Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lisette (Butterick 6182) meets Alabama Chanin

I'm not normally a lover of boxy tops but I did like this little Lisette pattern.  As I do have reservations though about boxy tops on me, I decided to make a wearable muslin out of two old white t'shirts, made out of the same material,  that had seen better days.  I also want to find out what I think about some of the techniques seen in Alabama Chanin knit garments.   I'm not sure if the aesthetic is one I like or not.

Butterick B6182

The knit material was a fine cotton knit. I knew that I would need centre seams in order to use the pieces of fabric I had, and this top had  a centre and back seam.  I didn't have quite enough fabric, so I used a piece of white pin tuck voile, leftover from an earlier project, for the cuffs and the lower part of the back.  Back features are sort of in at the moment, so I thought this was a good use of the leftover voile. Plus it's now out of my leftover stash :):

Voile section bottom half of back bodice.

I cut size 10 and lengthened the pattern two inches.  As you can see, it is still short - and fairly wide.  I like the width because in our hot and humid summer  climate this shape will be cool to wear.

The original t'shirts had lace at the neckline, a finish I really liked and I decided to re-use this for the neckline of this t-shirt:

 I'm not quite sure how the pattern finished the neckline because I didn't use the instructions, or really look at the pattern pieces, except for the three pieces I wanted - front, back and sleeve bands.

I finished the garment by machine and then used hand-stitching to top-stitch the seams down:

Top stitching centre front seam.

Top stitching shoulder seams and cuff detail

Top stitching yoke and centre back seam. 

 The last photo is not very clear, so you may have to take my word about the top-stitching :)

Now for some views of the top:

The top is fairly wide:

But probably not when you are doing things in it:

So that is my new hybrid re-fashion, wearable muslin Lisette top meets Alabama Chanin style.  With a Sarah Liz feature back and cuffs.  I like it and will love wearing this in the hot weather.

That's it for now, time for me to see what you have been sewing :)

Sarah Liz

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Beautiful Knitted Jacket - at Long Last

Yes, Finally - after a long and tortured history  with this variagated yarn I have finally finished a loose, throw-over jacket.  Just right for the current cold weather we are having.


Yes, once again, this variagated yarn is having the last word.

This time I am listening.

I am not going to try again with this yarn.  

I also think the pattern book, while lovely, is filled with garments that are really not just me.

I think I'll stick with my old tried and true basics in the future.  Made with wool I know and trust - standard 4, 8 and 12 ply, and patterns designed for these yarns.  Good old Cleckheaton, and Sirdar, and Patons, and Jo Sharp yarns and patterns.  In plain styles that I know work for me.

So, for those of you wondering, this is the pattern book:

Claiming that Knitting is Fun.  Not so sure at the moment...

And this was the garment I chose to make:

Yes, well oversized modern chic does not seem to work on me. Maybe you have to have to be a bit taller. 

So , this lovely jacket :

The pattern book and leftover wool:

Have gone to my local Op Shop (our name for Thrift Stores)....

Mind you, in some ways I am sort of pleased - this  is a good garment, unlike many synthetic knits that most people wear nowadays, not knowing the difference between acrylic and wool, and the thermal properties of each, so I know it will keep the wearer warm.

Meanwhile, I am going to knit some simple cowls and a neck warmer  to try and get some fun back into knitting...

Sarah Liz :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Snooze Time - with Snuggly Soft Sleep Masks

 At night I am the first to go to bed.  Chinks of light creep into the bedroom, and I find these disturb me. So I wear a sleep mask. I made my first set two years ago, and they are rather old and shabby, and the elastic has perished.  I have put off making a replacement pair as I don't really like fiddly, small stuff sewing.  Still, needs must.

