Sunday, April 29, 2018

A quick New Look - another make of New Look 6216.

Hello everyone,

This is a very quick make and photo post.  I cut and made these knit pants today, as my chosen Make a Garment a Month project. The theme for April is/was Alternative April.  While I have made New Look 6216 pants many times in a woven fabric, this is my first time in a knit.

New Look 6216 is still in print:

I had just over a metre remnant of soft, warm, cotton that I purchased for $2.20 (from Spotlight).  While I had enough for the pants legs, I did not have enough for the pocket bag - which is a doubled over construction.  So I raided my scraps of black combed cotton and found two pieces about 9 inches square to do the pocket bags.  Then I needed a waistband, so I raided my scraps of woven fabrics and found a strip of black cotton broadcloth, so that was the waistband sorted out.

I did not alter the pattern at all for the extra give that the knit fabric had.  I thought a soft and slouchy look was what I was wanting - I had seen just such a style in the shops.  So I thought I would just make the trousers up and see what they turned out like.  You can do that with remnants...there is not so much to lose, and less emotional investment tied up in the project.

And they turned out just right - a nice pj style of pant.  Ideal loungewear, in my opinion.  In the photos that follow, I am just wearing a little white undergarment, because I want to show you how the trousers look against the white background.  When I wear them, it will be with a black tee shirt and cardi, so that there is a long torso line.

(whoops, didn't tuck the label in...)

Overall, they are larger and baggier and sloppier than my woven versions of this pant, but I love them anyway.  Soft, fun, and really comforting to wear.  Sometimes you need that....  And, the finished look is not that different from the slouchy RTW pants I had seen.  

So, I think I have a winning pair of knit pants!  And with a black top on, they will be fine to wear in the evening when daywear has been cast aside. Just the thing for cooking dinner and then having a quiet evening in - the only sort I like to do!

I think this pattern is going to be my go to pattern.  After a few years of trying different trouser styles, I am starting to work out that I like comfortable, looser pants, with elastic in the waistband.  And pockets.

I might go and rummage through my stash and see what other fabrics I can sew this pant in...

For now though, I will wish you all the best for the upcoming week,

Sarah Liz

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bits and Pieces Cardigans.

During my extremely busy period I did not want to sew anything that I felt I could concentration was low and time limited. So, I raided my scrap box and found that I had enough in the way of leftovers to make two teeny cardigans. The fabric is a combed cotton (Spotlight)  medium weight, no spandex, and being so short work well to just keep the air conditioning chill under control. Too fitted and too long would defeat the objective - it's hot and humid here, but when airconditioners are on at work, I tend to just need a little something. These little somethings fit the bill. I also find them handy at home, just to throw on when the temperature drops. Being so small they are easy to carry around in my work bag.  Also, the fabric is pretty indestructible, unlike some of the rayon cardigans that can be purchased - I always find that I pull threads on them very quickly. And some I manage to tear holes into quite easily if I catch the cardigan. Give me a hardy homemade cardigan anyday!

The cardigan shown above is made from purple and black scraps, and the neckband is a navy piece.  I really like this little cardigan, and I think it looks very smart, for what it is.  I used Butterick 5760 as my base pattern:

This pattern is quite a few years old and is OOP.  You can buy it on ebay, etsy and Amazon, presumably second hand.  I bought it because I liked the cardigan and dress.  I have not yet made the cardigan "properly". This is because I have never made a cardigan before and am still a bit of a knit novice, so I thought a scrap cardigan would help me to overcome my learners block and get me on the road to being able to make knit cardigans nicely one day.  I was also unsure of sizing, so a scrap cardigan also helped me assess fit. Adn the length of the bodice and sleeves were dictated by the size and length of my scrap pieces.

As far as fit is concerned, this cardigan is quite fitted, unusually so for a Butterick pattern. So I settled on size 14 as I did not want this cardigan to be tight as it is just a summer throw on.  I thought the front bands were too narrow for buttons and buttonholes so I widened them. I did interface the bands, as instructed, but I think the interfacing I used was a little too thick - but then, as a knit novice, I am still learning these things.  In the end I decided against buttons, because I was worried they would stretch out on the knit fabric.  Andd I was tired, so a new adventure in making buttonholes on knits did not appeal.  I used snaps instead and covered one side with navy buttons (see picture below).  It sort of looks symetrical when worn open, so I was rather pleased with my cowardly choice!

