Tag Archive | tops

Making a Win out of a Fail

The Fail – adding to the stash

I fell off the stash wagon at the weekend. I was supposed to not buy any new fabric until I’d used at least 6 pieces from my existing stash. But there was a sale at FC Fabric Studio on Saturday. I’d only used three pieces, though I had cut out a fourth, without having done any sewing on it. Too bad – their prices are really good anyway, but when they are reduced, they’re brilliant. I couldn’t resist.

I went with a plan… I’ve got this new overlocker, and I need to practise using it. I decided to stick to jerseys, with the idea of making some leggings and t-shirts suitable for teaching dance in, because Me-Made May 2017 is coming up and I’ll have four teaching nights where I’ll need to clothe myself. And FC Fabrics have some beautiful jerseys.

I came away with over 8 metres of viscose jersey for only £10. Three of the pieces I found in the £2 remnants box, including a deep royal blue bit that turned out to be over 2½ metres – bargain! I thought I’d be going for their printed jerseys, but maybe because there weren’t so many of them on sale, or because the plains were just calling to me, it was all plains. They all have a bit of elastane, to make them stretchy enough for my dance-practice-wear purposes.

The colours are a bit off, but not too badly

However, I was conscious of my epic failure on the not-buying-new-fabric front.  I was already in deficit to the tune of 3 makes, and the stash has gone up by 4 bits.

The Win – using up the stash and firing up the sew-jo.

This fail galvanised me into action. I had four WIPs- patterns already cut out – and I could jollywell make some of them up, to start meeting that deficit. It helps that Saturday, apart from being Fabric-Buying day was also Me-Made-May-2017-Sign-Up-Going-Live day. As I have mentioned in my post, MMM is usually extremely good for my sew-jo. That, and an overwhelming stashguilt combined to make Sunday a day of sewing.

I sewed up the navy Juliette top that I’d cut out a couple of weeks earlier. I’d cut it before the black Juliette, to test my pattern adjustments, and I’d pinned it all together to test it. I’m not sure that even constitutes a toile! But it was still pinned, so it was good to go. Having made the black one so recently, the instructions were all still fresh in my mind. I didn’t include the waist ties, because I didn’t have enough fabric, so it was even easier/quicker. The longest process was the hand-hemming. I don’t really think there’s much else I can add. I’m impatient to post this and I haven’t photographed it yet, but it’ll feature in a post soon enough, I’m sure, and it’s certain to show up in MMM!

Oh except I sewed in a little charm, into the facing, so I’d know which is back and which is front. I got a load of these at the Knitting and Stitching Show last month.

Cute, eh?

And while I had the overlocker out, and threaded up with black thread, I pulled out a long-standing UFO, to see if I couldn’t have a stab at finishing it in time to wear to work on Monday (spoiler alert – I didn’t!). This was a straight skirt, using my self-drafted pattern. I’d cut it months ago, from 80cms of cotton sateen. The fabric was a tiny smidge too narrow to fit both front and back side by side, so I had to cut it rather more snugly than the pattern dictated, and I was relying on a slight stretch in the sateen and narrow seam allowances to make it work and still be able to sit down in it. This is what I had left:

I don’t like wasting material! 

I needed to cut the facings, and as there wasn’t enough of my main fabric left, I pillaged my scraps and used a bit of purple from the You Mean I’m Wearing Orange?! skirt. I used curved petersham inside the facing, while I was understitching, to make the waist nice and crisp and stable. The technique for that is in my Pink Polka Dots skirt post. In fact I referred to it, to be sure I was doing it correctly!

I sewed all the seams on the overlocker (I love it!) and then I tested my new concealed zip foot – it’s brilliant. Using Julie’s methods have resulted in another seriously invisible zip. I’m so impressed with myself!

Well, I managed to get all the machine sewing done on the Sunday evening, but the remaining hand-sewing of the facing to the zip, and hemming got postponed to Monday evening.

Facing, with charm

But I was wearing it on Tuesday to work.

I should really be getting on with my curriculum planning…

And how invisible is that invisible zip?!

What would I do differently next time? It’s a really good fit, actually, so I’m thinking that my self-drafted pattern may need a bit of width being shaved off it. On reflection, the Pink Polka Dot skirt made last year from the same pattern is also feeling quite loose. Maybe I’ve lost some weight in the bum & tum area. Next time I use the pattern I’ll measure myself and the pattern and see if I need to tweak it.

What do I love about this skirt? This print attracted me right from the start – I love a monochrome, and the pink just makes it pop!

So that was two down from my deficit of three. I’m going to see if there are a couple more quick wins I can get under my belt this week, to try and catch up with myself. Internet accountability is a powerful motivator!

That Juliette top and MOAR overlocker love!

I made the Juliette top for the Simple Sew blog, and Gabby wanted it sooner rather than later, so I got it finished in super-quick time, and photographed, so that we could post it. But I had a plan for a bit of improvement, that I couldn’t do in time for my Friday after work photo session last week, so technically these photos don’t show a fully completed make. SorryNotSorry.

