Completed: A pair of toddler pyjamas

200518_1

I made some garments! Admittedly, quite simple ones, but I did try some new patterns which was fun. Ever since my daughter spotted a fabric that I had used to make a pair of pyjama pants for myself she has been bugging me to make her a pair too. With the weather warming up she has recently transitioned from sleeping in an insulated onesie to real pyjamas so she could actually use another pair.

There wasn’t enough left of that particular fabric though, so I had a look in my stash for something else that she liked. I still had plenty left of a Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey with an Ann Kelle print. It might look familiar to some of you because I also used it for one of the maternity t-shirts that I wore during both my pregnancies. It feels very soft so I think it will make a comfortable pair of pyjamas too.

200518_6

No, I did not even attempt to do any pattern matching here.

I chose the sleeping johns pattern from Meg McElwee’s book “Growing up sew liberated” and decided to just try making them with my daughter present in the room. While tracing the pattern I warned her that if she made the tracing paper shift she’d get wonky leggings and she understood that this was something that we wanted to avoid. It is a very simple and quick pattern to make with only one pattern piece. We actually managed to pick a pattern and fabric, trace the pattern, cut the fabric, adjust my overlocker (someone had put several of the tension dials to 1 so I was extremely glad I had done a practice swatch before starting on the real thing!) and assemble the leggings except for hemming during a single nap of my youngest daughter.

200518_4

She also found this owl ribbon I had used previously in a pair of trousers I had made her and wanted me to use it for this pair as well.

 

I made the leggings as instructed except for how the elastic was put in. The instructions tell you to fold the waistband down to create a casing and then to put the elastic in between the fold. The elastic and casing are then topstitched at the same time. I prefer to first overlock the elastic to the top edge of the legging and then folding the whole thing to the inside to stitch in place. I think my method is easier to get right because the elastic is already tamed.

200518_2

The book suggests combining the sleeping johns with the crossover tee to create a set and since I still had more than enough fabric left I decided to do just that. I even found a good matching ribbing in my stash and now sort of wish I had finished the hem of the pants with ribbing as well to get an even more matching look. The t-shirt is also easy to assemble although I did scratch my head a bit at the edgestitching of the neckline ribbing until I realized that the overlap is actually stitched closed during this step. I also first sewed both sideseams and then attached the ribbing to the bottom instead of sewing one side seam and then attaching the ribbing before sewing the other side seam.

200518_3

The size chart in the book put my daughter in 3T, the garments turned out a bit larger than the Dutch size 104 my daughter now wears. I don’t have any size 110 yet to compare it to but I think the 3T is closer to that than to 104. She’ll be able to use this set for a good while.

200518_5

And if you thought that just because I had made sure the overlock stitches looked good before starting on the legging I could simply start sewing the t-shirt a couple of days later, think again. This time someone had found the differential feed and stitch length dials. And no, I did not even attempt to unpick those teeny tiny stitches. After all, if you touch something, things may get wonky…

 

 

Completed: Two Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tees

180708_2

Yes, there are alpacas on my t-shirt! We’ve been experiencing some uncharacteristically good weather for the past month or so and with it came the desire for some fresh new t-shirts.

I downloaded Maria Denmarks Kirsten kimono tee pattern in early 2013 (I just saw that there was a pattern update in September 2013 but I used the earlier version which apparently has a slightly different sizing). You can get the pattern for free by signing up for her newsletter.

180708_3

I believe I finally printed and assembled the pattern sometime in 2015 but somehow never got around to actually making it. During my recent sewing room clean up it turned up again and it was just what I needed.

180708_4

I made a size S without alterations and I am happy with how it fits. For my first version I used a solid rayon knit fabric that I still had in my stash to test fit and the alpaca version is a cotton knit fabric I found in a local fabric store. I really like the background colour. The alpacas are not really what I would ordinarily choose to wear, but I quite like them too.

180708_1

The top only requires 75cm of fabric and I can make one in 1.5 hour or so using my overlocker and coverstitch machines. If the good weather continues I may end up sewing another one!