I did think the neckband was a little too much along the lines of how you would stitch a woven neckband, and I sort of played around with it a bit, to see if I could do better.  The pattern suggested stitching the band on and then trimming back the seams.  I thought this would form a ridge, so I did not trim back the seams but let them fill the neckband.  It seems to have worked.  The pattern also suggests turning the band to the inside and handstitching in place, which seems a little old fashioned and a technique more suited to wovens to me, so I applied the band the other way around and then finished on the outside with a row of small zig zag stitches.  I could have used my coverstitch but was unsure if it would handle the bulk, so settled on zig zag stitch on my industrial machine - I knew that would handle the bulk.  My method seems to have worked well enough and somehow goes with the overall look of the cardigan.

 I am not sure I did, and it is a bit thick and bulky, but somehow it seems to go with the overall look of the cardigan.

The hems were coverstitched in place:

So that is my first little cover up. The second is a little black cardigan, made out of a few more black combed cotton oddments:

For this little cardigan I used (OOP) McCalls 6708:

The first thing I did was check the pattern against Butterick 5760. The McCalls cardigan had a lot more shape through the sides, which I did not need or want for my little summer cardi.  Otherwise it was much the same size as Butterick 5760, so I just went with the new neckline (Version A) and neckband.  The front band was already wider, so I left that as it was.  I overlocked the neckband to the garment neck edge and then did a small zig zag topstitch on the right side to hold the overlocking down in place.  I did find that my finished neckband did not sit well, so I think a small modification may be needed to the neckband - it looks like it needs a bit nipping out (see below). However, it is not so noticeable when worn.

 I chose not to have buttons on this cardigan, being quite happy with the almost cape like appearance of the finished cardigan.  This was a choice though, because in the interim between my colour block cardi and making this one, I had made some knit buttonholes!  

Time for the pictures and then it is time for me to go for this week:

(I am not sure why the back is kicking up, I suspect, as per my norm, I just did not arrange the garment before the photo. The t- shirt also looks a bit that way...)

I have to admit these two cardigans made with leftovers have been much worn garments and are very useful, and also quite indestructible.

 Take care everyone, and I will be back with another post next Sunday...

Sarah Liz

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Blouse, New Look 6471.

 Hello everybody,

As promised last week, here is the first in my series of simple sew garments.  When time is short, I tend to use sewing as a way of relaxing, and I don't attempt complex garments, knowing full well that I will not do a good job with something that requires concentration.  I also tend to use pieces from my stash that are remnants, or cheaper purchases - this also removes some of the anxiety one might have about attempting to sew a "good" fabric when sewing time is limited.

This was my most recent make, and probably the most complex make of the last few weeks.  Because it has gathered cuffs and a collar, and I made it in a fabric that never cooperates with me when I try to sew it.

It is  a totally inappropriate blouse for my way of life, but sometimes I just want to sew something that I want to try and sew. And I really liked the look of the tie neck blouse shown on the main picture of New Look 6471:

Technical sketch : 

This pattern comes in seven sizes, 10-22.  Fabrics suggested are Batiste, Challis, Chambray, Charmeuse, Cotton Lawn, Crepe, Crepe De Chine, Double Georgette, Silky Types, Voile.

I found a crinkle rayon in Spotlight that I wanted to use for this blouse - it was on the clearance table, and was $8.00 per metre, (down from $16.99 per metre).  Plus it was a 30% sale day.  The blouse needed 2 metres, so I thought $12.00 was okay for a not likely to be worn much blouse.

I made Version A,  size 10 (this being the smallest size) with a 12 front.  I often do size 8 shoulders, 10 back, and 12 front, but I had to just go with 10.  I did not make a muslin - I sometimes don't, and it was obvious this was a loose, unfitted blouse, so I was comfortable with that idea -especially as the fabric was not expensive.  

I did not alter the length of the blouse - just in case I wanted to tuck it in.  I did make the sleeves about 2.5 cm shorter.  I also narrowed them by about 3 cm each side (6 cm total)...I just thought the sleeves were too full for my liking.

The collar/tie  was about 1cm narrower overall as I inadvertently found I had cut a chunk out of one side, so had to narrow that side!  The collar/tie was meant to be cut on the bias, but I found my fabric had shrunk quite a bit, so I had to do a semi bias.  L:uckily, that was the right thing to do, because I later found out, when playing with the wrist bands, that this crinkly fabric does not like being manipulated when cut on the bias.  Plus you can't press it into any sort of submission.

(I also decided on cotton lawn for the wrist bands - the fashion fabric is quite a loose weave and also moves a lot with the crinkles, so after two attempts at making the bands in the rayon - and they kept coming out vastly different in size - I settled on a firm weave.  Good decision, because I think the contrast works well - and as there is black in the pattern, looks like a design choice).

