70’s Pinafore Dress

In an attempt to get back up to date with high street fashions, I’ve been browsing the shops. I am both delighted and disgusted: 70s is back ‘in’ particularly denim pinafore dresses and high price, poor quality, strange fit are all still ‘in’ too. I don’t shop much these days. Let’s focus on the 1970s though. I would have loved to have lived through that decade of fashion and I have quite a penchant for sewing patterns of that era. Style 1568 was a late night ebay purchase being sold for charity. I was happy to help!

Style 1568 Vintage Pattern

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d been hoarding this fabric because it felt precious. This chambray wasn’t expensive, or difficult to find, I just really wanted to love what I made from it so hesitated every time I almost removed it from the stash pile. I’m glad I waited because I really love this fabric-pattern combo. I’m trying to work out the morale here… is it that it’s good to stash and wait for the right pattern to come along or is it that I should just make something because I’ll probably love it anyway?

Style 1568 Front

If you’re thinking ‘she wore it all day, look how creased it is’ you’re wrong. I pressed it, put it on, bent down to do up my shoes then stepped outside for blog photographs. I’ll get over how easily it creases soon enough.

Style 1568 Side

I played around with top stitching but not too much.Just a touch of rusty coloured thread on the straps and a single line across the pockets. Simplicity is key for this dress.

Style 1568 Pockets

The trickiest part was positioning the button holes to get a good fit. The thing with button holes is that the hole is a slit, the button is anchored at a point… that point can slide from one side of the slit to the other. The buttons on the straps go through two button holes (the wrap part of the dress). Without careful consideration, the fit across the bust could end up too big by a button hole width and the button hole on the underlap would peak out. Alternatively, shifting the overlap button hole across too much might produce a flappy overlap. Yes, I really did over think this part and it turned out ok.

Style 1568 Back

The crossed straps were somewhat of a last minute decision and not suggested in the pattern instructions. The dress feels more secure this way but I could easily change it by re-positioning the buttons. Which brings me to…

Style 1568 Straps

The buttons. A bit of a let down ebay purchase. The seller’s photograph was quite different, darker thicker grain lines in the wood and a smooth shiny finish. I guess with ebay you win some and you.. er… win some rubbish?!?

Style 1568 Chambray

Space Dyed Sloans

This pair of Sloan leggings were cut out soon after the first pair and also used fabric purchased in New York (yes I had a heavier suitcase on the way home!).

space dyed sloans 1

I made very minor tweaks to the fit, directly to the pattern pieces before cutting  out, and omitted the pocket for speed.

space dyed sloans 3

My first pair have a knit interfacing in the waistband that is too flimsy and hasn’t stabilised the waistband at all. I used an alternative knit interfacing for this pair and it’s much better. Sturdier but still stretchy – these leggings stay up! I plan to replace the waistband on the first pair soon.

space dyed sloans 2

So are there more Sloans coming soon? Yes, and absolutely I want to make the contrast fabric view.

Chambray Summer Skirt

I am truly guilty of hoarding my best fabrics through fear of making something I regret. To get over this affliction, I’ve further reduced my fabric shopping, started to spend more time planning my projects and alternating low risk makes with slightly more adventurous things.

Burda 04 2014 113 front

I’ve made this pattern before and I really enjoy wearing it from autumn through to early spring (whenever it is still acceptable to wear tights and boots!). A summer version in a lighter weight denim was on the cards and low risk.

Burda 04 2014 113 front b

Burda 04/2014 #113 takes very little fabric so I cut out a dress (I’m saving that one for another blog post) and this skirt at the same time. I was more than happy to eliminate the in-seam welt pockets – fun if a little tricky to sew, they look great on the skirt when standing but splay out when sitting.

Burda 04 2014 113 side c

The only other hurdle to overcome was that my first version of the skirt was made in a stretch denim and the chambray had zero give. I’d traced the Burda pattern pieces with a 1.5cm seam allowance and with a straight paneled skirt it’s easy to adjust the fit. Nevertheless, I basted first to make fitting, or more accurately unpicking, easier.

Burda 04 2014 113 back

I did my first exposed zip and it turned out OK. Top stitching is something I also wanted to play with on this chambray – both this skirt and the dress I’m making in the same fabric. Silver grey seemed subtle enough and I was careful not to overdo it.

Burda 04 2014 113 side d

Sloan District Leggings

There seemed to be a wave of UK sewing bloggers and Instagramers visiting New York back in the Spring, me included. The Garment District required some dedicated tourist time.