Completed: A wedding jacket

When my husband and I got married two years ago I knew I wanted to make some things for the wedding. I considered sewing my own wedding dress, for about 5 seconds. With all the other things going on in my life at the time, sewing a wedding dress had the potential to become a bit too stressful.

We had chosen a dark fuchsia colour for our wedding and this was featured on our invitation, a belt on my dress, my jacket, my husband’s tie and the corsages for the wedding party.

180616_02

Picture take by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

 

I debated for long time whether I wanted a white dress because white is not the best colour for me to wear and I don’t really care about these kinds of traditions anyway. To both my sisters’ relief I did eventually buy a white dress but I simply had to add some colour. The dress came with a black belt that I didn’t like so it was removed and I replaced it with a dark fuchsia one. I also made a jacket because I don’t like being cold and as it turned out I wore it for most of the day.

180616_1

Picture taken by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

My first attempt at a jacket didn’t work out at all (imagine the stress if this would have been my dress!), so I switched to the cropped version of By Hand London’s Victoria blazer that I had made once before (but unblogged). I removed some of the fullness in the back as I found it stood out quite a bit on my first version. I also moved the shoulder seams forward and made some small changes to the sleeves. I used the collar but left off the lapel.

180616_4

Construction wise I changed a whole lot of things. The entire jacket is underlined in silk organza. The seam allowances were catch stitched to the silk organza so they remain flat. Sadly, I don’t think I made any in progress pictures of this step. I also created facings and a separate lining pattern. The lining was attached by hand.

180616_5

For the lining I originally intended to use a white Bemberg rayon, but I found it was a bit too sheer as you could see all the seam allowances (and catch stitches) through it, which for a skirt lining would have been fine, but not for a jacket where the lining can be on display while you’re wearing it. I found a pretty wild fabric that had some of the fuchsia colour in it and used that, I like how it added even more colour to my outfit.

We had a great wedding day and after two years we still can’t help but smile when we bring back memories of this day.

180618_3

Because I know some of you will be curious about the dress without the jacket. Picture taken by our wedding photographer Rita van de Poel.

Completed: Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

180527_1We are having some warm weather and I wore my first (unblogged) Sewaholic Belcarra blouse this week. It made me realize that I would like to have another one because the loose fit makes it very comfortable to wear when it’s hot. Because I had already made this top once before the construction was quite straightforward and I was able to complete it in a weekend.

For my first version I had made a muslin (size 8) and on my traced pattern moved the shoulder seam forward, which is a standard adjustment for me, and made a horizontal slice above the bust to drop the front a bit to reduce draglines.

180527_4

Because the shoulder seams have a curve I folded the front sleeve to remove some width and sliced through the back sleeve to add the amount that I removed from the front.

The fabric is the sacred seeds Mojave fabric from April Rhodes Wanderer collection for ArtGallery. I really like this colour and the subtle V-shape pattern. It’s a colour I don’t wear often so it also adds a bit of variation to my (very blue) wardrobe.

180527_2

The wide neckline is also not something I wear often, I considered narrowing it, but after trying on the muslin I decided that I could live with the occasional bra strap peeking out. If you can’t, there is a tutorial on the Sewaholic blog on how to narrow it.

180527_3

The blouse was sewn on my sewing machine and the seam allowances were finished with my overlocker. I did have one mishap when I overlocked the seam of one of the front sleeves as I caught some of the sleeve fabric. Luckily I hadn’t yet overlocked the seam of the front so I could easily remove the sleeve, cut a new one and continue. I do feel so stupid when this happens.

180527_5

I am not the only one this happens to, right?

 

The only real downside to these tops is that they really need to be ironed before I can wear them and even then I don’t get them completely wrinkle free, but that’s probably mostly due to my ironing skills…

Completed: Maternity t-shirts

Having experienced over 8 months of pregnancy so far, I can safely conclude that I don’t like it. I am looking forward to holding and seeing this little human that is growing inside me, but wish the growing inside me part didn’t have to happen first. If only I were a bird, or a man. My husband might argue that being married to a pregnant woman is not easy either but I don’t see him willing to trade with me right now. Especially with that whole giving birth part of pregnancy looming on the horizon.

