to be "normal" at work. Thats means I get to keep my job and even do well at it.

Anyway thats enough about work ethics.

This is the Kobenhaven dress version 1. I decided to use this pattern which I really liked when I bought it despite its not really at all my style.

I sewed the top first since I was not too sure of the size. By my measurements I am between two sizes. I went for the smaller size since that was the closest to my measurements but was worried it would not fit so decided to sew it first as a single layer and try it out. It turned out quite big so I then cut the lining for the top from the same fabric.

I could not get the pleats on the bodice to be identical for both sides. I unpicked and resewed several times and just could not get this right. The unpicking meant I was causing the fabric to fray and I was getting very frustrated. The two sides never came out the same so would just look rubbish when worn so in the end I gathered instead. That works. Though I wish I had just sewn the two fronts together then gathered instead of doing as the pattern says and (pleating) gathering each side of the front seperately. I also decided to sew a line of stitches to catch the front bodice down to the lining. This was sewn through both outer layer and lining. I am not sure if it makes much difference. Its still not right but I decided it was time to stop fiddling.

I shortened the skirt length before cutting by about 6 inches or 15 cm so by quite a lot. I want this above knee though and hate pencil skirts.Then if its a bit shorter theres a reasonable chance I will actually wear this. Long skirts seem to stay in the wardrobe and never get worn with just one exception and thats a very long faux leather skirt I made. I do wear that one. Its stretch and comfy though and not restricting at all.



However, as it went together I was very aware this dress is not really my usual style. I was toying with using a totally different skirt for example using my The Vampires Wife style skirt blocks for this instead of the skirt it comes with. I am not sure about the front pleats on the skirt which make it a tulip skirt shape. When I put it together I was even more unsure. I showed my partner. At this point I had not sewn the zip in but the rest was together.

My partner though said it looks very cute. Well thats not something I ever remember him saying about any dress before, so I decided to go with this after all. It must be ok!


The only invisible zip I have is white not cream but I think it will do. Its a bit long but I remember lots of different directions on websites and patterns saying you can just cut the excess off invisible zips so I have used that. I have not yet cut the end off. I know I will need to sew over the zip itself to keep the two sides together etc. Its just I am worried to actually cut it. Its very long though so I really will have to deal with that soon.
 

I am not sure if I will make the version 2 of this, though I am tempted. I will see how much I wear this one first I think. I also have no suitable fabric. Though having said that I suspect this would fit perfectly well in a non-stretch woven as well.  I thought if it was made in stretch it would allow for the fact I am between sizes. The pattern does not say you need stretch and its not as tight as I was expecting so I could make a non-stretch version of this and I think it will still fit me.

I think this makes a lovely summer sun dress. Certainly it is adventurous for me to wear this and that has to be good for me.
.
Bracken


Thursday, 21 May 2020

Cerena Romper in green velvet


I do not think I would go out and buy this romper from any shop but I love it. I only have this because I sew and it gets boring sewing the same styles over and over. Basics are good but variety is as well. When I began my sewing adventure I wanted to make interesting clothing, but even then its very easy to end up making your favourite patterns over and over. Yes, basics are brilliant but variety matters too.

Sewing allows me to indulge in adventures with clothing that I had as a young woman when I was very adventurous and tried out new things all the time. Rare was the month I never bought something new to wear. I enjoyed, like most young girls, a very varied wardrobe of clothing. In recent years I have kind of become stuck in a rut clothing-wise and wear the same styles all the time.So having achieved a wearable wardrob of clothing its time I broadened my horizons and made some "different" items.

This is the Cerena Romper from Rebecca Page patterns.The pattern is for both jersey and woven fabrics. It has options for with and without pockets and elastic or normal ankles, shorts medium length or long trousers. Being my first ever Rebecca Page make I decided to keep everything simple, so I sewed the jersey version without pockets. That was a mistake.  I should have made it with pockets. Pockets are so useful.


The jersey version is ideal for what I currently want but I think this could work in various fabrics. For example it could be made in sequins for a Christmas party, a pretty print for summer or pin stripes and a plain white cotton top for a more formal look. It would work for clubbing, a restaurant, a holiday in the sun or as I want it as lounge-wear for early morning trips to the shower or late afternoon BBQs.

I made this for a camping holiday. I expect it will be cold in the early morning and evenings and need a lounge suit to wear then. Our proposed holiday is Scotland doing the 500 route, but since we are still in lockdown and its meant to be next month I suspect it will not happen. However, I have to keep faith and keep going etc, so am still getting my holiday wardrobe together even if it never takes place.