Top of my list was lycra for sportswear. It’s notoriously difficult to source good quality lycra (without an extortionate price tag) in the UK so I loaded up with two colourways of space dyed, some plains and a loud print. Of course the crazy print was the first one I wanted to sew with! I can’t remember if this was from Spandex World or Spandex House but definitely one of them.

sloan leggings NY 1

I was hoping the print wasn’t directional so that I could maximise fabric usage with creating pattern piece placement. After much staring, I confirmed it was directional. It’s hard to see the bubbles over the print in these photographs but there are bubbles and they’re shaded.

sloan leggings NY  3

The pattern is Sloan Leggings which I’d previously made both views of as toiles. Nevertheless, I had to take these in again right around the inseam because this lycra had more stretch than the cheap stuff I used for the toile.

sloan leggings NY  4

They have been dance class, gym and yoga tested with great success. A second pair is already in progress with more NY fabric.

What is is about sewing sportswear that brings out all the ridiculous poses I can muster!?

sloan leggings NY  2

Ella Again

It’s been a while since I last blogged but I wanted to share a second version of the Ella Top by Liola Patterns.

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The fabric was purchased from Elliot Berman Textiles in the New York Garment District – I wouldn’t have found it if it wasn’t for Sonja. While in New York I was keen to stock up on stretchy fabrics so this was the only woven I bought. I was overwhelmed by the wide array of fabrics – this happens a lot to me.

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It washed and sewed up beautifully. The neckline doesn’t sit quite right but this is entirely due to me using bias binding that is too wide (narrower is easier around such a tight curve). I was wooed by the dots so I have only myself to blame.

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Piping was fun to work with, it’s my first time but I found it easy to get to grips with and like how it highlights the back yoke. Even more so since I played with the width of the pleat to get the pattern repeat to match up impeccably.

Hand Dyed Nurmilintu

I received the most amazing Christmas gift of a yarn dying workshop tutored by Daisy of Devon Sun Yarns and hosted at Carmen’s shop A Yarn Story. The workshop was a full day of learning, creating and fun in a gorgeous shop packed full of inspiration… I had such a great time.

A Yarn Story Bath

Workshop participants had the opportunity to try two different dyeing techniques, browse (and buy from) Carmen’s carefully curated yarn shop and ate a fantastic lunch too. The first technique that Daisy showed us was painting a skein of yarn. I have plans for this yarn and have balled it ready to knit but it’s not the one I’m writing about today.

The second technique was dip dying a pre-knitted blank into baths of dye to achieve a true colour gradient. I selected a sock yarn with a silver sparkle thread in it and mixed three colours that I thought would make a pretty gradient. I had expected to get a brown, blue and plum so I was quite surprised to see the yarn come out rust, indigo and pink. I have great respect for independent yarn dyers like Daisy… selecting and mixing colours is not easy.

Hand dyed yarn blank

I was surprised at the outcome of the dyed yarn but not disappointed. It’s a great colour scheme and one that would fit right into my Mum’s wardrobe. What better way to thank her for the gift of the workshop than by making something out of my hand dyed creation?

Nurmilintu hand dyed yarn d

The dying was done to a pre-knitted blank which you can knit directly from. However, I wanted the colours the other way up on the shawl so I balled it allowing me to start knitting from the other end. Obviously drying the blank had crimped the yarn but it knit just fine and these crinkles came out on blocking the finished shawl.

Nurmilintu hand dyed yarn b

I have had the Nurmilintu shawl pattern by Heidi Alander queued on Ravelry since I saw Marrie’s Coastal Nurmlintu. It’s a great pattern that is reversible and consists entirely of knit stitches or variations of knit stitches (no purling). The alternating lace and garter sections mean there are some easy parts and some that need more attention – I like the variety. The pattern can be repeated as many times as needed which is perfect when you have no idea how many meters you have.

I enjoyed yarn dying so much that I bought one of Daisy’s yarn dying kits with a skein of DK so that I could have another go at home. I’ll knit up the other yarn I dyed at the workshop first before I dye the DK but I’m looking forward to more hand dyed projects in the future.

Nurmilintu hand dyed yarn c

Fleck T-shirt

New patterns are exciting but it’s also nice to return to an old favorite pattern that you know is as much a staple wardrobe piece as it is an easy sew.

Fleck Scoop T a

The scoop top is a free pattern by Skirt as Top and one that I’ve made twice before; a stripe version (I still swoon over the stripe matching in those photographs) and a plain version. The stripe version was worn to death, recycled as a dusting cloth and finally textile recycles and the plain was a step too close to pink for me so made a hasty escape as a charity shop donation. Nevertheless, I knew my pattern pieces were a good fit and I found the perfect jersey in my stash.

Fleck Scoop T  c

It’s a raindow fleck slub t-shirt jersey. There’s a Robert Kaufman (£££) version of this but I’m going to be honest and say mine was just a few pounds per meter from Walthamstow High Street (a shop without a name above the door!).The colourful little flecks are delightful… how is it that little details in fabric can bring such joy?

Fleck Scoop T  d

I decided to shake things up and make turn-up sleeves (useful tutorial here). I kinda like them but should make them looser if I tried again… that or ease off the press-ups!

Fleck Scoop T  g

Have you made any basics with a twist recently? Funky fabric or cuffs?