Project Pants – Update

Things are going a bit better now. I worked out the reasons why I was struggling with the elastic insertion, namely I was using cheap thread (which I know my machine doesn’t like) and I needed a new needle (which I really should have thought of earlier). So I can stop blaming the machine and admit I’m just not very dexterous when it comes to doing the elastic…

But I’ve now come into possession of a new machine, courtesy of my Dad. Full story to follow, but I’ll say now: this new machine is well swanky! I had to try it out, with the next lot of knickers that I’d cut out and constructed:

The first one I did was the cream coloured pair I’d already tacked, in the last post. They came out fine, and so much quicker than the previous pair!

This is more like it!

This spurred me on to try without the tacking, which certainly sped up the process even more. I was using the leftovers from the Black & White Batwing dress, that I’d made for One Week, One Pattern. I’d made two in basic brief sizing, and also one pair of massive and comfortable Big Pants. I was also using the remnants of the Instagram Takeover Dress, a gorgeous silk jersey.

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Top to bottom: Big Pants, small pants x 2, all three using the black & white cotton jersey from my B/W Batwing Dress, and small pants using purple silk.

 

I did end up doing one pair by hand-stitching the elastic, and I have to say, they’re ever so pretty, and very luxurious. Far and away the loveliest knickers I’ve ever owned! I’m now slightly wishing I had more of this stuff available, because I would rather like to have more silk undies.

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Elastic fully hand-stitched

My self-stitched pants count for Me-Made May is now up to eight, which is a bit more like it. I want to get another  3-6 pairs made, so that I’ve got plenty to see me through the month (and to justify throwing some of my older pairs away because some of them really do need to go in the recycling bin!). I’m trying to use jersey scraps for these, or repurposing jersey fabric from garments that I’m no longer wearing, rather than cutting into new fabric. It may require piecing scraps together.

To see what I’m wearing on top of the me-made knickers, for Me-Made May, follow me on instagram.

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Project Pants is not going so well

I have started Me Made May with the poorest preparation ever. The arrival of 1st May saw me with just one lonely pair of me-made undies to wear, despite my pledge being that all scrunts worn in MMM were to be me-made. But with best foot forward, I did have two pairs cut out, using Megan Nielson’s Acacia Pants pattern, and jersey scraps and I optimistically figured I’d just be dashing them off in less than an hour. I had *foolishly* forgotten my own often-dished-out advice – Things Take Longer Than You Think.

I desperately needed to get at least one of these done for Day 2, so I got started on sewing them together. Construction was absolutely no problem. I was making a couple of pattern tweaks, but that didn’t affect the process. I was just widening the pattern a smidge, for greater comfort for both pairs, also extending the gusset a little way forward, again for both, and I was trying out a Big Pants extension on one of them. I understood the Burrito method of gusset insertion, and all was hunky diddly dory.

And then it came to the elastic insertion…

My Nemesis…

Let’s take the first pair… Using the Floral Aqua jersey from this top, and a high rise for Granny Pant comfort.

Oh my stars, I’ve never known such an apparently simple job be so laborious and frustrating! I was using fold-over elastic, thinking that it would be easy and decorative. My sewing machine just basically hated me for trying to sew with cheap thread. I was using what I had available in the right colour, but she’s a big old thread snob, and the thread kept breaking, and I kept not quite catching all of the fabric within the fold, and it was just a Total Freaking Diasaster. I swear this took my 2½ hours to do, and it’s the worst sewing known to mankind. I would have cried, except that crying would just have wasted time.

They’re pretty and comfy, but will always remind me of fold-over elastic Hell.

I’ve got a wearable pair of knickers out of this process, but I did not enjoy it one tiny little bit. Thank goodness these pants are comfortable, otherwise wearing them would only ever be a bitter reminder of how hard they were to make.