Anyway this will be great for simply lounging round at home.


The pattern went together really well and was relatively easy. I used the Quick glance guide rather than the extended instructions ( which could be very useful if you do not sew often) and used an overlocker with twin needle to sew this.

It was a relatively fast make. Its made in a stretch velvet velour in an olive/kahki green which I used for several previous sews. This is the last bit I have of this fabric.

Previous makes are a top and my slip dress and  a very simple dress based on squares of fabric.


I love the colour of this though its not the best quality fabric. It was one of my Ebay bargains a few years ago now so I am still stash busting too😀




The hardest part for me, making this was the neck tie. Probably that is due to my making this in velvet/ velour because I ended up making 4 versions of this and none worked. It just refused to turn inside out in either nap direction. Then I turned this fabric reverse out but again could not turn it, so I in the end I just folded it over reverse side out so the plain side of the fabric shows not the velour which refused to slip, and so there were no raw edges, and sewed with the twin needle straight down the middle of the tie. Its not such a nice finish as turning it properly but does work and being the reverse of the fabric it slips Ok but not too much, and tones perfectly with the main suit fabric.I personally would not bother to sew the trouser darts next time I make this since with the elasticated waist I think they are not really needed but it depends how you want your clothing to look. If making this in a woven then they would be essential to get the fit because the trousers in the woven have a back zip. I really like that this is a very multi-fabric and multi-look pattern for both wovens and stretch jersey. You could make so many different versions.

I also need to make the trouser legs a bit longer next time if not adding the elastic. Thats a minor alteration though. I had to have elastic ankles because otherwise these would have been a bit short. Thats not an issue because I think this looks great anyway with gathered ankles and kind of fits the velvet slouchy look too.

I am actually not a great fan of jumpsuits - or rompers as they have recently become. Previously they were knonw as playsuits in the 90s. I hade a serious dislike of them as a teen associating them with Sheena Easton. Not at all my style. But in the early 2000s I had a couple of shorts versions which I did wear on holiday in Spain and I thought for a holiday look in Scotland in a slightly warmer fabric this could be good.


I would also not normally feel comfortable with a baggy halter neck since I hate the "loose boob" feeling but as a lounge suit its great.

I don't have a problem with a tight fit halter neck though. I like to feel everything is held in place!

This needs a strapless bra really or to be young enough for it not to matter.

I find it very comfortable to wear though and it will be brilliant to slip on early in the morning or at the end of the day as lounge-wear.

 
 
One things for sure, I have discovered a new source of interesting patterns in Rebecca Page patterns which has expanded my comfort zone with sewing. Always thats a good thing.
Bracken

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Almost an Aran


This is from one of my 80s knitting mags.



I am trying to continue with my New Years Resolution to use each magazine at least once.


That means its been worth me hoarding them all these years despite until this year I have never knitted anything from them.

Lockdown makes this easier to achieve, since I have loads of time with no work.


 Well this particular jumper was a challenge.

 
It is also the most near to perfect jumper I have knitted so far, since I returned to knitting after my operation back in October 2019.

 
 
Its not quite an aran because its a chunky weight yarn. On top of that I doubled the mohair type yarn the pattern told me to use to make it work better because I had a right mix of yarns all bought second hand from ebay sellers back in 2016. I do not much like the pale coloured cotton ribbon mix yarn and I have not enough of the various blues so rather than just have stripes of different yarns with different fibre compsitions which would possible be noticible, I decided it would tie it all together better if I have a strand that is the same stuff running through the entire jumper.


Hence its a mottled yarn effect but it does mean the stripes of all different kinds of yarns work. The end result is it all looks like one type of yarn despite being made up of all sorts of oddments.


The "white" is a mix of pale yellow/cream ribbon and mohair and pale blue ribbon and mohair which is itself made of two strands of yarn. To make this work I used the pale blue on the bottom ribbing and  all of the sleeves and the pale yellow on the body, pocket ribbing and neck ribbing.

The body has royal blue mohair mix which is a lower grade of 52% mohair. Then a dark navy high quality thermal 80% mohair and finally most of the jumper has a bright sky blue mohair which is 80% mohair. By mixing the ribbon yarn throughout with the mohair stripes it works well and ties it all together

Oh and the inside of the pockets is a similar blue to the sky blue but not quite the same colour but does not notice after making up. As I said this is made from oddments!

