Black Sheep PJ’s for Mum’s Day

My beautiful mum loves sheep, and she has always said she is the black sheep of her family… and while our family was considerably smaller, I grew up feeling the same way. My mum taught me it was ok to be different, and sometimes even a good thing; as long as your values are solid, which because of her, they are :)

So for Mother’s Day this year I was inspired by this fabric from Blackbird – it’s a Japanese cotton with little sheeps all over it – I thought, what if I made her some pj pants, and coloured in just one little sheep to represent her black sheep persona? :)

And what if, I made myself a matching pair so we could be black sheep together as mum and daughter?

So with this idea germinated I went forth and did just that :)

(pic of me in mine… no pic of mummy in hers, but she was pleased with them nonetheless)

sheeps

Closeup of the two black sheeps:

black sheep

I did some test sheep first, to decide what medium to use to colour them in, and did a wash test to determine which would wash the best. I chose to use acrylic because it gave a kind of wooly look once it had been washed:

washed-sheep

And just because it’s been a trend lately, I’ll include another pic of Lola:

lola-in-a-box


It’s Elementary, My Dear

So no big deal, I just sewed a bra & stuff ;)

  

Yes, this is the oh-so famous Watson by Amy of Cloth Habit :)

Because of my love of corsetry, I have been tempted to try sewing lingerie for awhile but nothing has motivated me enough to actually DO it (I hate sewing knits lol) until I saw this pattern. They just don’t make soft cup bras for large cup sizes, so I was really intrigued to see how the fit & support worked; at least for lounge purposes.

According to pattern I’m a 36F, but there were no pattern pieces for that so since my RTW size is 36DD I cut a 36E.

It is still a little big: there are some vertical drag lines at the top of the cup (which you can see more on me than on Patience); a little gaping under the arm & the top of the cup sits a little too high: all indications I need to go down a size, according to the sewalong – so next time I’ll try a 36D.

Construction was pretty straightforward: the instructions are thorough, illustrations were spot on, and really clear & helpful. However (as a noob) I was still a bit confused on the strap construction. My straps ended up too long, for one thing: there is a guideline for length at the beginning but no provision for adjusting later if you’re like me & do something wrong lol: I inserted it through the slider wrong like a dope, so I just went back & fixed it after I smartened up ;)

Also, the outside gives a nice finish with the topstitching but there is no accommodation for inside seam finishing in the pattern so my insides look a bit messy; no biggie but I might serge my edges before construction next time.

As a side note, I later discovered quite a bit of extra info was all covered in excellent detail on the sewalong including fit adjustments & more details on construction. Very helpful & answered some of my lingering questions after I’d finished :)

I did find when attaching the cups to the cradle that I had 1 cm extra on the cups at the side seams; I ripped out & inserted the first cup twice, ensured the center notches were matched, and I still had this on both sides so not sure if the pattern has an error? I trimmed them off flush with the band & it worked fine :)

The nitty gritty: it’s comfortable – much more so than an underwire bra lol. Support for large cup size is not bad! – definitely less than what an underwire bra gives, but more than braless lol; it gives a more natural silhouette – kind of “support lite” – definitely nice for lounging & looks seamless under tshirts.

The back sits quite low and the front is a nice deep V, which i quite like; would be great option for a lower cut dress in front or back; something I’ve never even considered as a larger cup size since the only other option is braless and that’s not an option at all lol.

One last thing: my supplies ;) I want to shout out to Caroline from Blackbird Fabrics – I purchased one of her kits to make this one & not only was it lovely & of great quality, she is just a peach to deal with :) I love being able to support a local company and my credit card hasn’t cooled off since my first purchase there lol ;)

In conclusion: my first foray into bra making was pretty successful! I learned a lot and am looking forward to perfecting my fit (I’ve started critiquing my RTW bra fit now too lol) :) I also really loved that it was so space friendly: tiny pieces mean less fabric consumption too, and there was still enough room for Lola to share my sewing table ^_^ 

  


Named Alexandria Pants (and shorts!)

Further to my adventures with skinny jeans, I decided it was time to explore the non-bootcut style trouser in a new way :) Enter Named’s Alexandria Trousers/Shorts – a pattern I fell in love with immediately and had to bump to the top of the queue.

The first version of these I made from a mystery fabric in my stash, what I thought was perhaps a linen. It frayed like the dickens and pressed well, so I was probably not far off LOL.

Alexandria-detail

(Here you can see the cool pleats that fold over the side pockets. Those are SO MUCH FUN to sew, and they give the garment movement and visual interest that I absolutely love.)

They turned out PERFECTLY except for some tightness in the calf (which I should have anticipated after the same thing with my Jamie jeans), alas, the first time I wore these, I knelt down to grab some shoes from the closet and RIIIIIPPPPPPP – out blew my right knee. (the pants knee, that is LOL).

