Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sleeveless Top with Sleeves

So after my jacket disaster I thought I'd make something easy to take the taste away.  Step in trusty Simplicity 2599 (which I've made before here and here) and some cotton lawn that I've had for a while.
I was inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee where you can come tenth in one challenge and then third in the next. In the first episode of series 2 they made sleeveless tops in 2.5 hours so I thought I'd have a go...
But then I remembered that I don't wear sleeveless tops often so I decided on a sleeveless top with sleeves challenge for my self.
This is how far I got after 2.5 hours.

And after 4 hours.

I've put more interesting sleeves on than the original pattern has, taken from an issue of SewHip magazine (July 2010, issue 18).

I made the tea dress to wear to a wedding and always liked the sleeves.  SewHip have you make a pleated lining from the same pattern piece as the outside however which I didn't find very satisfactory so I made a small facing for them for this top.

I still love covered buttons.

So I suppose this is more of a philosopher's top now with new sleeves and a redrafted front. I also didn't use interfacing on the collar facings - rebellious I know!
But it's much much more me, hoorah!

Friday, 21 February 2014

I'm Feeling Gloomy

I've had a failure. Maybe not 'epic'. But a failure nevertheless. And it's my own fault.
Here it is. Maccall's 6844, PatternReview's best pattern of 2013 no less!

Looks alright from this side doesn't it?
What you can't tell from this picture is that it only has one sleeve and that sleeve is only half sewn in. 
Why? Well...because...
The fabric isn't really stretchy enough for this pattern. It seemed stretchy when I was playing around with it but the more I've sewn the less stretchy it seems. Almost rigid in fact.
But I could and should have checked this before I started.
The fabric is also quite thick, two layers fused together so it is grey on the outside and burgundy on the inside.

Pretty cool, but this has made it very tricky to sew. I preempted any problems with the front band by only using one layer of fabric. 

I should have stopped after I broke needle number two.
I should have stopped when I turned the sleeve inside out and could hardly get my hand though it. 
I did stop when I broke needle number three.
I'm not giving up but I have packed it away because it was making me cry. 
"Don't worry, you'll think of something" said Mr B soothingly. 
Hmmm. I have got enough fabric to cut new sleeves but that still leaves me with the problem of sewing through multiple layers of fabric. And I think the armholes need to be bigger maybe?
And the other issue is that I'm really not sure about the peplum. I've avoided sewing anything with a peplum because my thinking was/is that they are designed to make your waist look small by accentuating your hips. But my hips already do that to my waist naturally and the peplum might be overkill on this front.
What to do?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Yellow and Grey Cushions

I'm trying to keep the momentum going with my sewing but decided on something much easier this week.  I've had fabric for cushion covers for the living room hanging about for a couple of months so it was high time they got sewn.
I'd seen some lovely cushions in John Lewis ages ago but they were £40 each!  The fabric (called Lace by Scion) for these ones set me back £30 for a metre but the cushion pads were only £2 each from Durham market and the zips 80p each (looking back that seems too cheap somehow) giving a grand total of £38.40 for three cushions.  Take that! Pricey department store!

Its the first time I've used invisible zips for cushion covers and I think they are the way forward.  I find putting them in much easier than ordinary zips now and I think it looks very professional, even if I do say so myself.

Hurrah for saving £80!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

At Last...

I've finally finished Mr B's shirt!  He's been very patient over the last couple (well three and a bit if I'm being honest) months.  Circumstances seemed to have conspired against me sewing for ages but last weekend I made a lot of progress and by this weekend I just had the hem, buttonholes and buttons to do.
And here it is...

Mr B is a bit shy and didn't want his face shown!
The sleeve length has worked out perfectly, I was concerned about how much I had to shorten them. For sizing reference I cut a 36 and Mr B normally wears 15 1/2" collar slim fit shirts, this has the same kind of look on him.

Its been a really interesting process sewing a men's shirt.  I had built this project up in my mind as some kind of evil nemesis but really on reflection it's not been that bad (I totally forgot that I was trying to time this project so I've no idea how long it has taken).  I found that it helped enormously to have a shirt on hand to study when I wasn't quite sure of how things should look.   Like when in step 53 of the pattern it said "topstich [the cuff] as shown" followed by a diagram of the collar, grrr. And the real shirt helped me solve the mystery of why the cuff placket on my trial run was in the wrong place - I just hadn't read the instructions properly!

The busy pattern that Mr B chose helped disguise some slight wonkiness in the topstitching and buttonholes here and there (not my fault, I'm blaming my tools).
In the end I decided to miss out the buttons on the cuff placket as they weren't strictly necessary and would have been quite visible if they'd been dodgy.  I also omitted the strange under collar band thing as again it seemed pointless and would have added very visible topstitching.
On the pattern (Vogue 8889) envelope the model is shown wearing the shirt with a tie but the collar has come out very slim on my version, it looks good but I don't know if its quite right.  Mr B is very happy with the fit but he wouldn't be able to wear the collar fastened!

As I said in a previous post I don't often sew for other people and I enjoyed seeing the end product being worn much more than I expected.  I'm strongly considering sewing another shirt for Mr B. After the cushion covers, vintage dress, vogue dress, skirt etc I have planned of course.