The pattern said to knit this on needles sizes 4mm and 5.5mm. Because I had an extra thick yarn due to the two yarns being used together I swapped to 5mm and 6.5mm. Despite this it has actually turned out about the same gauge and overall size. Though I do think from the picture I have one repeat less than in the magazine, but it measures the same in my swatch!.Thats weird because I am a loose knitter so most often the gauge comes out bigger not smaller than the pattern. Anyway I am not sure what is ging on with the tension but it works for me.

In the end then I have one strand of blue mohair type with one strand ( made up of two strands) of ribbon yarn. This means I needed to ensure every stitch had all 3 strands. I did drop one strand a couple of times which was a pain because I then had to drop stitches to pick back up again. And that was a killer with the cables. In the end when I made mistakes I just ripped the whole lot back and reknitted. Some times if I made another mistake I ended up doing that 3 or 4 times for a short part of the knitting. I kept forgetting the bobbles as well. But it was easier and quicker to completely rip it back than trying to sort it the usual way by dropping the stitch and picking up correctly.

I have never knitted pockets before. That was a learning curve.
 


 Then the V neck. I have done one once before but that was in the mid 80s and with my mum directing me. I could not at all fathom how to domitres. You Tube is a wonderful tool!



The pattern has a folded over V neck but I do not really like that look. It was popular int he 80s and it seems nearly all Vnecks from that time were that style. I prefer the 50s ( and earlier) type of mitred V.

Well my Vneck is quite a bit higher than my pattern. Thats an accident. It works though and will probably be warmer than a lower V neck would be. I am actually considering doing a V neck on my current knit which is lace. Lace for me is more of a challenge than cables. I find once the cable is set its pretty easy. Its also not boring which plain knitting is. I really enjoyed this jumper. Its taken quite a while. I have not managed to knit often since my hip recovered and have done more sewing.
This is going to be my over jumper as in I want to wear it over another jumper or a fleece to take the dogs walks in winter.

Thats another reason for the pockets. I always have problems with my keys! The pockets do make it hang a bit "off" at the front when my hands are not in them but to be hoenst I do not care.

Despite I love the cable pattern this is not a fashion jumper its purely for practicality. Thats also why I deliberately made the sleeves long so I can pull them right down over my mitts to keep my hand warm on long dog walks in the snow and ice. It was certainly far too hot to be wearing this today when we took the photos.


I have to knit cables because I get bored if I do so called easier plain knitting. The cable patter actually tok less time than my previous recent knits because I never really go bored. Its a shame because I do like cables but not as much as some other looks. Still if thats the way to make myself knit up all the yarn in the stash its the way forward. Knitting helps my hands which have severe swelling through arthritis. Strange realy that doing something that hutrs can make your hand works better but it really does so if at all possible I really need to continue knitting.

Then theres the upcycling thing. All the yarn here is ethical in that its old. People are selling their old odd balls of mohair from the 80s. Its generally better quality than the yarn I have bought recently new. Also I do not feel ( as a vegan) that I should buy new mohair unless it comes from animals allowed to live their lives fully without cruelty or slaughter. I see no issues if they are allowed to though despite others tell me I should. I know there are "named sheep" yarns available though they are not common where the sheep who must be shorn are never slaughtered. The price of the yarn or knitted garment goes towards their upkeep. I like that idea. I can see nothing wrong with wearing that either. There is no doubt in my mind that an acrylic yarn will never be as warm or hard wearing as a real wool or mohair yarn. Upcycling is my way of dealing with this.

Stay safe, and happy crafting, cooking and living
Bracken

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Jamesia wide leg skulls and rainbow trousers





These are my first pair of cotton - non-stretch fabric Jamesia Trousers which is a free Mood Fabrics pattern. I have made two pairs before from stretch fabric so Imade a smaller si\ze to get the fit right. This meant these were a slight risk because I did not know what size to make them. In the end I just went up a size. Whereas my previous two pairs are pull on these have a side zip. Although I have made a slight error by putting the side zip into the right hand side not the usual left hand side of the trousers. Since AntiBrand ( the Goth brand) do this anyway I think whatever! I have a bought pair of AntiBrand trousers with this. Its a bit strange when you are used to the normal left hand side zip but there is really no reason why it must be on the left not on the right.
  
I like them!

I have had the fabric which is 100% cotton, for probably 5 years so yet another stash buster. I am enjoying this part of lockdown I must admit. The time to do what I enjoy. Sadly less so the improsonment which means I do not get to wear any of my new clothes to go out somewhere. Not even to go food shopping. Never mind. Hopefully that will end soon though I am happy enough not going to work. You cannot stay for ever locked in though - well I do hope not!