I cut two pieces of soft cotton, and a piece of wadding is sandwiched between these.  I add a nose piece - you can see the pieces pinned in the picture above.  I place the elastic, ring and slider and then bind the edges:

Done!  Two new sleep masks and about an hour's sewing.  I love these - they are rather oversized because when I first made these I traced an old sleep mask that I had purchased, or that I got on a plane.  Then I absentmindedly added a seam allowance, which you don't need for bound edges.  But I decided I like the large size - absolutely no light gets in at all.  And they are soft and snuggly.  Just right for putting you in a good night's sleep mood.

When I first made these sleep masks, I wrote a little tutorial on how to sew these masks - the adjustable elastic is a bit tricky.   They look very similar to these as I used the same fabric.  If you want to know how to make these masks, just click here:

Good night, sleep well and sweet dreams everyone :)

Sarah Liz

Friday, July 10, 2015

Basic Black Tops - Revisiting Kwik Sew 3766.

My t- shirt drawer is full of old, tatty, t-shirts that need replacing.  I would really prefer to buy cotton t-shirts instead of making them, because I really do not enjoy this sort of necessity sewing, which is all I seem to do! You know, all those good old basics that always wear well, but aren't the most inspiring sort of material for a blog.

(Yes, I know it is sacrilegious talking about wanting to buy something on a sewing blog, but still, sometimes it can get tedious making the basics).

It seems that nice, long sleeve cotton t-shirts with higher necks are not able to be purchased anymore. Not where I live, in any case. I've looked online, and all the t-shirts around at the moment have low necks - which makes for a cold neck area, shows my bones, if not slide off my shoulders altogether.  So, with much sighing, back to the cotton knits in the stash.  And I made two more black t-shirts - which I wear a lot, under jumpers and things.  I wear dark colours under woolies and fleecy garments because fluff tends to adhere to white t-shirts.  I also think that black looks okay when the jumper or fleecy garment is peeled off on a warmer day.

I used my favourite t-shirt pattern, Kwik Sew 3766:

The cotton knit is a combed cotton jersey from Spotlight.  Not cheap, at $13.99 for 112 cm width. Only I got it a little cheaper, on one of Spotlight's sales.  I had 2.2 metres, which was just enough.  I cut size Small, and the only alteration was shortening the sleeves by 1 inch/2cm.

When I made this t-shirt t before, I used a very stretchy knit.  When I applied the neckband, it sat perfectly. I also made a less stretch version, and a combed cotton version. The neckbands in the last two versions did not sit so well, but were passable.

When I applied the neckband to my black version, this was the result:

Even with pressing and stitching in place, this was going to look puckered. There is not enough stretch in the interlock.  So, I took it off (and I was making two, and had to take two off...) (and was relieved I had not used the serger for sewing this band on).

So I added a new neckband, and made it a little longer, in the hope it would fit better, but then it was all wrong at the top of the band:

Do you see how the top of the neckband is now rippling?


Out with the seam ripper again.  Then I made a new neckband out of ribbing, which luckily I had in my stash (which just goes to prove how you should collect everything in your stash, and make it bigger and better every year...:)).

Which worked perfectly:

So in the  future, I shall use a rib band with this pattern.  I think it is needed, as the neckband is 6/8 inch wide - just under 2 cm - and the inner and outer circumferences need to have a quite a bit of give.

Two quick views - I apologise for today's very unclear photographs - it is what my camera chose to do.  I do not want to redress and take these photos again! I mean, I am a sewer, not a photographer or model :).

(I'm wearing Kwik Sew 3766 the t-shirt with Kwik Sew 2960, pants - made in stretch cotton sateen).

So, now I have two new t-shirts:

Which brings my recent total of new black me made t-shirts to four, with my Vogue 9026 banded top 
and Vogue 8536 t-shirt.

I think that is quite enough in the way of black t-shirts now.  I am glad that I have them, but I am also glad that the job is done.  Time for some sewing colour...even it is it a basic! :)

Sarah Liz

Saturday, July 4, 2015

More Corduroy Trousers from Kwik Sew 2960

 We are having a cold snap at the moment and my old corduroy trousers are threadbare.  And I only had one pair, and you really need a couple of pairs to get through the week.  I have already made one pair last week.   So it was out with Spotlight's stretch cotton corduroy, and on with some more fast sewing this week.  Necessity...

