Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Top 5 of 2014 - the misses.

Following on from my Top 5 Hits of 2014, here are the misses:

1.  Knitting (in general) - The only item I completed was a cardigan for my little niece.  I am so near completing the Sprig sweater, the body and sleeves are finished and one cuff, whenever I went back to the other I couldn't get my head round it at all.  It's probably really simple but I just had to leave it for a while.  I also have a sore shoulder and elbow which doesn't help.  So a disappointing year for knitting, still haven't got even attempting socks.

2.  Bluegingerdoll Peggy skirt  - Took ages to make as some of the pattern markings were missing, so that may have put me off.  It hasn't been worn hardly at all, I think the length and shape aren't right for me, I might try taking it up to see if I will wear it more.

3.  Merchant & Mills Camber dress - Haven't worn this dress very much, I think mainly because of the fabric.  It has a wool content which is quite itchy and also the check fabric has a lime background (not obvious on internet shop photos, as sometimes happens when buying fabric on line.)  I have made the top version of the pattern twice and wore them a lot, so definitely not the pattern itself.  Will maybe try it in the summer in a nice linen or chambray.

These are my misses, only 3, didn't want to add things just for the sake of it.  Next time I will be looking at my highlights, reflections and goals.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Sewing and knitting review of 2014 and Top 5 Hits of 2014

Time to start relaxing after the Christmas flurry.  Every year we say we are going to keep it simple, buy in less food, spend less and so on and over the past few years I have improved a lot with that, but there is still a certain degree of stress and anxiety.  So it is lovely in these days between Christmas and New Year  to rest, relax, take stock and, of course, start planning again

I saw a link to Gillian's Top 5 of 2014 on the scruffybadger blog so I thought it might be as good a way as any to evaluate my year.

Sewing wise it was my intention to slow things down a bit and that did happen and the things I did make, I put more effort into improving the fit, finishing items off nicely and generally taking more time over them.

I still made a total of 29 garments:

Quick Summary

For husband: Colette Albion coat

                      Kwik Sew Shirt 3250

For myself:  3 skirts
                    9 jersey tops
                    6 woven top
                    3 jersey dresses
                    4 woven dresses
                    1 coat
                    1 jersey trousers


I have based my decisions mainly on how much I wore the items (apart from one) as to me that must mean that I like the fit, the fabric is right and it fits into my everyday life perfectly.

So here they are:

1.  Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke Skirt

Yasmin Yoke skirt

I had wanted a good 'basic' skirt pattern, slightly A-line with pockets and this turned out to be it.  A great pattern and proved itself by me regularly wearing it right from March until now.  Probably also helped by the fact that it is made in a lovely denim fabric, so a great neutral.

2.  Tilly & the Buttons Coco

Well this pattern had to appear as, to date, I have made 5 versions I think.  I love the shape of it, all versions of it are great and can be made in so many different ways with different fabrics, yokes etc.  I also used in my OWOP post.  All versions have been worn loads of times, so to me that makes it a great pattern.

Coco top

Coco dress

3. Liesl & Co Cappuccino dress/top

I was so pleased that this pattern worked for me.  It had sort of replaced/updated the Lisette Portfolio pattern (which I love) but with a slightly different neckline.  It also had instructions for a full bust adjustment which I used with great success.  I have only made the top but have worn it a lot.  Had intended to make a dress version but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Liesl & Co Cappuccino top

4.  Colette Pattern Albion

Well... it's a coat and I did make two of them, so it had to appear here.  I'll be honest, my own version could do with more tweaking, size wise, it's not perfect.  It's really too big in the shoulder region and maybe overall a bit big, therefore probably not that flattering.  However, it is a great pattern and a very warm, cosy coat.  My husband loves his too.

Colette Albion Coat

5.  Victory Patterns Hazel dress

Now this dress hasn't had a lot of day-to-day wear, but as I made it in silky fabric for more special occasions and I loved it for that (think I wore it to 4 'do's') I think it still deserves to be in my Top 5.  It was a bit different for me which is always good, easy to sew and I had intended to make it in a denim or suiting fabric for more everyday type wear and with sleeves - still have to do that.  In general, I have had great wear from the Victory garments I have sewn - The sizing seems to suit my shape.

Victory Hazel dress
So this was the nice, easy bit - I think it will be harder to pick the misses.  I suppose looking back through the years photos will help and also if I haven't worn something very much.  Will have to go away and think about that.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Love at First Stitch Delphine skirt.

I have been meaning to make the Delphine skirt for ages, having bought Tilly's book when it was first released.  I don't wear skirts all that often, but its good to have a couple of faithfuls to fall back on.  I wanted a warm winter weight skirt to fit into my wardrobe, most of the wool fabrics I might have fancied were rather pricey, so I settled for a this wool and viscose fabric fabric from dittofabrics.

