Itch to Stitch Uvita top

This is my second itch to Stitch Uvita top. ( see the first here). I bought the fabric at the same time for both from Abakhans in 2016 but this second piece has sat in my stash up until now.

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I decided to make up the top in the same pattern as it worked the first time and is a comfortable basic top to wear, so why not?

So this is made up pretty much without any pattern alterations. I did take the side seams in slightly , but I think this was mostly down to the fact that the fabric is really stretchy.

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Not much else to add other than if you haven’t already their FREE pdf, it really is worth doing so.  If you haven’t printed st home before , ITS pdfs are a joy to put together ( take a look at Kennis’ tips on how to assemble her pdfs), and this one is a small. Item to start with. I’m writing this with feeling as I struggle to stick a Papercut Patterns pdf together……

Cami sewing

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I have been producing camis – lots of camis. And they are all presents.

I don’t have a picture of the first one – an Ogden cami made in a cream polyester. This was made in September for my younger son’s  partner’s birthday present. It was a bit of a risk as I couldn’t fit it ( they live 300 miles away), but I reasoned having made numerous Ogdens for myself that the majority of the fit was fairly forgiving. Plus I had him rummaging through her underwear drawers to check bra sizes/ top sizes.

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Feedback  was that she loved it, nobody would believe it was handmade but slightly more room across the bust on a planned future make would be good ( cup size DD / E) Also she said she had just bought a similar one from a well known on line fashion retailer for £30. Now I’m not revealing what mine cost in case she reads this – but those of you who have already made up this pattern will know that it can be squeezed out of scraps – and, yes , this was made from left over fabric from another project.

So I have since produced three more for her.

The first two are both Ogden camis, hopefully slightly roomier across the bust. One is a sensible , go with anything black polyester fabric with a bit of stretch and plenty of drape. I reckon this will be a good work to evening option.

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The second is a gold fabric which again I reckon you could dress up or down.

Finally , an option that is definitely for a bit of bling. A teal sequin cami. And this one isn’t an Ogden. After the feedback on the bust sizes I dug through my pattern stock and found the Itch to Stitch Crystal Cove cami which comes in different cup sizes.

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It is quite different from the Ogden ( and I have fingers crossed regarding the fit). It has a more defined body shaping, with a bust dart and a shaped bodice. The back is really interesting too with a cross over feature.

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The sequin fabric is very fine, see through and stretchy, so a bit of a nightmare to handle, although I had no problems with sewing the sequins themselves.

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I had already decided to line the cami ( pattern does not have a lining) , and when cutting out the sequin fabric I soon decided that separate layers would be impossible to handle. I therefore overlocked the sequin fabric to the lining fabric for each piece before starting assembly of the top. This meant the two fabric were effectively treated as one, with the stretch sequin fabric being stabilised by the woven lining ( the pattern is designed for woven fabrics)

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This seemed to work well and the actual construction of the cami, whilst not quite as quick as the Ogden because of the overlapped back and the curved seam, was actually pretty straightforward .

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One element I have been unable to execute as specified in the instructions is trying on the cami to adjust/ determine the length of the straps. In order to allow for this I attached the back straps by sewing with a different coloured thread  and have left a tail end of strap inside the bodice. If the straps need to be lengthened or shortened it should be easy to see which line of stitching to unpick and there is extra strap length to play with.

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Having made up the ITS cami , I’m going to put it on my list for sewing for next summer for myself. I have quite a few Ogdens now and I think this will be a nice alternative  design. I will update with differences in fit between the two camis when I have my own to compare directly!

 

Have you ever used a soldering iron in a a sewing project? Or My Allie Olsen Monarch Jacket

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This jacket popped up on my Bloglovin feed when it was launched recently and I loved some of the versions sewn. It seemed to have a good balance between casual and well put together, and I thought it might provide a solution to a lightweight throw on jacket for layering.

