sewing

New Look 6035

NewLook6035

I didn’t actually plan on making a complete outfit, I just happened to pick out fabrics that kind of go together. (I should probably iron my clothes before taking photos of them. Except my iron is a piece a shit…)

There really isn’t much to say about the top and skirt. My past efforts using flimsy gauze have not worked well but I stumbled across the method of using gelatine to stabilise fabric from Lladybird. It worked really well! My cutting and sewing was much improved and I would really recommend the technique.

The jacket pattern doesn’t include lining, which just seems silly to me. A jacket should be lined. I decided to take what I had learned in a Craftsy class and try to add my own. I had some leftover teal lining from one of my earlier dresses (which is horribly sewn and does not get worn) but that meant that I didn’t have spare in case I stuffed up. In the end it was a great choice as I love the teal against the grey.

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The size I chose was a little too small so I decided to omit the button (also, I can’t be bothered). The sleeves were way too small and required a smaller seam allowance. I think even if I use this pattern again a size larger then I would still have to decrease the seam allowance of the sleeves.

I got very very confused with the collar. It took a lot of rereading and staring at the illustration to figure it out the under collar and I was really amazed with how well it turned out. But I could not figure out the upper collar and my attempts at attaching the upper and under was terrible. In the end I got around the problem by not sewing the corners and instead top stitching the collar. Meh, it worked…

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So while I do love this jacket, I would say that this is not a suitable pattern for a beginner.

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dogs

Cutting the days away

I feel like I moan about this every year but it really does feel like I am less creatively productive this year. There are so many things I want to make but it just doesn’t end up happening and suddenly it’s August.

Now I am house/dog sitting for six weeks (well, my boyfriend is, I’m just enjoying his cooking and an extra 10 min sleep in on work days). This is caring for the dog that bit Daisy earlier in the year. Although she is fine around people I can’t help the thought that she’s going to latch onto my foot whenever we are rugged up together on the couch. Our relationship is definitely broken.

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Look at that awkward dog

It’s difficult being away from home for so long because right now I am very motivated to sew but my machine and supplies are back home. There are so many things I want to make. My compromise is to cut out pattern pieces. It is a poor substitute to sewing but paper patterns are easy to transport and cutting them out is so time consuming that I might as well get it out of the way now so that I don’t have to endure it when I get home. There was a recent sale on Butterick patterns so I managed to pick up five patterns for only $20. I’ve never used Butterick patterns before and can’t wait to try them.

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My boyfriend finds it amusing to throw the excess tissue paper at the dog. He wraps up food treats in some of them so now she happily rips apart all of them. I’m scared that she’ll rip into my actual pattern pieces so I’m being extra careful.

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Where pattern paper goes to die
I can’t wait until I’m back home and sew up a storm.

sewing

Revisiting Patterns

I went a little mad with the new year sales and added lots of fabric to my stash. My to-sew list just keeps growing! A lot of fabrics I purchased with no clue what to do with but for two I had a clear idea of patterns in my collection that I wanted to use. (Another one I had a clear idea but alas, the fabric was not large enough).

First up is New Look 6286. I constantly wear the bird print top I made with this pattern I made two years ago.

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I absolutely adore this fabric. It is from Cloud9, which tends to have prints that really appeal to me (I even used Cloud9 for my first attempt at this pattern).

I made a few changes to the pattern. I omitted the ties, which I had done previously. I also lowered the front seam between the bodice and skirt (which also meant raising the hem to compensate). And I put a zip in at the back. I wasn’t happy with the back when I first used the pattern and there is also a large amount of gaping at the back that required dealing with. The zip also has the advantage of making it less noticeable that I didn’t match the patterns between the left and right sides very well (I’ve only attempted to match stripes before this top). I would have liked to use a red zip but couldn’t find a shade that matched the flowers.

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For many years I have had two pairs of fox print pjs. I love them to bits and have worn them to bits. I think part of that was due to my 2015 depressive episode, when I would constantly wear pj bottoms at home and would avoid leaving the home because that would require changing and having standards in appearance. Anyway…I have sewn up the worn patches as much as I can and am devastated to let my foxes go. I haven’t found any foxy pjs to replace them but I have found this cute fox fabric.

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This is the forth time I have used New Look 6705, though I only wear one of the the tops. The yoke did not work out so well this time. I probably shouldn’t have sewn it whilst grieving for my dog. I spent forever ironing the shit out of it (I wish I had a ham) but despite my efforts, the front of the shoulders don’t sit nicely. At least I can cover them with a cardigan. A few of my colleagues have been admiring the foxes so I’ll keep wearing it despite its flaws.


The fabric I had in mind for New Look 6899 wasn’t wide enough. Thankfully I had something in stash that I thought would also work. I’m happy with the fabric choice – I love the stripes with this cut and having them run in a different direction for the waistband. However, I’m not a fan of the pockets. They might be practical bit they don’t sit very well. I think it might be my fault, not the pattern.

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I had hoped to finish this before I started dog sitting but alas, I ran out of time. Daisy was not impressed by my sewing instead of patting her. I want to start more projects but she’s here for another week and I don’t think I can stand her disappointment in me.

