Thursday, 14 November 2019

Dotty dungarees from Mood Jamesia free pattern

I am getting better. I can now wear proper shoes - even if velcro fastened! 

My leg is no where near as swollen. No idea as yet if both legs are the same length, because of the swelling, but its looking much more like they could be. Of course my left leg is also eventually possibly going to need a hip replacement. The Xrays showed decay, but not as bad as the right. It does not hurt so could last 20+ years yet, but as they say - they come as a pair so tend to wear as a pair, the fact there is a breakdown of the joint will mean it could be shorter when I stand up. Its looking pretty close now though so I am hoping they are the same length. There is no pain though, even with the discomfort from the operation itself. I am on pain killers, but before the op I was on similar, and they did not work. My hip does feel a bit different but I suppose thats cos its a bit of metal. 

I am getting much stronger. If it was not so slippy outside where we took these photoes I could stand without crutches now. I cannot yet walk properly though but thats getting better with the physio making me much stronger by the day it seems.

So anyway enough of that, here are my dotty dungarees made from the free Mood Fabrics Jamesia pattern. I made these a while back.

I am not allowed to sew for at least 6 weeks - its killing me believe me!
If all goes to plan I can sew early December.

 Knowing this, I made these before I had the op. So to my description: the fabric is a lovely dotty and very warm proper scuba fabric. I have no idea why I ever bought this fabric and its sat waiting for inspiration for nearly a year.

Then I decided I could use the Jamesia but like my previous version of this pattern I omitted the zip and made them pull on. You can see my other Jamesia trousers here:

The fabric is stretchy enough for this. Its a more 1990s feel I think. Because I am not able to pose well right now its hard to see the flares but these are definitely flared and very nice ones.

I added the bib and braces as pure inspiration. When trying them on for the first time for fitting it just seemed to work. I am very pleased I did make them into dungarees because I think they will actually be much more wearable than as trousers because the fabric is a strange choice really. Being dungarees somehow makes them more acceptable and wearable.

I used the waist facing from the Jamesia pattern and no elastic. The fabric is actually strongly elastic enough I reckon you could wear as trousers with no elastic as well but with the bib and braces I really do not need any. They are warm though, and are going to be a very good additon to this winter's wardrobe.

I never sewed proper button holes. I hate sewing buttonholes. One machine (Janome) has an automatic buttonhole maker that never quite works and my other older Brother will do decent button holes but its manual and the day I finished these I really could not be bothered, so I just sewed buttons onto the ends of the straps to fasten them. The buttons I have had for years and years and cannot remember what I took them off. I actually have three of them but only needed to use two for this. They are diamante. I have since washed these as well and the buttons are for now at least intact.

I top sitched round the waist and enclosed the straps and bib using the facing which made everything very neat. It also keep the very springy scuba facing in place inside the trousers.

The top is my self drafted punk style top worn over my first version of Madalynne's Noelle bralet that you can only just glimpse - I will tell you all about that in the next few weeks.

My only regret with these dungarees is there are no pockets. 
I really have no more scraps of this fabric so thats not going to happen. Other than that small defect I really love these.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Sequin trimmed flares from Mood Sewciety Jamesia pattern

I had my operation at last and I am definitely getting better. I will not be allowed to sew (with sewing machine) for at least another 4 weeks, but I made these just before the op and never had time to take photos of them. I am feeling pretty good today hence can stand for long enough to get them photographed. And I can only get better..........

These are a free pattern from Mood's Sewciety patterns. This is the Jamesia pattern. I have fancied making this since it was released.
Mood Jamesia FREE pattern

Unfortunately my bad posing on crutches does not show the flared-ness of these very well at all.


Please just take my word for it these are flares and very good flares as well. I will get some much better photos of these as soon as I can stand and walk - and pose- properly.

I used a scuba knit and I omitted the zip and darts. My reasoning here is without these the Jamesia is a very 90s pattern for a pull on pant in a stretch knit. I still treasure a couple of pairs of flares from the mid 90s that are very similar to these though possibly they are tighter on the thighs. Its an easy adjustment to make on future pairs though to take in the thighs. I added 1 inch wide elastic round the waist. Sorry not to know the cm of the elastic but its sold as 1 inch wide even though I am based in the UK where its usually metric. I expect it equates to 2.5cm wide.