I was working with a black peachskin fabric, that I’d bought when I went up to Walthamstow last November. It’s a lovely solid weight and it drapes beautifully. It’s got a soft silky sheen to it, and it could easily be mistaken for actual silk, except that it only cost me £3 per metre. It was an ideal choice for this sort of pattern.

The pattern itself, from Simple Sew Patterns, is a piece of cake to sew. It would be an ideal Beginner’s starter project. There are no fastenings to worry about, so apart from the facing it’s just shoulder seams and side seams. The most technical aspect of the sewing was inserting the facing. The most frustrating aspect was turning the waist ties, though!

It’s hard to photograph black! Especially in the setting sun.

That’s a better angle! And it shows off the soft sheen of the fabric.

The rear view with bow

I did a tiny bit of pattern adjustment, to add an FBA. I did it the long way around, but it’s a very easy  pattern to enlarge. I also added a bit of extra length, because I don’t like tops that come untucked easily.  I’ve got the waist ties tied in the back in the photos above. The ties are long enough to wrap around the back and then tie in the front, but I’ve got enough going on in the front! The pattern can just as easily be made without the waist ties, if you haven’t got enough fabric.

I untied the ties, here, to show the natural swing of the body.

The post-photographic improvement was made possible by the aquisition in the week after these photos were taken of some black overlocker thread because…

Dun, dun, DUN!!!

I’ve got myself an overlocker!!!!

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Brand shiny new!

Lidl were having one of their occasional overlocker sales (they happen every year or so), and I got this beauty on the Sunday after the photos, for the princely sum of £119 . Brilliant value! I had to order some black thread online and as soon as it arrived I Had A Go. I confess, I’m a bit daunted by it, but I’m determined to get really familiar with it, and make full use of it. I’ve cheated massively for now, by just tying the black threads to the white ones that were already set up, and I haven’t yet attempted to thread it all by myself. But I’m booked onto a Get to Know Your Overlocker course in June, so I just need to be able to keep tying on new colours as & when needed until then, and hope that none of the threads break!

So instead of zigzagging my seams to neaten, I was waiting to be able to overlock them beautifully. So I’ve now done a bit of unpicking of stitching, so that I could neaten up the facing edge, and the seams and hems. I’m in the course of rehemming, but that won’t take long.

The Juliette top has been a smashing stashbuster and wardrobe builder. It’s getting me through two of my #UseNine fabrics, because I’ve already cut out a navy version, so it’s contributing nicely to my Stashwatch pledge.

And now for the obligatory silly shot – I think I was trying to show off the sleeves, but got my self-timing slightly off!

I’ve gone all Titanic!

Another black t-shirt gets Béa-ed

One of my aims for this year was to get on with my many and various ideas for tarting up my boring plain t-shirts. Here’s the next one…

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This is not an innovative project. It’s basically the same technique that I used on my Two Becomes One top. I wanted to use some of the smaller scraps of black jersey left over from the first SewDots Batwing Dress. I cut out some random floral shapes, some a little bigger, some a little smaller. To apply the shapes to the t-shirt, I sewed black seed beads on randomly, maybe 5-7mm apart, to mimic the stamens on a flower. I wanted there to be a some texture and for the petals to flare a bit, so when I sewed, I shifted the fabric a little, to give the centres a tiny bit of pouf between beads. Hopefully you can see it in the pictures:

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The only advice I would give is to do the very visible section of the appliqué first (i.e. the front), and make that nice and neat. If you get to the back and the gap between the flowers is bigger than one flower, you can use a couple of small flower shapes, and squish them together, in the hope that it won’t be too noticeable. Which is totally what I had to do!

A couple of finished projects

Lovely and warm!

The holiday cardigan was finished a while ago but today is the first time I’ve actually worn it. I’m pleased with myself for two reasons. Firstly,  I was adapting a pattern on the fly, to suit my sizing and what I wanted for this cardigan. I knitted this in the round rather than in pieces, which meant a fair bit of head-scratching maths when it came to splitting the body for the sleeves, and calculating the Raglan decreases. I took out the eyelet detail on the Raglan decreases from the original pattern and added a bit of lace patterning just after the ribbing, instead, for interest.

Secondly, I was using buttons that I made myself!!! I took a pottery workshop at the Farnham Maltings on Buttons and Beads, two years ago, and I made two sets of buttons, these and some smaller ones. These were decorated with a fern press. I’m keeping the others for the time I nerve myself to make a shirt or shirtdress.

It’s really tricky capturing that texture!

The cardigan is proper toasty and such a glorious berry colour that I can see myself wearing it a lot over the winter months.
The second finished project is a top, which has been in the Work in Progress pile for months! All it needed was hemming, and I finally got round to it at the weekend.

