Stash Diet 2014: Quarter 3: Weigh In

Just one quarter remains for Stash Diet 2014 which means it’s time to track my progress with a weigh-in. Much like a real diet when you realise your clothes feel more comfortable (or even loose), I managed to pick up and weigh my stash as one pile this time!

Stash-tistics at the end of Quarter 3:

Stash fabric height: 45cm (starting 90cm/ Q1 76cm/ Q2 56cm) 
Stash fabric weight: 12.4kg 
(starting 23.5kg/ Q1 18.8kg/ Q2 14.8kg)
Scrap fabric weight: 0.7kg 
(starting 1.3kg/ Q1 1.2kg/ Q2 1.7kg)
Total stash weight: 13.1kg (starting 24.8kg/ Q1 20.0kg/ Q2 16.5kg) —> Goal weight 12.4kg

September Stash Diet

The tape on the wall indicate my starting, quarter 1 and quarter 2 stash heights.

Last quarter I was getting desperate over the bulging scrap fabrics box. I don’t enjoy small crafting projects and I’m constantly fighting the clutter to keep my home minimalistic. It turns out someone was willing to pay a few pounds to buy a kilogram of scrap fabric on ebay for their crafting needs and that suited me. This listing was an experiment but it seems a viable option for keeping scraps under control in the future. I’ve also started to use scraps fabric for pockets, binding and facings in some makes. I used to stick with self-fabric facings for fear colours/patterns would look silly together but I’m slowly coming round to the idea that I can cautiously make good pairings.

What else? Well there have been fabric purchases here and there this quarter. I crumbled under the excitement of sewing bikinis and splurged on printed-to-order lycra, although I have sportswear plans for the off-cut giving that purchase some milage. Then I created potentially my favourite make ever, made possible only by purchasing a viscose-cotton blend which wasn’t available in my stash. Finally I wangled a birthday present fabric to elevate my sportswear sewing. But enough of me justifying fabric purchases. I need to stay focused for the final quarter as I have just 0.7kg to go to achieve my goal stash weight. Although I’ve always striven to exceed expectations so I won’t stop at just meeting a goal, I’m motivated to smash it.

8 Month Knit Project

8 months to the day and it’s sleeveless!

Rainy Day Vest 2

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop knitting accessories (mainly cowls) and finally make something more substantial. I do most of my knitting while traveling (trains and planes, not my daily commute) so it was always going to be a long haul project. I just didn’t realise quite how long and I had grown frustrated by slow progress within a few months. By the time I divided for the armholes I had renewed enthusiasm and could see the end in sight.

Rainy Day Vest 6

Oh and what an end it was. Exactly 8 months since I started the project, I stayed up late, YouTube ‘three needle bind off’ and ‘bind off in seed stitch’ waking poor hubby up. I managed to figure out a three needle bind off in seed stitch but it was more through a lucky first attempt. It was the slowest, heart stopping bind off ever as I awkwardly held the needles, clumsily tried not to drop any stitches and worked the yarn in time to hubby’s snoring.

Here's the inside shoulder seam - three needle bind off in seed stitch.

Here’s the inside shoulder seam – three needle bind off in seed stitch.

And the same shoulder seam on the right side.

And the same shoulder seam on the right side.

So you’d like some details now, right? Okay.

Rainy Day Vest 8

The pattern is Rainy Day Vest from Emma Robertson’s Knitting by Design. I really like the book with it’s more modern patterns and thoughtful approach to choosing yarn. I’m going to forgo the leather pocket… I don’t like the feel of leather and never intended to attach it. I knitted the smallest size, for a 34 inch bust, exactly as set. I know nothing about altering the size of knitwear through tweaking the pattern but I knew the open style would lend itself to being slightly too big.

Rainy Day Vest 5

The yarn is Malabrigo worsted in Tortuga. It’s a charcoal, smokey black and plum merino – gorgeous. I’ve knitted with the same yarn in different colourways before and knew the feel of it well. I was glad I added an extra skein to my basket because I used about 8 meters from the last skein and the armholes would have been too small to join the shoulder seams any earlier.

Rainy Day Vest 9

I’m really pleased to have got this make off the needles and onto my shoulders. I learnt some new knitting techniques and got a totally wearable item out of the process. Although I’m not too keen on the outfit I chose to photograph for this blog post, I’m sure after a few wears I’ll have found better ways to style it.

