#2016MakeNine summer sewing plans

So, at the moment I’m a bit strapped for cash, what with all the recent expense of moving house and the fact it’s been a while since I’ve had a new book out. However, at the same time I’m facing a need for new summer clothing, including things I can’t make myself like sandals. I’ve given it some thought and have decided the best way to proceed is to curb my impulses to buy ALL the fabric and ALL the patterns, and shop my stash instead, thus saving my small amount of cash for some splendid footwear. Or not-so-splendid footwear, as the case may be. We’ll just have to see what I can find in my budget…

Anyway, here’s my plans for nine summery things I can make from my stash:

 

 

Me Made May (23) (Copy)Plantain tee

I’ve already made a three-quarter sleeve version, and I want more! There’s plenty of jersey in the stash. I’m thinking a short sleeved one to begin with, and possibly adapt it into a tank. Continue reading #2016MakeNine summer sewing plans

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Pencil skirts galore!

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Skirt #2, complete with boots that really don’t go with the rest of the outfit. Ah well. Them’s the breaks when you don’t have a full length mirror by the front door.

This post is a tale of two skirts, in my quest to get a perfectly fitted and comfortable knit pencil skirt. A pencil skirt might not seem all that practical when looking after a toddler, but I much prefer a straight or pegged style to a full skirt. And provided it’s short and stretchy enough, with thick tights or leggings underneath it can be a really versatile item of clothing perfectly suited to getting down on the floor and playing.

The first version I made was using some plain black ponte from Minerva. I used the free pattern at So Sew Easy as I liked the look of the four panels and topstitched seam lines, although I knew these wouldn’t be so obvious in just black.

It was a qualified success. I loved how easy it was to sew and think I did a really good job on the topstitching and twin needle hemming, but it really didn’t fit well as you can see by all the pull lines in the photos (taken back in the summer). I think this was down to me getting really confused about what size to cut. I measured the pattern pieces but the one suggested by my measurements looked like it would be huge, so I cut down a couple of sizes to one with a small amount of negative ease. What I didn’t realise until after sewing it was that ponte should be treated more like a stretch woven, with a minimum of no ease rather than negative ease. Continue reading Pencil skirts galore!

Nursing dress – Simplicity 1469

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I’ve made a fair few dresses in my time, but this particular dress marks a turning point. This is the first dress I’ve ever made that I’ve worn regularly. And when I say regularly, I mean I grab it every time it’s out of the laundry! So what makes this dress so special? I believe it’s largely down to the knit fabric, which is beautifully soft and drapey. It’s the same viscose are used to sew the top version of this pattern (Simplicity 1469), And it presented the same challenges to work with. However, I learnt a lot making the top so it was much easier this time around.

For the top I used clear elastic to stabilise the neckline but I was never happy with the result. I didn’t like the zig-zag topstitching or the way the neckline of the inner bodice kept wanting to pull outwards:

Aug 15 137 (Copy)

This time I buckled down, faced my fears, and made a proper knit binding for the neckline and armholes. Why was I so worried? It was the easiest thing in the world, and the results look brilliant. I didn’t even need to topstitch down the seam allowance as I used my over locker to attach the binding. In fact I did try topstitching and it looks rubbish, so that saved me some work. I even remembered to trim a little off the edges before binding them, so as not to add any width to the edges. Continue reading Nursing dress – Simplicity 1469

Simplicity 1469 – Nursing top by Megan Nielsen

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I made this top a couple of months ago but it’s taken me a while to make the time to blog about it. Summer holidays are impossible for finding any computer time! This is designed as a maternity/nursing top or dress, and you can find it here with the original artwork: http://www.simplicitynewlook.com/1469/ It’s a simple empire line knit top with an outer bodice you can stretch down, with an inner bodice that has cut outs for nursing access. It would be pretty easy to make it without that access, though, if you had no need for it.

I cut a size S, although my measurements put me more towards the M sizing, as I’ve learnt that Big 4 pattern sizing is always too generous for my liking. As I was seaming with my overlocker I did, however, taper out to the edge of the seam allowance over the hips, adding in just a touch more ease for my pear shape figure.

I used a lightweight maroon viscose jersey originally purchased from Ditto Fabrics last summer, along with the same fabric in a black and white polka dot print for the contrast pieces. It doesn’t look like they still have my colours in stock, but I think this one might be from the same original selection: https://www.dittofabrics.co.uk/plain-and-printed-jersey-fabric/plain-jersey-fabric. It’s an incredibly slinky fabric which drapes beautifully, but is a complete bugger to sew. I made a t-shirt from it last year and nearly tore my hair out trying to deal with its shifty shenanigans, but it is wonderful to wear so I persevered. I wish I’d chosen something easier for my first two knit patterns, but at least everything I encounter in future should seem easy in comparison 🙂 Continue reading Simplicity 1469 – Nursing top by Megan Nielsen

“Friday” update: scissors ahoy!

I’m starting off a series of (hopefully) regular weekly posts featuring news about what I’ve been up to with a particular slant on the sewing (more general updates will be over on my writer blog, should you wish to follow those). This would normally be on a Friday, but hey, I accidentally deleted half the post I wrote yesterday, and so here it is today with slightly different (improved?) wording 🙂

This week I’ve been making use of my Any.Do “to do list” app and scheduling myself 20 mins sewing time each day. It seems to be making a real difference. Instead of crossing off all the dull stuff first, I find myself racing to the sewing room to get going every morning. And yes, it’s a task down when I’ve finished! I think it’s important to make that time for my own interests, which can easily be sidelined in all the hustle and bustle of running the house and caring for a baby (along with a nine-year-old and a grown man). I’ve also been making use of tiny chunks of time to get sewing projects prepped, so that when I get my 20 minutes I’m sewing the whole time rather than getting things together. It’s made a real difference to my productivity.

Despite this I haven’t finished anything for myself, but I did get a cushion made for my mum’s birthday (now almost a month late, but who’s counting?!). It features an old embroidery she started when I was little, and that I finished off for her. I’ll do a full post on it sometime soon, but for now a sumptuous piccy:

mum's cushion

Continue reading “Friday” update: scissors ahoy!