With  this in mind I wanted to make the jacket in a fabric that didn’t crease badly (yes, I’m guilty of stuffing jackets in a rucksack when delayering). I already had a couple of pieces of scuba type fabric in my stash. These were bought in Abakhans in 2018 ( definitely another #offwithherstash ) with the intention of making something like a bomber jacket with contrasting sleeves / body.

Whilst  the fabrics look different colours in the above photos, the navy blues actually match perfectly in real life! The flower pattern fabric is quite unusual as it is textured, with the flowers being slightly raised.

Finally, with the thought of warmth I decided to line the jacket. The pattern itself does not include a lining. However I have added linings to garments before ( it isn’t much more complicated than making a second version of the garment ) and I found a YouTube vlog by Lifting Pins and needles very useful in showing the steps

The key thing is to cut the front lining narrower to allow for the turn back facing from the front of the jacket – whilst also allowing a seam allowance at this point to join the two together,

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For a bit of extra warmth I chose to use some left over sweatshirt fabric to line the jacket. As I didn’t quite have enough , I “cheated” by joining some of the fabric in the sleeve.( well you cant see it) . Unlike the You Tube vlog I also chose to line all the way down to the cuff.

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Of course, one of the benefits of lining is a lovely internal finish.

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The finished jacket was all bagged out through a side seam( into which I also inserted a handmade label before closing by hand.)7BAE63E4-1590-4370-A5DD-8BD8C7240745

 

I did my best to line up the flowers when laying out pattern pieces, or at least to get them looking reasonably placed. This was something I hadn’t thought about when choosing a pattern for the main body as lining up the add on bottom band was not entirely possible

The whole jacket came together pretty easily with the help of my overlocker. Two elements too a bit of time – ensuring he collar was inserted neatly and making sure the bottom band depth was identical on both fronts of the front so they matched when fastened.

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And now for my single biggest tip from this project. Inserting the popper closures. Now I ( well actually I get my husband to do this as he is much more adept with hammers and tools) have done this before – but with woven fabrics. The scuba  fabric presented a challenge as it is a totally different thing to pierce. And that’s where husband came up with a brilliant idea. The position for the poppers were marked and then he used a SO!DERING IRON to burn a small hole through he fabric.

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It also seals the fabric edges nicely. You do have to do this quickly, but it works. I have had to also insert some firm backing ( denim scraps) at the point where the popper is bashed through to strengthen the area and prevent the popper pulling through the fabric.

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And finally here is a rare picture of me in glasses wearing the jacket. This was at the Cotton Club where I sew, andhowever much I love contact lenses for daily wear and sport, close up sight for Sewing is miso much better with my varifocal glasses

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Sarong to Ogden cami beach dress

My son bought me a beautiful sarong from Thailand 7 years ago. He rode elephants whilst on holiday there, so bought one with elephants on it .Confession time  – I’ve never worn it. A number of reasons. We don’t usually do beach holidays and try as I might , I can’t seem to get these things to drape alluringly and attractively over my body. Whatever I do I seem to end up looking like I’ve been bundled into a tablecloth.

So in case you haven’t already gathered from my numerous recent blogs making clothes for hot weather, I went to Greece and the beaches for my son’s wedding Once again I attempted to drape this fabric over a bikini to try to use on the beach. I even quizzed the bride to be on advice on wearing a sarong. It went like this ( with demo) …you just take this end, and this end , wrap it like this and knot it. She twirls, looks fantastic and realisation hits that she would actually look great in a sack.

And that’s when I decided it was time to wield the scissors , view my sarong as fabric and actually wear it.

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Trimmed off the fringe edges but kept them to use for a tie or trim.

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After the success of my recent Ogden makes, I decided to try making an Ogden beach dress. The plan was to lengthen the pattern, using the border elephant print as the hem , slit the side seams to the knee and add the fringe edges at the waist to create a tie belt.

Once again I used my lightweight viscose for internal facings to make the main fabric go further.

I did not draft a pattern for the additional length. I simply laid the top onto the fabric and extended the line of the side seam to the bottom of the sarong using a long ruler.