I added the sequins in my efforts to cover up the mis-matched pattern at the sides and its does a pretty good job I think. At the same time lots of RTW clothing is currently " glam- glitz sportswear" so this sort of fits with that category. When I decided to add the sequins - they are stretch sequins and the black velvet stripe is a stretch elastic ribbon which I expect is meant for bra/ bustier straps - I thought I would possibly wear these at Christmas because of the OTT glitziness. Even for me its a bit much but actually as lounge/ PJ type house pants for my recovery I think I am going to like them lots. They are brightening up my world which currently contains no sewing.😞

I did not do a very good job at pattern matching unfortunately. I was very P***ed off with this at first but I suspect its realy not very easy, even if you are good at pattern matching ( I am not!), as it goes due to the curved seams and very large print.

I have more of this scuba knit though, so I may make some leggings because its a lovely though large print and very warm fabric. If there were no side seams - as in leggings - then it would mean it would be less obvious a mis-match. You would only see it on the inside leg seams. Of course the back and front seams ( CF and CB) would need matching but I did not do too bad  a job matching them - at least the front matches anyway 😀. They are not perfect but I am not unhappy with them.

Tucking in my top also does not help the look but really I am unable to adjust once standing at the moment so this is the best I can give you. The reasoning was; you can see my waist better with tucked in top. Also the top is not the best colour to coordiate with these trousers. I am reliant on my partner for my clothing choices at the moment, since I am unable to bend over 90 degrees and cannot get into my wardrobe easily, and we do not necessarily agree colour-wise on what goes with what, but being stuck at home it does not really matter what I wear - except of course when I decide I am well enough to get some photos taken.

Never mind. If you want to read about this top which is a favourite for winter and a very easy make its here: 

Again I need some more photos of these trousers I think, at a later date.

I suppose now I am "temporarily disabled" I should take the time to plan what to make from the numerous magazines I own. I know other people who sew have done this when they have a hip replacement. Its a good idea and will help focus the frustration I am already feeling. I am only 1/3of the way through the minimum recovery period right now as well.

My intention, once I am better, is to actually make one item from every sewing mag. This then justifies the room they take up to store and my owning them at all. I have no idea how many mags I own, but easily over 60. I have complete years for 3 years of Burda alone so 36 mags, and then all sorts of odd ones bought from Ebay going right back to the 80s. Thats more than a years worth of posts if I manage one item a week. I seriously have collected loads of Burda, Patrones, New Mode and others which I cannot remember and currently I am unable to get to.  My partner can help with that though and bring me a few at a time. I even own a couple of Turkish magazines. Hopefully I can work out how to make what is in them.

I intend to write down in a notebook exactly what I intend to make and what fabric will work with it. I also am unable to access the fabric stash right now but I pretty much know what I own so thats probably going to work most of the time. Of course, I will not be able to actually measure my fabric bits, but I should get it right most times I reckon as to what can be made from what. And, I am planning a fourth The Vampires Wife inspired dress for my Christmas party dress. More on that later. Anyway back to these trousers...............


I seem to have lost a bit of weight since I made these - hospital food? but I do not think that matters. Being a bit loose is better right now because I have yet to have my stitches out. I expect I will put the weight back on anyway.

These are certainly not my best modelling attempts. Its hard on crutches to actually pose and I do not think these photos show my lovely trousers very well, but at least it keeps my in touch with you, my readers, and with my sewing. The slippers are stopping you seeing the flares. The trousers are accurately shaped just like the Jamesia pattern on Mood's website. Its my modelling not showing it well.

Mood have several versions or Reduxes of these trousers in loads of sizes so well worth a look at their patterns - all of which are free and so far everything I have made works and fits with zero adjustment. I actually feel as confident of Mood at the moment as I do of making Burda so thats saying quite a lot about these patterns.

And I have to be honest it has really cheered me up to be able to blog again even if I cannot sew. I usually make far more than I actually post about, so maybe its time to try and catch up and show you other items I have made. There's probably quite a lot I can wear even though on crutches because generally I prefer comfortable, sport type of clothing to fitted clothing anyway. It works better in my life so should work OK for my convalescence as well.

These trousers have a quite definite flare - very fashionable in fact though not yet many seen on UK streets. At least in the Midlands. There is the odd person seen in flares but people do not like to be trend setters though do they?

Hence there are not many flares as yet.

There will be. I can seriously recommend this pattern if you wanted to make some flares for the coming seasons. And you cannot fault a free pattern though in all honesty I would happily pay for the Jamesia. And I do not say that very often!