170109_diamond-tshirt1

Funnily enough, I don’t think I look all that pregnant in these pictures.

During the moments I didn’t feel too crappy I managed to do some sewing but not that much. My sewing machine hasn’t been neglected this much since I first got it! Today I thought I’d show you some maternity wear. Actually, I’ll show you the only maternity wear I made…

170109_diamond-tshirt2

From the side though, there’s no mistaking what’s going on in there!

When my belly started to expand a bit too much to still fit comfortably in my regular wardrobe I adapted a t-shirt pattern hoping that I could use it to sew some t-shirts/sweaters that would last me through the rest of my pregnancy. I believe I was 24 or 25 weeks pregnant at the time (it took a while before I grew huge). I used the t-shirt pattern from Meg McElwee’s Sewing with knits Craftsy class. I made two t-shirts from this pattern years ago and at 25 weeks I was still wearing these although they started to get a bit short in the front. The fit of this pattern is a bit looser than the other t-shirts I made for myself which made it more suitable for an expanding body and a good starting point for a maternity shirt.

Changes made to the pattern:

170109_pattern-changes-maternity-shirt

Schematic of changes (in red) made to the sewing with knits t-shirt pattern. The original pattern has shaped side seams but I found it too much trouble to incorporate this into the drawing.

  1. Added 1 inch to bottom of both front and back bodice because the rise of maternity pants is much lower than in regular pants and I wanted to keep the belly band of the pants covered.
  2. Added notches on both front and back bodice to make sure I could align the pattern pieces properly after all the changes that were later made to the front bodice only. The top notch is 18 cm from the top and the lower notch 6 cm from the bottom. I based this on how the original t-shirt fit me and took into account that I would lose some fabric in the seam and hem allowances. The area in between the notches is basically where I expected my belly to start and end at its largest, so where extra room is needed.
  3. Added 8 cm of extra length to front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly.
  4. Added ½’’ of extra length to bust area of front bodice to allow extra room for all those additional cup sizes that you accumulate during pregnancy (it’s quite crazy, really).
  5. Graded out the sides of the front bodice to allow extra room for expanding belly. Started with nothing just below the top notch to 1 inch at widest part of belly and then straight down to the hem so in total 2 inches were added to the t-shirt circumference.
170109_circle-tshirt1

My husband calls me turtle when I wear this t-shirt…

Construction wise the only changes that were needed were that the extra length that was added to the belly part of the front bodice was gathered to fit in between the two notches of the back bodice. The extra length at the bust was simply eased into the back by stretching the fabric between the top notch and top of the bodice as they were sewn together with my overlocker.

I managed to complete 3 t-shirts and I have pictures of 2. The third one is plain grey and I prefer to wear the ones shown here. Pictures didn’t happen until 36 weeks in a quick “let’s a least get pictures of these shirts while I’m still pregnant shoot”. I should have paid more attention when I put the shirts on, the one with 3/4 length sleeves was twisted a bit, the left side seam is oriented too much toward the front and the right side seam towards the back. Ah well, at least there are pictures…

170109_circle-tshirt3

After more than 10 weeks of wearing these shirts regularly I can say that I am very happy with how they turned out. They are very comfortable and the changes I made to allow for expansion appear to be sufficient to also last the couple of weeks I still have left. I am glad I managed to make these shirts, I think I have worn them often enough to warrant the time spent making them and I feel much more comfortable in them than I would have been in the ready to wear shirts I tried on in stores and didn’t buy.

170109_circle-tshirt2

Normal service will most likely not return anytime soon on this blog as it took ages to get this single blog post done… I’ll be back though, there are too many things I still wish to show you.

Completed: Sweater 3b from Knippie 5 – 2010

160214_sweaterfront

A friend recently had a second child and I made a baby sweater. I wanted to try a new pattern and use a new technique to challenge myself somewhat. The sweater I chose has a neckline that is finished with a binding, but closes with snaps. This is a closure I had never made before.