As I have now made 4 camis in quick succession, this is becoming a very easy and quick make!

The end result – one new beach dress

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Look it’s got side slits

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These pictures were actually taken in Corfu ( not at the wedding in Lemnos) where the dress got a second holiday at the end of September- and I actually managed to get some photos!

Sweatshirt sewing at the Cotton Club

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The  theme for this half term at the weekly sewing club / lessons I attend  ( The Cotton Club in East Grinstead West Sussex) was to make a sweatshirt. It is always optional whether you join in with the theme  or just make something else. (For newer sewers completing the suggested project is usually the preferred option so they build their skill set.)

I decided a quick sweatshirt for the changing weather sounded a great idea , and I was determined to use my stash.

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This beautiful fleeceback sweatshirt came from Caboodle Textiles – I actually won it in an on line competition in 2017  It is super soft and has lovely sparkly raindrop shapes on it. Bizarrely I loved it so much I have been holding on to it for something special.

So to guarantee a make I would like ( and because I love the pattern) I chose the Sew House Seven Toaster sweater to make again.. the only alteration I make with this is to shorten the bodice by about half an inch as I am a petite 5 foot 2inches

And here is the result

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It’s not been cold enough to wear it yet, but I have the feeling it’s going to get plenty of wear. It feels a lot more comfy than my previous make( which isn’t uncomfortable) as the fabric is so soft and flexible – quality fabric does pay off!

Out of interest, here are a couple of makes from other Cotton Club sewers.

 

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One  of the fun fun bits of attending , for me, is the social side . Sewing can be a solitary hobby, but this gives me the opportunity to meet up with other sewers, chat about sewing and ideas, and see what everyone else is making, as well as picking up tips and help from our lovely teacher Abi.

Here is a picture of us all hard at work on Wednesday morning this week .

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I still can’t believe Abi managed to get a shot of us all with heads down , at our machines. There’s usually a lot of chatting and wandering around to see how everyone’s getting on!!!!

 

 

The 10 year UFO and 5 take outs from finally finishing it

This was my oldest UFO. Now , I don’t have many of these – in fact there is only one other garment (which is much more recent ) lurking in my sewing room. My weakness is Un-Started Objects ( the fabric stash) not unfinished ones.

This dress has however hung around in a plastic carrier bag for ( estimated) about 10 years.

I only really returned to sewing seriously just under 5 years ago when I retired/ was made redundant. I had sewn when I was young, and dipped in and out as my boys grew up, being much to busy raising a family and having a career to indulge heavily in sewing. But occasionally I had a go.

I can’t remember where this fabric came from! It may well have been in my Mum’s stash which I acquired ( as well as the gene to hoard) as she sadly went blind and could no longer sew. It is a beautiful soft cotton – I am guessing a cotton lawn. I had decided to use a free Prima pattern, and before my days of regular sewing and learning about pattern adjustments for my body, I obviously just cut out the dress  and sewed it up – to a point.

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And this is when it became an UFO. The bodice just didn’t fit me well. The V neck was much too low, the neckline/ shoulders too wide,the top of the back around the zip gaped and the sleeves just pulled and didn’t sit comfortably.

So it sat, unfinished, unhemmed…

Every now and again I would take it out of the bag and look at and try to work out how to make it wearable. Most of these thoughts centred around how to fill in the neckline (lace?)but nothing looked right.

So ten years on, and five years of sewing and trying adjustments, and I pulled it out again this summer. This time I finally decided to go for broke. After all it certainly wasn’t doing any good in a plastic bag.

So based upon adjustments I have been making I decided on

1. Darts in the back neck to pull upper shoulders in and prevent gaping around the central zip.

2. Raise shoulder seams/ increase shoulder seam width to raise Vneckline (too late to take length out above bust as fabric cut )

3. Remove sleeves . Recut armhole to sleeveless shape and recut / lower underarm to adjust armhole depth after raising shoulders.

4 Straighten the skirt to reduce the A- line flare.  Not a fit issue, just a preference regarding how fabric fell and dress looked on me.