And, just in case you are wondering about the lovely pullover I am wearing - I knitted this some years ago.

I used my TNT  and already tweaked pattern for straight stretch pants, Kwik Sew 2960:


 This pattern is now OOP.  A pity, because it is a great shape for the straighter figure types amongst us. And, it fits my better than Style Arc pants.  It is designed for stretch fabrics.

As you can see from the pattern picture, the trousers have a front zipper opening.  I decided that this was not necessary for me, as I have small hips.   So I just used an waistband and threaded elastic through that.  There are darts at the back, and no darts at the front - so lots of room for the tummy :).

I used version C as my base, the straight leg pant.   There isn't much to say about this pant except to say I cut size XS hips down, and S waist with a bit more added to make them wide enough for the hips.  The pants legs in the pattern are quite short - usually I lengthen them, but I accidentally forgot to when I cut these.  But I like the shorter length - on petites it can look more flattering than the longer length that touches the shoe.  Bit breezy when you sit down though - I'll have to remember to pull my socks up.

So, without more ado, the front (which looks quite good) ;

 The side - this is the photo view I hate, because I have never liked my almost pre pubescent shape, flat bottom and little tummy.  To say nothing of my little toy soldier posture. I never quite grew up to a womanly shape:

And the back view  - with these pants I added a little at the front and back rise at the waist.  I did not drop the crotch, which I often do. I also folded out an inch under the bottom to try and rid the pants of some of the under bottom sagginess. That's how I forgot the hem allowance - it was more a case of forgetting to add it back on  to the back leg piece after this alteration:

I do think the legs hang a little straighter with these slightly shorter pants.  And although I have some wrinkle still under the bottom, I think this will always happen - I have stick thin legs, so there is always going to be excess fabric.  And in any case, when you are wearing a jumper and actually doing things, they look fine. And they feel comfortable because they fit nicely:

 And really, the back view is no worse than that of anyone else in the real world.  Air brush perfection does not exist.

My black pair of pants was made last week, and I quickly mentioned them   in my April-May-June review.

So, here they are, in more detail.  I added about 1 and a 1/2 cm hem allowance, and instead of adding a little extra at the front and back crotch, I dropped the crotch.  I also had the hem allowance cut correctly onto these trousers.As you can see, the extra length does seem to make the entire leg a bit saggier - it could be because my thin legs do not take up much of the leg space:

Ditto the side - the trousers catch more with the extra length:

And ditto the back - just generally more wrinkles in the leg area. 

But I can live with these imperfections - and I also like the option or wearing a longer leg as well.  And again, with another garment on - which is what we do - the appearance looks much better:

See what I mean??  And I really think my hand knit jumper - once again, made by moi, is the star of this show, with the trousers the supporting act.

I plan to make these again, only the next time I will do the raised rise, not the dropped crotch, and take out the one inch under the bottom, remember to add the inch back plus the hem allowance, and see whether the wrinkles come from the crotch being lowered, or from the pants being a longer length.  Ahh, the wonders of the digital age, allowing us to obsess over the fit of the back of the pants.  I never used to worry years ago, because I couldn't see my back :).  Those were happy sewing days when ignorance was bliss :) :).  Or was it youthful ignorance was bliss??

That's all for now, I'm off to see what your blogs have to show now...oh, and dispose of the old threadbare pants:)

Sarah Liz

P.S.  I liked the cost of these pants - both pants were stretch cotton corduroy, from Spotlight.  The fabric was half price.  So with sewing thread, elastic and needles, about $15.00 each.  I was nearly desparate enough to buy some stretch cord pants, in a colour I did not like and far too skinny in the leg for me - $100.  So my total of $30 for two is well under the cost of one pair that would not fit, was not in a colour I liked and in a style that does not suit me.