Onto the second pair… I was recycling an old George at Asda t-shirt, and managed to get the pattern just about cut from the back piece, with the gusset (plus a load of extra gussets for future use) cut out of the front & sleeves – yay for upcycling. Again I was using the Fold-Over elastic, but I thought of the Aqua Floral Big Pants, and decided I would tack the elastic in first, to at least make sure I got all the fabric caught up.

Tacked and all ready to sew

I decided that I quite like the look of the tacked version, with the contrast thread and all, but it still took SO much longer than I thought it would. I simply don’t understand how people can knock three pairs of pants out in half an hour – these are taking me forever!

In fact, I’ve decided that if I have to tack to be sure of getting the elastic in right, then I might just as well embrace the hand-sewing process, and make a feature of it. So there will be hand-stitched undies showing up here in a short while.

Me Made May 2019 – My pledge

I’ve pledged:

“I, Béa of BeasSewingAdventures.wordpress.com, @missbeacurtis on Instagram, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May 2019. I will endeavour to wear me-made knickers during May 2019.
I will still be wearing other me-mades, but as I generally do anyway, it’s the knickers that will be the challenge element.”

There will probably be some kind of off-body photography on Instagram, just to record what’s being worn, but I need to work out a way of recording that won’t attract the Random Blokes, and not weird out my few genuine male followers.

Also, I need to make a load of undies to actually wear, so that I can properly meet my pledge! I think I’ve got the pattern sussed, and I can probably do a whole load at a time. There’s two bank holidays coming up, let the making commence…

A roundup of unblogged things

I’ve been such a bad blogger! Sometimes it’s been the case that I wrote about a Simple Sew make, and never got around to adding more details here, but mostly it’s been just not getting around to it…

So here’s a quick round up of all the things I made this year that didn’t get a full airing here.

It all started quite early on with a test-run Moneta dress. Everyone’s always raved about this pattern, and I’d had it for a couple of years, without getting around to making it. So when I signed myself up for a “Dress In a Day” workshop with Sheona of Sewisfaction, as a way of firing up my sewjo, this is what I plumped for. I used a ponte that I got from the Textile Centre in Walthamstow. I’d bought it because I could not resist the magnificently massive red floral pattern.

Look upon the massiveness of this floral – isn’t it brilliant?!

As it was my first Moneta, it’s basically my wearable toile. I do love this dress – it always gets compliments. However, on future makes, I think I’m going to be raising the back neckline, because it’s a bit draughty, and I’ll take the bodice & sleeves in a centimetre or so on each side, as I think it could use being a tad more fitted. And I’ll lengthen the sleeves to be more sure of elbow coverage if I’m going with the longer sleeves.

The Black & White Floral Trapeze dress:

This was a hack of the Simple Sew Stylish Shell Top, where I took the side line out on a tangent,  from under the armscye. Full details and photos are available on the Simple Sew Blog, where I showed all the hacking details. It was such a lovely cool, unclingy, airy dress to wear in the heat of the Summer of 2018!

It was so cool for the hot summer we had last year!

The OWOP Batwings:

I took part in One Week, One Pattern last year. I committed to wear the Simple Sew Batwing dress for the week, which was a bit brave, given I only had two of them at the time of pledging! I was seeing it as a way of galvanising me into making a couple more. Again the full details, including the hacks I used, are all on the Simple Sew Blog. I ended up making three new Batwings, a top and two dresses.

The Aqua Floral top

The Pink Poinsettia Dress

The Black & White Floral Batwing dress

I particularly liked the neckline treatment for the Pink Poinsettia dress, and I am still totally in love with the cowl of the b/w dress.

I’m not quite finished with this pattern, as I think I could possibly manage another couple of tops. Or more dresses. It’s a lovely quick make, in a flattering style, so what’s not to like?

 

A post from the Past

If I’d been more active on here, I would have noticed before today, that this draft post from August (AUGUST!!!!) had not actually gone live.