Rainy Day Vest 7

What’s on your needles?

Thurlows with Wings

Sewaholic Thurlow Side 2

Just so you know, I’m not over my Lonsdale Love affair  (dress, skirt, jumpsuit), not yet anyway. I’m playing the Sewaholic field, flirting with Thurlows.

Sewaholic Thurlow Fron

The toile/muslin to adjust the crotch depth and curve to my usual specifications went smoothly. However, I made a toile in shorts length so I couldn’t have forseen the crazy fabric ripples that are the back view…

Sewaholic Thurlow Back

I can’t find this exact problem in Sewing pants that Fit (my only trouser sewing resource) so if you know how to fix this fitting issue do enlighten me! While we’re at the back, can we briefly discuss the back extension? It’s a nice idea but just redundant for me. I doubt I’ll gain weight in my sway back to need to adjust it in the future, a huge seam allowance is just going to show through the trousers like a glaring VPL not to mention interference with the pockets and the multiple steps of attaching the waistband is a right faff. I edited the feature out and now I feel guilty because Tasia put a lot of thought into that area being difficult to fit and I’m just so ungrateful for it. I’m sorry.

Sewaholic Thurlow Welt Pocket

I’d never made welt pockets before but after practicing two on the toile using both the pattern instructions and Lauren’s sewalong posts, I was ready to chop into my fashion fabric. I’d also never made a zip fly before but I didn’t consciously realise this was my first time till it was all sewn up.

Reversible fabric

In fabric terms I had just my stash to work with but handily the grey suiting I made my Simplicity 4044‘s from had a good looking wrong side. The right side is a blue and light grey pinstripe on a dark grey background while the wrong side is a mid-grey speckled herringbone… yay for wrong sides and extra meterage! I’ve also been showing my friends the wrong side at the hem to prove it’s the same fabric!

Sewaholic Thurlow Front Fly

And remember the penguin quilting cotton I made a glasses case out of for a Christmas present? I had just enough of that left over for pockets and fly-facing. So these Thurlows have wings!

Sewaholic Thurlow Penguins 1 Sewaholic Thurlow Penguin Pockets

Heritable Crafting

Unfortunately I returned home from holidays to sad news. I didn’t sew for the remainder of August, instead slowly sorting through four biscuit tins of crafting items with mixed emotions as you might imagine. I wanted to share some of these things with you as it’s always nice to see crafting implements of days gone by and I need some help identifying some of them!

Unlike me, this lady had a penchant for scissors with 5 pairs in these four tins alone (I am told there are more if I want them – I wouldn’t use them though as I really like my left-handed fabric scissors). I’ve also never seen a tailor’s chalk holder like that but I imagine it’s quite useful.

Inherited Scissors

This next little lot tickled me. Coats bias binding for 27 1/2 pence – the half pence went out of use in 1984. The lace is a little faded but what a racy colour of red, don’t you think?27 and a half pence binding

Next up just a tiny selection of the thread that was stored in the tins. Some are wooden like these ones but most are plastic spools. One of the biscuit tins has dividers in so I sorted the thread back into it by colour. Limes and yellows were the most popular and I got wondering whether this was because my relative liked to sew garments in those colours or if the thread is leftover as she made those shades less frequently?


Inherited wooden spools


And finally, can you help me to identify any of these items? I think the top left is a stitch holder for knitting but the other two have me baffled. Any ideas?