I was pretty shocked, to say the least! We were on our way to do groceries so I figured, ok, I’ll wear them out for that, and then cut them into shorts when I get home, because it was probably the calf tightness that did it. But nope, shortly after I first sat down, RIIIIIPPPPPP – out blew the butt. Seriously LOL. THE BUTT. So serious, guys. I was super upset at the time, because I put a lot of work into finishing all the seams neatly, and pressing the pleats perfectly, but even though it’s a shame, it’s pretty funny now thinking about that fabric just blowing up on me LOL ^_^

So I took the opportunity to add some width to the lower part of the flat pattern, from the knee down; about 1.25″ tapering to 0 at the knee. And then I made the most comfortable, stylish black pants anyone has ever made, ever. Ok maybe not anyone, maybe just me :P

Alexandria-black_pants

These are made from a lovely black rayon which is wonderful to wear, but was a pain to cut and sew. I admit, I was still traumatized over the amazing exploding pants, so I didn’t take as much care as I should have, and I partly botched the waistband, in true Amanda style, and wound up with a narrower waistband than called for, so I omitted the waistband ties, which is fine – I’ve been wearing them as a dressy-casual pant like in the above photo, or with socks and heels when it’s raining, which is always these days ^_^

I also made the shorts version, in a blush pink rayon, which I haven’t had the opportunity to wear yet, as our weather has been pretty unpredictable, and not quite shorts-time. Also hence the grainy indoor pics – I continue to lament my lack of a decent photography spot…. it’s really appalling.

Lola wants them because they match her nose ^_^
Lola wants them because they match her nose ^_^

Will I make these again? Damn straight – probably the next time I spy a fun print in a lovely drapey fabric – and since I wear the black ones all the time (ALL the time) I’m guessing I’ll probably have to make another pair of those too ^_^ :D


Papercut Bellatrix Blazer

So I made a blazer :)

 

Inspired once again by Anne’s numerous makes, I was turned on to the clean lines and versatility of this pattern.

Although I really like the short version, I settled on the longer version first, as the fabric I used was more dressy and i wanted it to be wearable for both office attire and with jeans.

 

I swear it’s pressed, but the fabric has a soft drape and texture, making it appear creased, which along with a burn test, makes me think it’s linen or a linen blend.

I’m showing it pictured here on Patience, as it’s easier to get a feel for the style lines and texture of the fabric when it’s sunny, and it was, fortunately, when I finished it and took these shots – but hasn’t been lately ;) 

I found it interesting that the pattern calls for most of the body to be interfaced, but I wanted to keep the softness of the fabric so I used a weft interfacing in a little lighter weight than my fabric. It was the first time for me using this type, and with all the steam required to press & shape these seams I feel like I probably should have pre-shrunk it because it shrank during application so I steamed the crap out of it before sewing so it wouldn’t cause me too much heartache later on. It still did, but not too badly :)

I also added a self drafted sleeve head for a little extra support.

The lining is a superb quality Bemberg rayon which is just a delight to touch and wear but as always, I despise sewing lining because Bemberg is notorious for misbehaving lol.

As for fit, I did two FBA’s; one and then another adjustment again after my first muslin. I adjusted the waist just the once but should have tweaked that as well the second time; that said, it fits with a hook & eye at the waist rather than a buttonhole so that’s fine. I also lengthened the sleeve 3″. These are all standard adjustments for me so pretty much normal :)

I would like to make this again, in the shorter version but I plan faster than I sew so may not happen anytime soon, as I have a massive queue, including wedding sewing lol :)

In other news, Me Made May is fast approaching and I’m taking the pledge for the first time! :) I know I have really limited choices in lounge wear so I suspect that will be my biggest challenge but challenge is the whole point! I’m nervous but excited to see what I learn :) Anyone else joining in? :) 


Wadders

I was planning on posting a previously finished project this week but instead I decided to talk about a more recent failure – a stinky old wadder.

It happens – you spend hours on something that just doesn’t work out in the end… and regardless of how you try and reassure yourself that it was good experience or whatever, it still sucks, and for me, saps my motivation for a time.

In this case the problem was that I sewed too many times while hungry & tired and thus, dumb mistakes were made over & over, resulting in frayed and destroyed seam edges too far beyond the hope of salvation.

Finally, in disgust, I threw the whole damn thing away.

Yes, I will make this pattern again out of a different fabric, but there wasn’t enough left to salvage of this one, and I’m still slightly pissy over the hours & fabric wasted.

So I’m taking a sulky break from sewing for a little bit – but hopefully I can get my mojo back soon, and if not, I have that finished project waiting to be blogged still, so at least that’s something :)


Pants!!

… or trousers, depending on who you are ;)

So far this year my making has primarily consisted of something I’ve previously more or less untried in: pants! :) I am LOVING making pants!!! I’m really behind in my blogging so I’m catching up today by showing you three pairs, which I made between November of last year, and February of this year.