The blouse has raglan sleeves and the opening is through the front left shoulder, and the blouse only fastens with the tie collar for version A.  I am not sure that this is going to hold that well for me, and I also don't like the hole that appears underneath.

I did add a small button at the bottom of the opening seam - to reinforce the seam area. This flimsy fabric would otherwise give way.  If you look closely at the above picture, you can just see the little button just under the tie on the left front sleeve opening (look to the right in this photo of course...) make it easier, here is a picture of the button in close up:

I also added a little bow to the back of the blouse so I can quickly work out how to put it on:

The sewing itself was simple, but the fabric certainly misbehaved. And as for the collar, I could not press it and it did not sit well. After pondering what to do, I squirted it with water, and then blocked it, like knitting - I lay the collar onto a towel and shaped it into place, and gave it lots of encouraging pats and presses with my hand.  Seemed to do the trick!

The blouse itself, after I had made it up,  was certainly a long, loose and drapey sort of thing. Rather shapeless and sorry for itself, and determined to show the opening:

And the armholes are very low - this might be because of the looseness of the fabric weave, or it might be the cut of the pattern:

However, for all the echoes of Pierrot on one of his sadder days, I quite liked this blouse - under a long cardigan in cooler weather it will work!   I also thought it might look better belted:

(Umm, I must remember to straighten things up when taking photos...!!!).

I also thought that I might make it work by tucking it in and blousing it out:

Overall, I am glad I have made this blouse - it was something I really wanted to make. I am not sure how often I will wear it, but that does not worry me. It was the making of this that was important, the getting it out of my system.  And if I don't wear it much, the pieces are so large I can always cut another garment out of it.  

One thing I have done since I took these photos is to purchase a lightweight, white cotton long sleeve t-shirt  to wear under it. That will make this blouse a litte more opaque and will make the opening less obvious.  I think having something under that the blouse can grab on to will also help it sit better.  

As for making this blouse again, I am not sure - I do like the bound neck short sleeve version, and think that would be much more my sort of style. Smaller, neater, and more practical. 

That's it for this week, next week I should be back to replying to your comments!

And next week I will be posting this little cardigan - there was a hope expressed that this would be written up...

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Contemplating a Change in Style Direction

Hello everybody,

Behind the scenes I have been busy.  Life is starting to settle into a new rhythm and I am comtemplating various questions of life, such as where to next as far as my own direction in life is concerned. Life sort of sneaks up on you and before you know it, you are in the next stage.

Or so it seems to me.  It also seems that way when I look in the mirror.   I really do need to change my style to suit the person I have become.  I still dress like a teenage Pollyanna Practical, but really, I am now a quite educated and accomplished lady who is in the later elegant decades of life.  Of course, most of my life is still very Pollyanna Practical, but I think I need to change my clothing style a bit so it is a little more complimentary to the emerging reality of my appearance and accomplishments.

Anyway, while I have been busy sorting out lots of work problems, which are slowly diminishing, I have been making simple clothes.  In fact I have lots of garments to blog back to about the middle of last year, when the current resolving problems starting appearing.

Whenever I have problems in life that take away from my ability to think creatively with sewing, I tend to make simple garments.  Just a few seams and not much in the way of fitting.  Half an hour a day, usually about 5.30 in the morning (I suffer mild insomnia when I am stressed) soon gets a simple garment completed.

Following are a few of the garments that I have made.  Just a foretaste of what I will be blogging in the next few months.  I will give you all the details when I blog the garment - for now, I am just leaving you with teasers:



 (there are more)


(there are lots more...)

Some of these garments were made for fun, and do not really suit me. Some garments were made for fun and turned out to suit me nicely.  Some suit me, and some do not. What I do want to do as I blog these garments is to assess whether they work for me or not. For instance, I love black and white, but as I am officially a summer, it is supposedly a colour that I should not wear.  But I think I can wear it well, and it suits my style personality.  Some colours that supposedly suit me, I find a little dull and drab. And some garments that I thought were plain odd and not going to work turned out to look much better than I thought! see below

I am sure you all want to know a lot more about each of these garments - pattern details, fabrics and so on. That's why we like to read sewing blogs after all! 

So, next week I will be back to regular blogging - I will try and publish every Sunday - that is a quiet day for me now.  And I have stacks of material, so shan't be struggling to find something to show you.

And at the same time, I will think about style implications and a style direction for the next stage of life.

Until then, take care everyone, 

Sarah Liz