Inherited mystery items

Curiosity Jumpsuit

I started a Jumpsuit Curiosity Pinterest Board off the back of Wardrobe Architect as a little side project on silhouette, fabric, colour and styling options without deciding whether I would definitely make a jumpsuit at all. I made comments on each pin, slowly gathering the individual components that might be blended together to build my perfect jumpsuit.  I guess this might be called my ‘Design Process’ but I’ve never considered myself artistic enough to have that as a skill. After a couple of months I had a plan and I’d found the perfect fabric for it too. Blowing my Stash Diet a third time (first and second fabric purchases of the year) to snap up this drapey, geometric printed cotton viscose blend. To redeem myself, the solid black lining, zip, thread and all patterns were all from my stash.Lonsdale Jumpsuit Front aThis was a pattern hack of epic proportions so I made two toiles with a few alterations each to be confident enough to cut into my fashion fabric. I merged the bodice of Sewaholic Lonsdale, with the middle part of Burda Style 04/2014 #107A and blended from the hips into Simplicity 4044 trousers to achieve the silhouette I was aiming for. During my non-design process I realised that I had to show some back and shoulder so as not to drown my 5 foot 2″ frame. By the same methodology, wide-legs are much more flattering for a pear shaped figure as they balance out the hips. And finally some front pleats and pockets for the trousers elevate this from catsuit to more comfortable but still elegant jumpsuit.
Lonsdale Jumpsuit Side I moved the zip (invisible, of course) to the side seam which meant I could do away with the front fly of the trousers and cut the bodice back on the fold. However, this meant that I had to have a perfectly fitting Lonsdale bodice – the beauty of the Lonsdale dress is that you can make some final fitting adjustments when you insert the centre back zip. Oh and I shook up the order of construction for the Lonsdale bodice so that the bodice lining is machine sewn to the zip – I really love the finish this method gives on the inside.Lonsdale Jumpsuit BackThe Lonsdale aspects were the easiest though, headaches were mostly induced in the Burda mid-section. First in the form of in-pleat pockets, how to add seam allowances to the funny-looking pattern piece and then how to attach the pocket pieces with typically minimal Burda magazine instructions. Next I realised the side seams on the trousers were really far forwards so I had to do some jiggery-pokery to slide them towards the back so that the trouser and bodice sides seams would align. I wasn’t going to settle for a shoddy finish even if it is almost impossible to see in this print with a waistband separating the side seams!Lonsdale Jumpsuit PocketI made the Lonsdale top into a halter style by eliminating the back loops and shortening the straps. This saved some fabric but not enough to self-line the bodice. At the same time I felt that a bit more structure around the bodice (particularly to hold it up above the bust) would be a good thing. Solid black lining from my stash worked well and I applied fusible interfacing along the top edge of both the shell and lining fabrics so avoid any stretching out. Lonsdale Jumpsuit HalterneckYou get some small flashes of the lining on the front knot (depending on how you tie it) and in the back halter bow which I quite like.Lonsdale Jumpsuit Halter TiesI think this is one of the hardest things I’ve created, stretching my pattern hacking abilities to the extreme, but I feel so glam wearing it and a huge sense of satisfaction that my vision is just as good as I imagined. What’s you’re most satisfyingly difficult make? Have you got a master piece vision taking shape on your sewing table at the moment?

Grown Up Pineapples

Do you ever have the same song on a loop in your head? Do you keep singing the same line of a song out loud? My husband had that just before we went on holiday. Sporadically bursting into “Do you like pinacolada?” at any given moment. Why? Because we’d had a discussion on how some pineapple fabric can look a little childish but this medium-weight viscose was a rather grown-up pineapple print. Which made for a rather grown-up McCalls 6751… view D this time.

McCalls 6751 View D Front

I used French seams and added Hug Snug binding to the armholes and neckline. Other than making my own viscose bias binding, I’ve never used viscose (rayon) seam binding before so I was excited it receive it in the Spring Sewing Swap parcel from Joanne. For seam binding newbies, I highly recommend this tutorial which sets out your options for using it clearly and concisely. The seam binding matches the colour in the pineapples so well and is a nice contrast to the main fabric – thanks Joanne! I totally want to use Hug Snug again so if anyone reading knows where I can get hold of some in the UK, do let me know.

McCalls 6751 View D Side

There were no shortages of pineapples or coconuts on St Lucia, so it made sense to have an appropriate prop for the photographs… not to mention something to quench my thirst after all that sunbathing and posing for blog photos.

McCalls 6751 View D Back

Out damn spot

I’ve been coveting McCalls 6751  since Ange posted her striped version and it finally made it into my stash to meet the minimum spend for free delivery from Jaycotts.

McCalls 6751 View A Side

I squeezed the pattern pieces of view A into the oddly shaped remaining piece of spotty cotton in my stash (previously seen here, here and here) and set to work French seaming the sides and shoulders.

McCalls 6751 View A Back

I half followed the advice of other bloggers in making this top: narrowing the front piece to reduce some of the billowy, boxy shape worked very well. I should have heeded the advice to bind the continuous raw edge instead of narrow hemming because I’m not happy with the neckline (hot off the ironing board it looks great but put on straight out of a suitcase and I’m not so keen to admit I made it!).

McCalls 6751 View A Front

Nevertheless, I vowed to make at least one other view from this pattern before holidaying and even removed the seam allowances there and then as a reminder to me to bind the raw edges!