This top is made in the same aubergine ponte that I used for the stretch skirt I’ve been wearing since March. They were always intended to go together.  I used the same self drafted pattern that I used for the Cairo top. It works but it feels very plain. I might try to tart it up with some beading, or possibly embroidery.

Matching with the skirt

I’ll have to wear it layered with a cardigan for the next few months, since we’re moving into Needing Sleeves weather. I’m determined not to wear tights until the start of October though!

Ready for the cold weather

Falling Blocks T-shirt

 

The Falling Blocks t-shir refashion

The Falling Blocks t-shirt refashion

This is a t-shirt refashion that has been dictated by sloppy eating habits, and an unshiftable grease-spot right in the middle of the chest. It has been languishing in the UFO pile for at least a year and a half, probably longer.

I was starting with a basic lavender Primark t-shirt, and some black jersey fabric from a pair of cheap leggings which had finally worn so much at the thigh that they were way past saving. My initial plan way back then was to make a sort of flutter effect appliqué and I cut out a load of rectangles in the black jersey intending to machine them onto the neckline. I got started and immediately hated it. Maybe I should have powered through, but I didn’t have any major vision to pursue, so it went into a bag with all the bits, and sat in my UFO pile, just staying there, gathering dust and making me feel guilty.

So when I was working out what UFOs I actually had, for the purposes of stashwatching, this one came out of hiding, and looked hopefully at me. I took it out of the bag, to see what was there, and unpicked all the sewing I’d already done, and put aside in disgust. I was wondering if I should try some other kind of technique to mask the spot, and then realised I could easily use the black rectangles I’d already cut, but apply them flat. I aimed for a falling blocks design, keeping it random, and mostly trying to zig-zag the blocks and slightly overlap them with each other. I pinned all the pieces on, then repinned all the ones I’d pinned with the wrong side of the jersey showing. A quick mirror check indicated the placement looked ok, and didn’t create any unfortunate boob-frames, so I went ahead and tacked everything down. It reminded me of those Alabama Chanin appliqués, which in turn reminded me that I really want to try that some time.

Alabama Tackin’

Then I started machining all the blocks into place, using a zigzag stitch. I think I must have been tired because I had two mishaps in one evening. Firstly, I managed for the first time ever, to do something so stupid, and such a childhood fear of mine, that I can’t believe it actually happened – I sewed through the side of one of my fingers! There was quite a bit of blood but it was only a flesh wound, no actual damage. After recovering from that, I started again, only for the second disaster to befall, catching the fabric in the feed-dogs, and ripping it when I at last got it out. At that point, I decided to stop machining, tacked an additional block into place to hide the rip, and put it away for the night. A few days later I managed to finish the rest of the sewing with no further injuries or accidents.

Looks better on!

It looks better on!

It looked a bit rough and ready, so I’ve trimmed some of the gnarliest edges, but it’s all going to stretch out in actual wear, and I wasn’t going for geometric exactitude.

I’m very happy that I’ve managed to retrieve an unwearable garment, that I’ve finally finished this long-standing UFO, and that I’m moving forward in my Stashwatch plans to fix/mend/refashion things.

And talking of appliqués, on the day I took these pictures, my dad posted this picture of me and my sisters on Facebook:

Ah, the seventies...

Ah, the seventies…

The second one on the right with the patched up jeans is me. Yes, it’s another garment upcycle involving appliqués!

Here’s the next four MMM outfits

Patterns in my clothing is making the text disappear!

Patterns in my clothing are making the text disappear!

Catching up…

Day 13 – Refashioned t-shirt from day 1, plus the Red Square skirt (which you can’t tell from the selfie). This was the best I could do for the Friday Theme of Stripes.

Day 14 – The All-nighter dress. I still love these colours with a passion. But I’m seriously thinking of cutting this down to a top, because the skirt part doesn’t seem to be hanging right.

Day 15 – The Dress of Many Colours (from day 11). It requires careful planning to repeat wearing this dress, because it is quite Noticeable. On Wednesday I was wearing it to work, and on Sunday I was wearing it at home, and to visit my sister, so there wasn’t going to be anyone there to say, “Oh, you’re wearing your bright/summery/colourful dress again…”.

Day 16 – The Squares & Triangles Circle Skirt, paired with a newly embellished t-shirt top.

This is yet another of my multiple Primarni t-shirt tarting up jobs. I had these crystals in my costume beading stash. They’re a slightly weird colour, a pale bronze-y gold. I don’t even remember acquiring them, as I’ve never had any costume plans in that sort of colour scheme, I’m guessing they were a mistaken Ebay purchase!

I marked the centre front, and started from that point, so that I could make sure the crystals would look right, and if there was going to be any problem with getting the final fit of the crystals, it would be at the back of my neck. I used one of the top-stitching lines for the neckband as my mark for keeping the beads in the right relationship with the neck edge. So I wasn’t just throwing it together, but doing a Proper Job.

Trying to be careful and not just eyeballing it

Trying to be careful and not just eyeballing it

And it was all ready to wear the next day…

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

It is seriously sparkly!