In the interests of keeping everyone up to date with what I made, and remembering happy summer holiday days, here it is:

 

Well I got some of my prep done for all the holiday crafting, before I left for France. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned but I had enough to be getting on with, so it was all good!

First up, before leaving, I created a skirt and top set in the dark violet jersey I had used for the flower decoration on the chartreuse dress. I used my trusty Simple Sew Shannon pattern for a t-shirt style top. As I’ve done in the past, I skipped the neck and arm bands for a cleaner line, and to make it look less t-shirty.

For the skirt I used my self drafted straight pull-on skirt pattern, and it’s pretty much a direct copy of my royal blue one. The only difference is that this purple one was going to be hemmed by hand, rather than adding an overlocked band.

All I needed to do was get on with the hand hemming… There were a few distractions at the start of the holiday (all 3 of my sisters being there, along with nieces and nephews, and a mahoosive cousins party) but it got done eventually.

Yes, it’s another Shannon!

I also got some work done on my 100 Day Dress so now I’m on Day 75.

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The progress report is that I’ve got about a third of the front still to embellish, and then I need to sew it all together. I’m still debating with myself what my options are for sewing together, but I reckon it’s all feasible within the 25 days I’ve got remaining. If it looks like it may need more time, then I’ll just have to be picky about using days where I’ve got nothing else to do!
For the full gen on this dress, it has its own Instagram account.

Sadly the knitting remains unknitted. But the Granny Squares blanket that I started last summer continues apace, with over 2/3 of the squares done. I even started putting them together. I learned a new technique for that, so yay for youtube:

I also visited the fabric shop in Les Sables again, and came away with a couple of jerseys, and some super-cute sunflower buttons.

I’m very happy with that little haul.

Still here!

I admit it, there’s been precious little making going on around here for the last four months. But I got a burst of inspiration last night, as a result of having signed up for One Week One Pattern 2018, which starts today. Big thanks to Sheona of Sewisfaction for hosting this again.

I’m saying “inspiration”. What I mean is, I’ve only got two of the pattern I’ve picked, so I need to get something sorted out for the other five days left of the week – it’s more desperation than inspiration!

My pattern of choice was the Simple Sew Batwing Dress, of which I have two versions, both of them dotty, but which I always knew would be good for another couple of dresses and possibly two or three tops. This is my opportunity to get around to some of these. Last night I dug out two bits of jersey, and cut out a dress and a top. I can sew them up tonight, which should take me through to Thursday, and I’m pretty sure I can get another couple done by then. The dress is an easy make. I just want to get a bit creative on some of the necklines, so it doesn’t look quite so blatantly obvious that I’m basically wearing the same thing all week. So, one’s a roll neck, one’s a plain round neckline, and I’m going to try a slash neckline for later in the week. I’ll see how the fancy takes me…

Thankfully, I’ve acquired plenty of ponte/jersey in the last few months, so I’ve got an excellent range of fabrics to play with.

I’ll be posting the daily selfies on instagram, so you can see the results first there.

 

Another Simple Sew Stylish Shell Top, plus a skirt

My post has gone live on the Simple Sew Blog now, so I can share these two makes:

Way too hot for these!

The top is another iteration of the Simple Sew Stylish Shell Top, made with a beautiful minty green chambray from Doughty’s Online (supplied by them specifically for the blog – Thank you so much!). I hacked a stand-up collar onto it. Go to the blog to see how.

The skirt is another of my self drafted straight skirts, which I narrowed to pencil proportions! I used a scuba fabric from Fabricland UK, which doesn’t seem to be available on their website now. I’ve still got a load of it left, which I don’t really know what to do with, to be honest. I love the print, and I wondered if I could make a matchy matchy  jacket with what’s left. But the fabric is really hot to wear, so I’m not convinced it would be a good idea!

Both these makes were conceived before the heatwave, and I have to say, I don’t have a lot of use for either of them right now – I think they’ll be much more welcome in the autumn.