This did mean some serious unpicking of the lined bodice to access the required seams for adjustments.

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Internal lined bodice. Seams neatened with overlocker

The other thing I did not like about the dress was the finish. Now at the time of making it, I really don’t remember I had any problem with this. But isn’t it interesting how your standards and expectations change as your skills advance? So out came the overlocker ( I didn’t have this ten years ago) and as many seams as possible were neatened.

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Recut armholes finished with bias binding

So all completed, adjustments made and a dress that fits and is wearable. One empty plastic carrier bag added to the pile of reusable bags.

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Darts inserted either side of zip at neckline to prevent gaping. Before the days of pattern matching……

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And then I realised……I didn’t take any before pictures. If you have read this I am sure you would have liked to see the ill fitting version. I would have liked to have had a record of it too as I think it’s really useful to see the failures as well as successes. But too late I’m afraid.

So what have I learned from this UFO?

1. Prima bodice patterns are much too wide on my body ( I had another failure with this brand)

2. You don’t always notice your own progress. My knowledge and ability to fit to my body have improved dramatically.

3 My standards for finishing have increased – and my overlocker is a tool I would not now be without.

4. Don’t be afraid to hack / substantially alter something that hasn’t worked. Better to try and maybe get a wearable garment .

5. Take “before” photos!

 

Backless to the future

This is one of those dresses that has been definitely fabric led .

I spotted this fabric in Abakhan’s buy by weight section when I was in Manchester last February and just fell in love with idea of what I might be able to do with the border print. It really isn’t my usual colour choice ( except the teal in the flower pattern) but at £7.50 for 2 metres , how could I resist?

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I have no idea what type of fabric it is. It has a sort of linen weave look, but does not crease much, and is medium weight. The border was on each edge leaving a plain strip down the centre.

I thought originally I might wear this make at my son’s wedding – but have since decided that the colours do no match the blue dress code for family photos.

So- on to the pattern. As the wedding is in Greece something sleeveless was planned. I also thought I needed to make the most of the border print in the skirt, which meant a fuller skirt than my usual makes.

I had been eyeing up a number of patterns with interesting back details, in particular McCalls 7740

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I even almost bought the pattern , and then in a mad moment of trying to resist buying yet another pattern, I decided to have a go at drafting my own!

I had already made a number of alterations to a Burda dress pattern to get a good fit. these included taking width out of the upper back and front  , squaring the central line and then redrafting the bottom part of the pattern to allow for the squaring. I had help with this at the weekly sewing class I attend- it was a bit mind boggling! The resulting toile fitted well, so I decided to use this, altering the back to create the open cross over.

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I definitely did a sheet toile of this one to check the fit- and tweaked  the placement of the back cross over to try to get bra strap coverage.

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For the skirt I used the skirt part of a pattern I already owned -which had the required fullness achieved with box pleats.

Cutting  out involved a lot of fabric jiggling as there was only just enough . I usually buy 2 metres as a standard length for dresses when I am stash purchasing, but the style of dress I make is not normally so full.

Due to the light colour and the finish of the bodice, the dress is lined in a very light viscose. Viscose has been used as it is breathable / cool for Greece

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Work in progress- back closures fitting
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Work in progress
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Internal lining – pink viscose

I did have some problems with the back closure.

I decided that just a button would not be secure enough. My first attempt was to use large hooks and eyes ( skirt / trouser type) – but these did not lie very flat and looked messy ( the black thread is the marking for overlap/ placement which my friend did for me. It’s impossible to accurately do this on your own back!)

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My second attempt has been to use Velcro. I managed to shape and stitch this to the very edge, and this has given a much neater/ flatter finish. I added a button from the button tin ( I think everyone of a certain age must have one of these, in my case passed down from my mother and mother in law) just as a decorative finish.

The final dress has a lovely swishy skirt, and the border pattern works well. I think I need to add a turquoise necklace to break up the plain bodice  but otherwise all finished and pleased with my first attempt at partial drafting.

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