Delphine skirt with velour Grainline Scout tee.

The fabric on the website is called burgundy, but in my book it's more of a fuchsia colour. (really nice)  It's quite thick, a bit like a boiled wool and could be used in the same way, as in the edges don't fray, so you could just leave the raw edges.  It's easy to cut and work with and would be great for jackets and cosy dresses too.

The Delphine skirt is a simple A-line skirt with facing and an invisible zip on the back.  Love at First Stitch is a great book and would be ideal for anyone starting to sew for themselves, as there are different techniques to try with every projects.  The photographs are excellent and the instructions are brilliant, it has been extremely well thought out and planned, sort of like a 'let me take you by the hand' approach, which is great.

As my fabric is 50% wool/50% viscose I thought there might be an itch factor, so I decided to line it.  As I have never added a lining to a skirt, it was great that Tilly had a post on how to sew a skirt lining. It made it a very simple process.

As the main fabric is quite thick I decided not to hem it in the normal way, instead I made some Liberty bias binding (same as the facing fabric, Tresco left from my Josephine blouse) and used it to bind the hem.  The lining is a little bit shorter because there was no length taken off the main skirt, but it's not a big deal.  The lining fabric is pretty cheap standard lining fabric bought locally (£2.50).  The length is perfect on me (I am 5' 5"), I think if I had hemmed it, it might have been a bit short for me.

So a great pattern and a cosy skirt, which I think I could get a lot of wear out of.

Not long to Christmas now, so nearly time to review the year, decide on hits and misses and, of course, there has to be a plan made for next year. Better get cracking on that!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Albion finished just in time for the winter.

So, I finished my Albion duffle coat a little while ago, but only got a chance to photograph now.  Is it just me or does November light not lend itself very well to either sewing or photographing.  I really struggled this last month with lack of light and somehow artificial light doesn't quite work either.

Anyway, my coat is finished and I am pretty pleased with it.  Just to recap from my last couple of posts, my fabric was a teal coloured wool fabric which I bought from Clothspot in early Autumn (appears to be sold out now).  I suppose I rushed into my purchase, should have really got a sample first and so when it arrived I felt it was really a bit lightweight.  But as I had bought quite a bit of it I wanted to use it anyway.

I chose to make the medium size of the pattern and did not make a toile, and as the style is oversized anyway I feel it is a bit on the big size, especially in the shoulder area, but I think I can get away with it.

I really like my lining fabric which is a soft, fleecy double gauze in grey/teal polka dot which I got from MissMatatabi on Etsy ages ago (with a view to making a dress).  As I mentioned in my previous post, I didn't think it was going to be quite warm enough so I have sewed interlining fabric between the outer fabric and lining.  This was obviously a bit more work and expense, but worth it.  I have been wearing the coat the last few days and it is very cosy.

If you are thinking of making your own winter coat,  my advice would be to spend the most you can afford (especially if you want protection from the elements & some longevity) and get some samples as it's really the only way to judge the weight of the fabric for sure.  I think my fabric was £6.95/metre, it is wool, but light weight, I would say to up the budget more, but for the price I paid it's actually ok. Of course, with wool the sky is the limit, you can pay up to £40/meter or more (eg Harris Tweed or merino suiting)

As regards the pattern,  as I may have said before (having made one for my husband back in January), there is nothing too difficult about it, the instructions are great, there are just a lot of small steps.  As it is a duffle coat there is no real shaping or fitting, so it is ideal for a beginner/intermediate sewer.  Due to busyness, mine took an inordinately long time to complete, but I made my husbands in a couple of weeks back in January (and I would still say I'm a beginner)

I got the toggles on Etsy and deliberated over whether to machine stitch or hand stitch.  After much deliberation, I hand stitched them zzz! boy was that tedious, but I was afraid that if I used a needle for leather that it would tear my fabric, so there you go.

I intend sewing press fasteners down the facing at the front as the coat tends to part slightly with the toggle closure, so probably fasteners will keep it more secure.  Also I love the pockets, the in-seam pockets are lovely and deep and cosy and, of course, there are also the front pockets.

Cost wise I haven't worked it out exactly, but I reckon it's around £70, yes perhaps I could have bought a coat ready to wear at that price, but it would be more synthetic, so for the money I think I have a pretty good coat.

Anyway overall I am pleased and also glad to finally finish it and judging by the weather forecast it may come in useful. Maybe I can get on to some faster, 'lighter' projects now.  I have, of course,  a list of desirables so where to start?

(A few more details are on my previous posts)