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sewing

New Look 6431

NewLook6431

After struggling with my first jacket, I thought this dress would be a breeze. And it was…except that I made a horrible error…

Until recently my career has focused on following instructions. Deviations from procedure were a big no no. I haven’t yet developed a good core understanding of sewing so I tend to stick pretty closely to the instructions. I attached front to back, then bodice to skirt. I took what I learned from the jacket and sewed mainly without pins and was very pleased with my work. Then came adding the zip and I realised that the waist was in fact too small. 😦

I did a lot of unpicking and then ignored the pattern instructions. I attached bodice to skirt, added the zip, and then attached front to back with some alterations. It was a little tricky as I had already attached the bias binding to the arm holes and didn’t unpick that. So the side seams (particularly under the armholes) don’t look quite as nice as I originally did but the main thing is that it now fits.

The frustrating thing is that I already had the relevant knowledge, I just didn’t know. When I made a dress in a sewing class in 2013, my teacher told me to add top to bottom first instead of front to back. But she didn’t explain why (ie. makes it easier to alter the size if it isn’t quite right) and I never thought about the reason why. So here I am, mindlessly following the instructions like I always do, instead of actually understanding what I’m doing. This is what makes me still a beginner despite sewing for four years.

At least I now know a to attach my dresses top to bottom instead of front to back. May I never make this mistake again.

sewing

Motor City Express Jacket

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After all the time I spent preparing the pattern pieces for this project, I was very keen to start sewing. It didn’t start well – I had my needle in the wrong position for two seams before I picked up my mistake. It was only 1/8″ so it was very annoying to unpick and redo it over such a little mistake. Then, as things were starting to go well and I was feeling confident, I could not for the life of me match the front facing to the front lining. Normally the issue would be the lining, I’m terrible at cutting out lining. But it turned out I had cut some sides of the front facing a size too large. Urg!

Throughout the sewing I cycled between thinking “I’ve got this” to “This project is beyond me”. I do have a tendency to be overly ambitious in my creative projects but in many ways it is a good thing. I might not get the outcome that I want but striving for something that is beyond my current skill set pushes me further than I could go cruising through an easy project. I might have felt that this jacket is a train wreck but I still had the sense of satisfaction that I’ve come so far in learning how to sew and that I am learning a lot more from this particular class.

Attaching the sleeves to the rest of the jacket just wouldn’t work! The lining crimped easily but it still didn’t match the jacket so I ended up easing it. And I managed to rip one of the sleeves. I picked it up and the notch ripped! Fuck that, I’m not cutting it out again…so I stitched up the rip and went ahead with attaching it.

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And then, after months of agony, I was so close to the end. And the hems were wrong! I don’t know what I did! It looks like I didn’t properly correct the front facing when I cut it wrong way at the beginning. But I really have no idea what I did or how to fix it. So fuck it, I stitched it up as best I could…

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So there you go, I finished it. It does not look even remotely professional but fuck yeah, I did it!

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sewing

Oh Deer

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The moment I saw this pattern (Simplicity 1218), I knew I had to attempt it! It is just so ridiculous and cute. My mum gave it to me as a birthday present in 2015 and I did not start it until a year later.

Lumpy3.jpgIf you have browsed my past posts, you would see that my few attempts at soft toys have not been too successful. Because of my past experiences, I spent a lot of time procrastinating and this project has dragged for months. Then I got up to sewing the antlers and they drooped. I think this would be an expected issue? But the instructions make no mention of preventing droopy antlers? I feel like that should have been mentioned instead of assuming people know what they’re doing…

Thankfully my handy engineering boyfriend gave me some wire and told me the best way to rig it.

I’m pretty pleased with my deer head. I’ve named him Lumpy because my sewing wasn’t great and he looks lumpy because of it. Sewing soft toys is a lot harder than clothes but I think I’m getting a little bit better. Lumpy now adorns my study.

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sewing

That took longer than I thought

I’ve had Craftsy’s Motor City Express Jacket class on my to-do list for well over a year now. This is the biggest project that I’ve ever attempted. I’m not sure I’m yet up to the task.

The class is designed to be as efficient as possible, rather than running back and forth between the sewing machine and iron etc. Despite the efficiency, it is still taking me months just to prep for sewing (I get easily distracted by other hobbies but still…). It’s hard to stay motivated with all this cutting and prep. (And hard to keep my workspace organised.)

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So much fabric to cut! And interlining and underlining. I’ve never lined like that before. I can’t say that I’m impressed with my efforts. Not all of the interfacing is fusing to the fabric, causing an ugly bubbling effect on the fabric. I’ve ironed the pieces again and again but it just isn’t fusing, I even managed to burn a section of interfacing! I am hoping that it wont be noticeable when I’m wearing it and natural creases are created but I don’t have much faith in my jacket.

I’m particularly worried because I don’t have any fabric left over in case of an emergency. If I ruin the pieces I’ve cut then that’s it for this project. Game Over. The fabric was in the remnant discount section and there was just enough to cut out each piece. I had thought about making a cream and black jacket but I couldn’t pass up the price of the raspberry fabric, and it was the same colour using in the video tutorials, which I thought looked good.

Finally I am ready to begin sewing! How long will it take?