160214_linedrawingThe pattern is from Knippie, a Dutch sewing magazine with patterns for children. I made sweater 3b from issue 5 of 2010. I had enough blue fabric left over from another project to make size 74. The child probably won’t fit into this sweater until autumn but I like to give something that they can wear more than once. The orange jersey was left over from an abandoned project that was cut out but never sewn. I really like how this shade of orange pops against the dark blue.

To make my life easier I decided to remove several seam lines that were only decorative in nature. For the back bodice this meant not cutting through the yoke line of the pattern piece. For the front piece it meant I had to tape the front yoke pattern piece to the right side so it became one pattern piece. This is not difficult to do but you have to be careful to line up the correct line of the yoke and front piece.

160214_sweaterback

Construction wise this was not a difficult project. All seams were overlocked and top stitching and hemming was done with my coverstitch machine. Attaching the neckline binding was fiddly and the most challenging part of the sweater. I ended up ignoring the instructions completely. I am still not entirely sure what I was supposed to do but I thought it became an annoyingly bulky affair that didn’t look pretty. Instead I took a single layer of the jersey, stitched it to the right side of the neckline with short extensions at the opening. Folded these edges to the back and stitched in place by hand. Folded the neckline to the inside and again stitched the ends in place by hand. The binding was then topstitched with my coverstitch machine.

160214_detailclosure

The instructions told me to stitch twill tape around the armholes and add applique but I ignored this as well. I like clean and simple.

160214_closureopen

You can see how I folded the binding to the inside and stitched the ends down by hand. If you look carefully you can also see where I missed part of the binding with the coverstitch machine and remedied this with some handstitches. From the outside you can’t tell.

Completed: Julia Women’s Cardigan and Lady Skater T-shirt

Julia Women's CardiganNot one, but two finished garments today! For reasons of picture taking efficiency I’m modelling them together.

Julia Women's CardiganFirst, the Julia Women’s cardigan from Mouse House Creations. I bought this pattern ages ago but never got around to actually using it until this week. I could use a new cardigan or two this autumn since some of my older ones are getting a bit too worn and this pattern looked like it would be quick and easy.

Julia Women's cardiganThe PDF was fairly straightforward to assemble, I liked that the details that are different for the various sleeve lengths were indicated in colour. The sewing instructions were clear. I chose the variation with long sleeves and the doubled over collar. I made size M at the top and graded to size L at the bottom to ensure that it wouldn’t be too clingy around my hips.

Julia Women's CardiganThe fabrics are viscose knits from my stash. I didn’t have enough left of either colour to make the entire cardigan so decided to make the collar in a contrast colour. I quite like how it turned out and think it will get much wear this autumn and possibly winter as well.

Julia Women's CardiganThings I consider changing next time:

  • Slimming down the sleeves, I find them quite wide at the bottom.
  • There are some draglines in the sleeve at my front upper arm, I’d like to fix this.
  • I’m not entirely sure about the back length, a little bit longer might look better on my figure?

Lady Skater t-shirt

Second, another Lady Skater t-shirt, pattern based on the Lady Skater dress from Kitschy Coo. If you ever wondered what happened to the ridiculous drawstring-detail drape top after I applied my rotary cutter to it, this t-shirt happened. I could cut the back of the t-shirt from the top’s back, keeping the center back seam. The front of the t-shirt and one of the sleeves fit on the drapey front. The second sleeve couldn’t be cut from the drape top and while I did have more of the grey fabric left, I chose to make it pink. Pink is not one of my favourite colours but I like it in small doses. The neckband was cut from black ribbing left over from the Indigo sweater.

Lady Skater t-shirtI think this t-shirt is a lot more wearable than the drawstring top ever was.

Win!

Win!

Completed: LMV Indigo sweater – not just for teenagers

I suppose I was 12.... 18 years ago.

I suppose I was 12…. 18 years ago.

Meet my new favourite sweater. The Indigo sweater from the July/August 2015 issue of La Maison Victor, a Flemish sewing magazine. I didn’t know this magazine existed until my co-workers gave me this issue for my birthday. When I saw the shapes of the pattern pieces for this sweater I was sold.

Indigo Sweater pattern pieces.