Wishing you well and see you next week

Thursday, 31 October 2019

A Black and Silver floral bag for my hospital visit

In the hospital waiting room the morning of my operation
I have had this lovely but small off-cut of linen with a silver flower design on it for years. Probably about a metre at most of fabric I would guess. I kept it because its lovely but never found a way to wear this. The pattern is just too big. I toyed with ideas for a shift dress which I could possible squeeze out or a skirt but never quite decided if I could handle wearing it if I made it into either so it just stayed unused in the stash.

That is until I realised about a week before going to my operation that I have no bag to carry the stuff I am meant to take - like PJs, dressing gown, aids for when you cannot bend and eg sock putter-on-as.  I have now had the op and am at home and I am doing well though stuck unable to sew and on crutches for quite a few weeks yet. But anyway back to my bag.

My initial idea was use an Aldi shopping bag. Well they are strong, light and large enough and cost very little. In fact they make ideal bags for staying in hospital, but my other half (correctly it turns out) says "No you cannot do that, you will feel awful when everyone else has a decent proper bag. We will go shopping and buy one". Well it just goes totally against the grain to go out and spend money we cannot afford on a bag for a few days in hospital when my fabric stash is large enough to be a problem, and cause arguements between us, about it taking up too much space.

Time to make a bag. I searched for bag patterns but everything was more complicated than I needed for this since all I need really is a large tote bag. I do not need zippy pockets and those useful bits many bags have. I also did not really need to use those metal findings used on many bags. Its not that I cannot do that because I already own the necessary findings should I choose to use them - for example the D rings and connectors for making a removable strap. I have these in my stash but really why add something just for the sake of it?

I did my own pattern. Also this is not the best finished bag because it was made very quickly, but has not only stood up to what I needed, but in fact I think I will use it often for going shopping because this made a very strong tote bag. Despite its got a slightly rough finished look, its very good, so I decided to share this with you. I actually do not think anyone in the hospital had a clue this was a home made bag anyway. I just know its not really up to standard.

This bag worked brilliantly though. Its strong, big, but not too big to be un-handleable, and is based on the Aldi shopping bag - loosely that is. It has a gusset in the base made from a narrow rectangle of the fabric and I originally intended to add side gussets but the rectangles I cut for front and back were large enough so that I just seamed them and ignored the gussets I had already cut out. I will find a use for those bits later maybe. I could even add side handles. At time of making all I cared about was producing a useable bag - fast- and not letting my partner waste money we really do not have buying me a bag we will probably never use again. Also this bag is lined with inner pockets.

So to construction.

It has the following bits:

Strip for base probably about 15cm wide, rectangle for front and back, - I cut 2 each in lining and in outer fabric and the rectangles for front and back are slightly ( about 15cm ) taller than the Aldi shopping bag to give a foldover top flap.

Also a piece - rectangle for strap, cut in outer fabric only. No interfacing used. If you were making one of these and wanted it to last probably best if you added the interfacing but I literally wanted this for 3 days. That was stretched to 5 days when there were complications and they kept me in, but even then, not long enough for me to worry about interfacing in the strap or the strap stretching out of shape.

I am sure I recorded the measurements but cannot find them so I may update this post later if I do.

I also added two inner pockets to the lining which are just two smaller rectangles. The size here does not matter so long as you can fit your phone, tablet, book, soap, toothbrush or toiletries into it.

So to sew this up :

Outer fabric
Seam the sides, Insert the base which is the smaller rectangle. Side seams should be central to the short end of gusset rectangle: thats the hardest bit - sewing in the base.
Clip corners off at an angle and trim the edges but stay well away from the stitching because better it rucks up a bit than falls appart when needed. I am aiming for strong rather than a perfect finish. I suppose at this point you could add some cardboard or even the proper solid base you can buy for bag making. I never bothered.

Hopefully, you can see how its made from the photos. I have no photos of the part made bag it seems. I never then, intended it to be blogged about. It was just something I made to fulfil a need but its such a nice bag I decided to let the sewing world know about it.

And right now I am only able to dream of sewing and plan my next makes - for at least 6 whole weeks!!!!

Having made the outer of the bag I stopped at this point and I left it unfinished and repeated in a lighter dress weight cotton for the lining. I cut the lining a few inches / cm shorter at the top edge than the outer to make an overlapping flap because I do not want the lining to show when its folded over. Or to look home made and rubbish to other people because this is meant to be a presentable bag that will pass the test of looking acceptable to others who do not live in a sewing world. Otherwise I am wasting my time.