 A slightly weird pose! 

I was trying to show you the flared leg.
 

 The top is scuba and is made based on the Mood Fabrics free Bixa sweatshirt top pattern, though I did change the sleeves slightly to eliminate the top section and just have the normal sleeve with the overlay. You can read about my versions of the Bixa here:
https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2020/03/bixa-top.html
https://brackencrafts.blogspot.com/2020/04/pink-flares-and-bixa-version-2.html

Thanks for popping by and stay safe
Bracken

Friday, 1 May 2020

Stretch pencil trousers -model116 Burda Style 10/2012



I am currently sooooo glad to have a stash!

Thats fabric and patterns. I got all caught up in the trend for busting the stash at the end of last year. I know lots of bloggers go on and on about how its immoral to stash all this fabric. Everyone seems to make a massive deal about using the stash up. Well the current situation with being in lockdown is indeed not usual, but I am very, very, very happy I have lots of fabric and patterns stashed now.

Yes, I know I could buy PDFs anytime but could I also get ink to print them? My printer has run out of ink or at least it keeps tellling me the ink is low and needs replacing. I do not really want to waste the small amount I have left printing half a pattern and then not being able to make the garment because I have run out of ink, So far it still prints but its any time soon that it runs out. Can I get more ink? No, apparently everywhere has sold out of the cartridges I need. So yes, my stash is proving wonderful. I am so glad to have it.

Of course large though my stash was, its already getting much smaller. Thats yarn for knitting/ crochet as well as fabric. There are actually spaces on my shelves where there were none a few weeks back. Its not all made up yet but its getting washed, dried, ironed and cut into patterns and will soon be sewn. I will need to start replenishing my stash soon by the looks of things. Of course thats good.

I bought this Burda pattern for pencil trousers back in 2013. I bought the fabric in a sale last summer. Its a stretch cotton sateen and cost me £10 for 3m. I still have quite a bit left of this fabric.

I actually used the pattern before and hacked it to make these wide trousers.


I bought it because it was a basic pattern and at the time I did not have any patterns at all. I printed it the same day and then never made it up - or at least not into what its meant to be. I made the yellow trousers which I still own (though the pockets are not quite right on them!). I did not have the money then to buy a second trouser pattern and by the time I found some fabric I wanted wide Bowie style Pegs rather than narrow pencils so I had to have a go at making the pattern into what I needed. Its was reasonably successful bearing in mind my lack of instruction or previous experience and also my hap hazzard way of hacking without a ruler!

After using the pattern to make the yellow Bowie style peg trousers I stuck the original pattern back together accurately with tape and have used the same pattern, because as I said already I do not have ink to reprint right now.

The pattern seems very good despite being re-constructed.








I also used the facing from the Mood Jamesia pattern which I was using at the same time I cut these out because it fits and I seem to have lost the facing for these. It has worked anyway. I suppos if its the same size of trousers then the waist will be similar in size.

I suspect though I would have been better to make a smaller size of this pattern. I made according to my measurements but the trousers are a little loose. Though I am slim right now so may yet put my weight back on once I start to work again in which case they are best made in this size anyway. I would hate to out grow them before I even get to wear them outside the house. Lockdown is wonderful for giving me time to make but I have no where to wear anything and do not want to waste these doing the garden or decorating or similar.










 I did not even attempt to pattern match because this is very precious fabric. I need to get as much as possible out of the piece I bought. I know, it can be argued that the more precious the fabric, the better a garment should be, but to be fair if I bought these the pattern would not be matched and I actually do not really care. I have previously spent hours matching patterns and am not good at it. I also decided that it is often not really worth the effort. I prefer to make as many nice garments as I can from the pieces of fabric I can afford. For me thats better by far than buying high street boring clothing. Who is really going to notice the pattern matching ( or not!) on these?

 


These are the kind of trousers I treasured and wore to Raves and Festivals back in the 90s. I would have absolutely loved them then. I just need lockdown to end so I am able to wear them somewhere. I did walk the dog in them and was paranoid the whole time he would pull me over. Both dogs are very strong and I regularly fall over so get muddy knees. And there is always a risk of ripping my clothing of course as well. I am saving these now for after the lockdown.