Indigo sweater pattern pieces.

It is a guest-pattern by Valerie Boone, author of Remi & Cosette for teens, a book with sewing patterns for teenagers. The Indigo sweater pattern is also featured in this book. Since it was designed for teenagers the size range is, unfortunately, rather limited. I made the largest size, 36, which corresponds to a 88 cm bust. This sweater has no side seams, the only shaping comes from the princess seams on the front. The front and back pieces are sewn together in one continuous seam, which even includes the pockets. The sleeve seam is not on the bottom of the sleeve but is sewn continuously with the shoulder seam. I think the whole construction is quite ingenious.

Indigo sweater backI made a muslin and one of the first things I did was to sew the pockets closed. I really like them in theory, but on a person with hips I thought they added too much emphasis on said hips. I moved the shoulder seam forward by 1.5 cm and also shifted this seam on the sleeve since shoulder and sleeve are sewn together. The sweater length was reduced by 2 cm at the waist.

Adjusted pattern. Pockets removed. Shoulder seam moved 1.5 cm forward. Reduced length 2 cm.

Adjusted pattern. Pockets removed. Shoulder and sleeve seam moved 1.5 cm forward. Reduced length 2 cm.

The fashion fabric is a mystery knit that came from the stash of a friend’s mother. She decided that she wasn’t going to sew anymore and wanted to get rid of the fabric she still had, lucky me. I thought it might not be opaque enough on its own and feel scratchy against my skin so I decided to underline it with black laguna jersey. To do this, I cut all pattern pieces twice, layered underlining and fashion fabric on top of each other, pinned so that nothing would shift and then stitched with a wide zigzag stitch around all edges. This basically turns the two layers into one which is much easier during construction later on.

underliningThe seams were stitched with a narrow zig zag stitch using my walking foot. Instead of pressing the seam allowances to one side as instructed, I pressed them open because I found the 4 layers of fabric too bulky otherwise. The neckline and sleeves are finished with black ribbing. The bottom hem should also have been finished with ribbing, but I did an invisible hand sewn hem instead. When I was testing fit during construction I already liked it a lot without the ribbing and I realized that I don’t really like the ribbing on the hoodies that I occasionally wear so decided to skip it. One of my co-workers gave me some tags to use for my handmade items and I sewed one to the interlining of the back.

150826_tagThe downside of the fabric I used is that it completely hides the interesting seam lines, unless I wear it inside out…

Indigo sweater insidesNow all I have to do is wait for cooler weather so I can actually start wearing this sweater…

150826_Indigosweaterside

All outside pictures were taken by my brother who I should probably turn into my official blog photographer because he only took a couple and nearly all of them turned out great.

Completed: Knippie baby blouse

I sometimes find it difficult to sew for baby boys. One problem is that you can’t add too many cute frills because people might find it too girly. The second problem is that dresses are somehow just more fun to make. I usually end up making another Growing up sew liberated envelope tee. However, my colleagues have been creating a lot of boys lately so I’ve already given several of these tees away. It was high time for some diversification or risk people thinking I am a one-trick monkey.

140910_frontI still had some of the coronavirus fabric that would be great to use for a boy but the amount was somewhat limited so not every pattern was going to work. After much deliberation I chose blouse 6 from Knippie 5 2010 in size 74. If you compare the shirt I made with the line drawing you might notice that my version doesn’t look all that much like the drawing. First, I made short sleeves because of fabric limitations. Second, I don’t really like the western cowboy details so I left these completely off on the front and changed the curved yoke to a straight yoke and cut the back piece on the fold. I considered leaving out the yoke completely but inside yokes are pretty useful for embroidering sizes on so that persuaded me otherwise. I didn’t like the square pocket so left it off as well. In the pattern the front placket facing is cut separately which I really don’t understand when you don’t use a contrasting fabric (bulk, extra sewing, seriously why?) so I merged the front and front placket pattern pieces. On the sleeve piece some of the notches were missing but I didn’t have any trouble putting them in, it just took a little bit more care to get things properly aligned and eased in.