I have no images of the making. Below is the bag inside out showing the lining slightly shorter than the outer fabric. It has a top hem. You can also see that the strap is sewn on about 15cm below the top of the bag ( the X shaped stitching) giving an overlapping flap which I actually never used because my dressing gown was huge and it did not overlap or fold over at all!

Once you have the outer made you need to make the lining.

Before you do anything here you need to decide if you want inner pockets and how big they are going to be etc.

If you do want inner pockets you need to sew to one or both sides of the lining before construction. I just added to one side. I added two layers of pockets. So a narrow rectangle on top of a bigger rectangle both sewn onto one side of my lining.

To do this first you need to add a hemmed edge to the top edge of your inner pockets to give your pockets a nice finish. Once you have added a top hem to each pocket, pin and then sew the sides and bottom of smaller pocket on top of the bigger pocket. I added a central seam to this pocket for small items. Then you should have a smaller pocket joined to the rectangle that will make your larger pocket. You now need to pin and sew your pocket bit to one side of the lining part. I reinforced the corners with a triangle of stitching.

As you can see my sewing is far from perfect or my hems/ seams rectangular but this made a really useable and strong pocket either way. Its actually not so out of rectangular as it looks in the photo but I will admit to imperfect 😀

The rectangle of stitching on the inside of the bag, with the X in it to the top left of the picture above and below is from attaching my strap.  

I then sew up the sides and sewed in the base panel for my bag lining. At this point to get a nice finish you could sew the strap inside before you attach  the lining to the outer but this could be problematic with the fold over flap - that is why people add findings I suppose! 
So now you need to put your bag together. The easiest way to do this was to stick the lining into the bag, fold over the outer fabric to give a wide top hem and then sew round this.
I added my strap at end-of-bag construction so its not best finished since this meant sewing through the outer and lining to attach it, meaning the stitching attaching it can be seen from both sides, but I am still happy with this because it has done the job it was needed for. 

The strap it-self is just a long narrow rectangle that I sewed up right sides together into a tube, turned right-side out, folded ends in, and then sewed onto the sides of the bag itself. You need to check the length of your strap here because you do not want it too long - or too short. It will not be adjustable using this method so get it right or its going to be a problem.

Anyway, you can add the strap in whatever way you prefer.

This is the inside of my bag:

This is how the bag looks when on me:

The bag is far from perfect. But it works and I had no directions on making this, so just muddled through this, and it is also my first me made bag as well. 

There you have my excuses!


Thursday, 24 October 2019

How to make a puff ball skirt - no pattern needed

So they said after my op I must wear elastic waist shorts or skirts. I remembered making a few of these skirts from my youth so decided if I really must wear elastic waists rather than a normal boring dirndle skirt why not a puff ball. So this is a very easy to make puff ballskirt with a basic elastic waist and its cost £6 using Ikea basic black cotton for £3 a metre. So cheap as well.

The fact its black will I hope not mean its impossible to see what I am doing here since I am hoping to show you how to make this. Its been 30+ years sice I made one of these but its still a very easy skirt to make.

So you start with your 2m of Ikea fabric Ditte which according to Ikea is 55 inches wide. I never measured it so am taking their word for that. You may need more than 2m depending on how big you want this and how long.This skirt is probably to fit a UK 8-12 dress size so adjust for yourself.

Really your lining can be any fabric but it works best if it is the same weight as the outer skirt. You  used to have people make these with a layer of tulle betwee the inner and outer skirts giving a very full effect but I am just going for a basic black cotton puffball for everyday wear.

I made the lining for this as a tube. You can, if you prefer, make an A line lining and follow the rest of the directions. This will make it flow more but I know what these are like and prefer less bulk in my hem width.

So decide how long you want your skirt. I want mine to finish just above the knee cos its an autumn/winter skirt and just cotton tho with the double layer shoudl actually be quite warm. This skirt for me has worked out 50cm long or 19.5 inches when measured from below the waistband to hem and layed flat but because it puffs out it hangs slightly above that when worn.

Outer layer
To make this I cut two full width rectangles from my fabric - 69cm / 27 inches - this is the front and back outer layer.

Then I cut one long rectangle that is my hip width + 4inches or 10 cm long
so for my own lining this was a rectangle that is 40inches / 102cm long and  41cm wide. To cut I folded the fabric in half, measured down at various points to 41cm / 16 inches and then drew a chalk line straght accross the fabric and cut it there.

 I also cut a waist band from the left over fabric the same width as my lining but about 4 inches deep or 10cm deep.

These are my cut out bits with two extra rectangles which were intended as in-seam pockets but I completely forgot to add these during the making and by the time I remembered it was half sewn up.