Stay safe and well and enjoy your own stash busting and crafting while we all have time to do this
Bracken

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Black top with back lace insert


This top is really a cheat. I made the top a while ago. It was one of three basic black tops I made. This is the low back version which, as I wore it, was not a success. It kept falling off my shoulders. I suppose the opening was too wide at the back. I did not have a patternso hacked a normal top pattern. It was not a great success. It seemed fine when I made it but as worn just was not comfortable. I want to be able to live and move and not worry about showing off everything. So how to fix that.

Well in my stash is a ready made black lace V insert. I bought this ages ago. Its was sold as a front V insert but no reason why it must be for the front, and to be honest that is really not at all my look. These come in various designs. I even saw a skull lace version, but never bought that which I now regret, but at the time I had not found a use for this, and had owned it probably 3-4 years. It was from either Amazon or Ebay international sellers.  But for the back.............now that is very much my look.

So that was possibly a good idea. The top then sat on my sewing table along with the lace piece waiting. Lockdown is good for some things I suppose because its making me get round to all those small jobs I just do not get time to do. I spent probably an hour or so pinning the insert into place then zigzagged it oto the back of the top. Then cut off the excesss fabric. It could be neater if I had sewn it ontot he back piece before construction but of course this is repair really. I cecided not to cut the excess off before sewing and I think that was the right way to fix this. It took away any likelihood of me cutting off too much fabric.
 
It even works with racer back bras!


The fix works really well and I am very happy with the result. I wore this top all day yesterday in fact and it definitely works so it is well worth buying one of these inserts if you see one for sale. I think the V insert cost me at most a couple of UK pounds from a chinese company. It took a while to arrive but for the price its a great way to fix a problem such as this on this otherwise nice basic top.

Of course its no longer as basic a top now but this would never have been a work top anyway with such a low back. It makes a disaster into a very good fancy top which looks brilliant with both jeans and fancier bottoms.
Stay safe
Bracken

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

High Low skirt - self drafted


I cut this out 3 years ago as an A line skirt but did not like it, so took it to bits.

Then it went in and out of my stash every season it seems until last winter when I decided to cut it shorter and using the bottom of the skirt where it is wider to add pleats. I liked it better with pleats, but still could not decide what to do to finish it and it was not quite right so I stuck it back in the stash.



The fabric is very thick striped upholstery fabric - like the stuff found on bus or train seats - which I love but its so thick adding things like hems is very difficult and my machine simply will not sew this.

I added a normal lapped zip rather than an invisible due to the problems with sewing the very thick fabric. This went in quite easily maybe due to it being a  heavy weight chunky zip - the type generally used for jackets rather than skirts.


I have yet to decide whether to hand sew on a hook and eye. The zip seems to stay closed when its worn - I walked the dog in it today so that means it can stand up to moderate exercise and not come undone anyway.


Side view showing high low

Then I found my green crochet lace which has been hanging round for ages whilst making Micks T shirts ( you can read about them in previous posts) and decided to stick some on the hem. This will mean I can avoid a folded up thick hemline and I do not really want either a raw edge or overlocked edge showing so I need something to finish it off.


So then I was playing around with the green lace and it suddenly hit me this would work well with a high low hem so I went for it one evening and whilst wearing it added pins to check where to cut then I just chopped the bottom off. Yes risky but it was now a good length for work or play and I overlocked the edge and then added the lace with the fabric staying flat to avoid bulk. The lace is very unevenly pleated but it seems to work.

 To finish the waistband I used some scrap bits of black satin left over from this top.

I knew those bits would come in useful. I have a large bag of these satin bits. There is not a single bit big enough for anything other than trims but I have hung on to these ( yes even more rubbish in my stash!) and in this case it was the right thing to do. This proves it. I am still now keeping the rest of the satin bits just in case. They helped to make this skirt. I again left the skirt fabric flat and just bound the egde with the thin satin. I overlocked the inside edge of the strip so it minimised the thicknesses.



It reminds me of clothing from the early 2000s where it seemed everything was trimmed with random scraps or miss matched buttons or lace bits. Anyway I do like this skirt very much in the end and it was worth waiting for the inspiration to get this one right. I can see me wearing it a lot.
 

There's a kind of steampunk feel to this whilst still being suitable for everyday wear. A serious success I think for a couple of scraps of unwanted upholstery fabric.
And, far better than making the 2 bits of fabric I had into some boring cushions which was the obvious choice for this.



Well I am feel good right now because not only am I sewing new things, but I am finishing UFOs. And so far I am staying safe and well. And not getting too bored. Bonus!
 Stay safe
Bracken