140910_detail collarThe main fabric is a baby corduroy that is really soft. It also doesn’t wrinkle much when it is washed which is a huge bonus for parents with young children. I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the collar and used some left-over fabric from another make. I think it works very well and probably makes the shirt better looking than if it had just been the main fabric. It does seem to become a bit of a theme though, not having enough fabric for what I want to make. I’m not entirely sure what that says about my project planning and fabric buying skills…

openI didn’t have suitable buttons in my stash and used snaps. This is possibly also a safer option in clothes for young children but I found it a bit challenging and time consuming to get them all spaced equally. Don’t do this bit when you’re in a hurry. They look really good though. I placed the top snap a bit lower than they did in the line drawing because I don’t think baby’s like having a collar really tight aroung their neck.

I didn’t follow the Knippie assembly instructions. According to them topstitching of the collar is optional. Optional??? Not in my book. I used French seams for the side seams and the yoke trick (also called burrito method) for the shoulder seams. This encloses all seam allowances which looks really great in my opinion. The seam allowances of the sleeves were overlocked and then topstitched in place.

140910_inside detailThere are two things that I am not completely happy about. I accidently cut the back yoke piece upside down (getting creative with limited amounts of fabric does have its risks…). Luckily little kids mostly lie on their backs right? I also should have used a lighter thread for attaching the collar because on the inside you can now see the stitching line. Other than that I think it turned out very well and I will probably use this pattern again.

 

Completed: yet another Lady Skater t-shirt…

front colour blocked t-shirtI needed some simple projects to get going again and decided to fill a gap in my wardrobe: long sleeved t-shirts. Useful when it gets a little bit colder and a short sleeved t-shirt doesn’t provide enough coverage anymore but a cardigan or sweater is still too warm.

140907_sideIf you have been following this blog for a while you may have noticed that I usually use solid colours when sewing for myself and that I am not averse to some colour blocking. To make this t-shirt I used the same pattern as before but adapted it to give the top of the t-shirt a different colour. I even remembered to take some progress pictures so I could show you how I changed the pattern to achieve this look. This is a very easy method to give your favourite t-shirt (or dress) a different appearance.

The first step is tracing your pattern because you don’t want to mess with the original, you might want to use it again some other time. Make sure to include all relevant pattern markings, I forgot to add the straight of grain line for the sleeve at first…

trace pattern

Fresh pattern pieces!

The second step is to decide where you want to cut and mark this position on all pattern pieces (front, back and sleeve). I made a mark ¾’’ below the armpit. You could cut a little bit higher than that, but I would advise you to take into account that you are introducing extra seam allowances inside the shirt and you don’t want all of those to meet exactly at the armpit because that will become very bulky which is a pain to sew and might also not be too comfortable when wearing. If you only want a small strip of the second colour at the top you can also cut above the armpit. Check that the marks you made on the front and back bodice match and that the marks you made on the sides of the sleeve match as well.

Mark a certain distance away from the armpit and check on front and back bodice (and sleeve) whether the marks match up.

Mark a certain distance away from the armpit and check on front and back bodice (and sleeve) whether the marks match up.

Draw a line across the pattern pieces through the mark and cut the pattern. Make sure that both sides of each pattern piece are labelled correctly.

mark and cut

My pencil marks aren’t very clear but I first drew the cut line with pencil.

The Lady Skater pattern has the seam allowance included in the pattern. However, where I cut the pattern, the seam allowance is not yet included. This means that I have to remember to add the appropriate seam allowance when I cut the pattern from fabric. I use a quilting ruler and rotary cutter to get a straight cut. You can also tape some extra tracing paper to the pattern and add the seam allowance to the pattern if you worry that you’ll forget.

Add seam allowance to side that was sliced.

Add seam allowance to side that was sliced.

I chose to first sew top and bottom of each pattern piece together before assembling the t-shirt. You could topstitch the seams but I didn’t. For another look you could also only do this modification to the bodice to get a differently coloured yoke and leave the sleeves as they are.

pieces assembled

And it case you are wondering, yes, there will be jeans at some point, just not this week, I have too much other stuff going on…

140907_back