 Due to the amount of puffiness these skirts work very well with in-seam pockets if you want some.
Anyway I just forgot to add them.

 Making the skirt
So to make this first sew up the short sides of the lining to make a tube.

Sew the two larger rectangles to make a very large tube - this is the outside. If you want pockets include them in the side seams at this point before you start constructingthe skirt itself.

Put your machine to the longest stitch length and sew a row of stitches all around the open edge of one side. This is so you can pull the treads to gather it evenly. Really you should use two rows to gather and then sew between them but on the bottom it does not need to be perfect because no one will ever see this so I only use one row because I am lazy.

Gather the edge evenly until it will fit the smaller lining tube.To gather pull the bobin thread at one end only and carefully gather all around. Do not be tempted to gather from both edges because invariably you break the thread and have to start all over again.

Mark quarters round lining tube before pinning the outer layer

Pin the lining at every quarter to the gathered part with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.

Then this is what it will look like after pinning:
Be careful not to twist the fabric of the outer layer when you sew it to the lining. I have managed to sew it twisted loads of times in the past.

 Sew. Remove pins before you get to them DO NOT sew over pins. If it breaks the needle which eventually will happen you risk losing an eye.

I sew two rows of stitching when sewing gathers just to make sure its secure but that is up to you. I just go round the skirt twice.

After sewing if you open the skirt out it looks like this:

Its not the best picture but I never thought to take many at this stage so where the longer edge goes off the photo imagine a raw edge - a bit like a basque waisted skirt.

Now, sew two rows of stitches on a long stitch length around the other edge of the larger tube so there are now two rows of sticthes to gather because this edge will join the waistband and will be seen.
 Gather evenly to fit the top end of your lining:

You need to pin it WRONG SIDES together this time.Again using quarters add 4 pins around the liing attaching the outer skirt. Then pin between the original pins so you have lots of securing pins to ensure it stays as even as possible as you sew it together.

Pull the lining through the gathered skirt leaving the rights side of the gathered section outside.

Pin in place - you can just about see pins here:

The opposite end - bottom of skirt should look like this if you flip the hem up:

Sew between your 2 rows of gathered stitches so you keep an even distance from the edge all the way round.

Now we need a waist band:

This (below)  is the inside of the skirt.

 Pin the two layers to the waistband so you sandwich the gathers between the lining and waistband fabric:


Fold the waistband over.

So now you have the basic puff ball skirt and just need the waistband. At this point you can either have a nice enclosed doubled over waistband as shown pinned above or you can cheat like me and overlock the open edge as below. 

Its very thick now with a gathered layer sandwiched between the lining and the waistband so you need to sew slowly and carefully not to break the needle. You can make a nice neat waistband like the first picture by turning under twice but it makes for an extra two layers of fabric so I over overlocked the bottom edge and then just folded over once. This also means that if you pin in place carefully you can sew on the right side which makes it much easier to have a neat row of top-stitched stitches on the outside where you will see the stitches.

Again remove the pins as you get near to them.

Sew a second row half way down the width to give two channels for the elastic. Or if using narrow elastic sew lots of channels 1980s style where we used loads of narrow channels with narrow elastic. Some skirts had 7 rows of narrow elastic to make them strong. Anyway I am aiming to just have 2 rows of 1inch elastic. That should be plenty to keep this up even though its going to be quite heavy with all this fabric.

  I estimated for two rows of 1 inch elastic. This was actually a bit out and I ended up folding part of my elastic edge over so is a bit squashed as you will see in the pictures below. 

Now the hard bit. Use a stitch ripper to open the back seam on the INSIDE of the wasitband on each channel so you can thread in the elastic. Sadly I managed to rip some of my fabric but it really will not matter and it will only be seen by me. Once you have threaded the elastic in and sewn the ends, then you can just catch the holes shut by hand.
You can also, if you like, have a frilly paper bag effect top to the waistband as seen here by only adding the one row of elastic if you prefer.

This is mine with my two rows of elastic and as you can see I underestimated somewhat, because its ended up a bit squashed. Try not to twist your elastic as you thread it because undoing the twists is very difficult. If the channels are too thin you will end up with squashed elastic like mine. Its still Ok though because more than likely this is only being worn while I am in recovery - still you can never be sure. I used to love this style of skirt and it may end up sticking around for the entire winter yet. You can obviously make this much shorter or longer as well.

So here are my pictures of an almost perfect puff ball skirt circa 1980 or now 2019!