Pants are what I wear most often to work (and play) 3 seasons of the year and one of the things I despise shopping for most, because it’s super hard for me to find a good fit in a style I like, in fabric that’s quality, or even partially natural fibers. I end up spending WAY too much money on one semi-decent fitting pair that I subsequently wear to absolute shreds, and this is where I’ve been stuck for some time.

SO! Sewing & fitting skills to work!

The one futile attempt I made  previously (a couple years ago) met with sad failure due to my lack of experience and understanding, but this time, I was determined to make a decent fitting pair of trousers.

I decided on a Burda pattern based on Anne’s glowing reviews and numerous wonderful pairs, and with some tweaking and fiddling (and a LOT of head scratching at those instructions!) I managed to eke out a couple muslins, the last of which produced a fit I was really happy with.

I then took that tweaked pattern and some trouser weight wool I had in my stash and went to work. End result? Slightly askew waistband & messy welts aside, I have a pair of black wool dress trousers I absolutely love – the fit is awesome and I am truly proud of my fly insertion :) As my mum (wisely) said, if the fit is good, the rest will come in time :) (practice DOES make perfect after all!)

black-trousersblack-trousers-back2
So I was hooked!! Next came my Holly jumpsuit. Armed with my new knowledge, I had little trouble fitting this one, and was pleased with the outcome. So much so I decided to make a pair of trousers from the pattern. However, I prefer my trousers to sit lower on my waist/hip so I slashed off 4.5″ from the top of each pants piece, then drafted a 1.5″ 2-piece waistband based on the top part (folding out the darts and adding seam allowance, and an overlap of course)

grey-trousersgrey-trousers-back
I did not use instructions for this one as most of it was invented by me anyway – instead I constructed them how it made sense to me, and when it came to the zipper I used a regular zip with a lapped installation, placing the lap from front to back as I thought it would be more flattering. Waistband and zipper turned out great, and the dropped waist was exactly what I was aiming for! Second win!! :)

I was getting pretty excited by this point – I mean never in my life have I had pants that fit this well – and in lovely wool no less – I was in heaven!

So it was time to test my mettle on a new animal – the skinny jean.

Friends, I’ll be honest – I am a boot cut gal through & through but I’ve been informed that’s not “cool” anymore lol (not that that’ll stop me) but if I was gonna go there, there was NO WAY I was going to attempt squeezing into a pair of skinny jeans in a public changing room; the only way it was happening was on MY terms!

Enter the Named Jamie jeans!! (already blogged here but forgot to add some construction/process details so I’ll g on a little more LOL) What a fun project! I was tempted by all the fun jeans threads but since my chosen denim was a soft, sleek black, I opted for a charcoal topstitching thread instead, for a subtler look. Also the only 4″ zipper had an ugly pull so I bought the next size up & resolved to find a way to shorten it. (yes, I’m particular lol)

I executed the exact same flat pattern adjustments I made on the previous 2 pairs, and made a quick muslin of the top part from a test stretch fabric before proceeding.

Putting both my machines to work made the construction process a cinch – the body of the jeans were done in one afternoon, as I used one machine for construction and the other for topstitching.

A quick try-on prior to fly installation revealed that the legs of these were VERY tight – luckily my denim was pretty forgiving – should have realized I would need to adjust for my massive muscular calves haha. Will definitely adjust next time lol and as Mrs M has pointed out, I may also need a thigh adjustment as well :)

Cons: Slightly wonky waistband – totally my fault (seriously, what is my problem with waistbands, anyway?) and an evil buttonhole; my machine was NOT cooperating with the buttonhole on the stretch fabric!
Pros: I made JEANS!!! Of the skinny variety! And they fit, are comfy and I love them!!

Next up on the roster was a pattern I’ve been itching to try out for some time: Vogue 1051. I love all the details of this pattern: the lower rise and wide waistband, the welt seam pocket in front and the welt with button closure in back. After making the (now) usual pattern adjustments I squawked out a quick shorts muslin & bravely (arrogantly?) proceeded to move on to the real deal. I say bravely because for these I had a special piece of fabric in mind: a lovely red Italian wool gifted to me by Andrea of Stitch Parade for the Christmas swap a couple (few?) years ago. I’ve been saving it until my skills were a bit better and I’m glad I did; I love these trousers, and I even eked out just enough for a bonus skirt!! (coming soon! LOL)

red-trousersred-trousers-back
The construction was a bit more challenging than my previous pairs but I think I am getting better each time :) I did have to unpick a couple times on the back pockets because I did a few upside down things lol, and ONCE AGAIN the waistband was a problem but not as bad as the black ones & I think I figured out why :)

And yet more trousers in the works but before that, a few more finished objects yet unblogged and coming soon, a HUGE project I’m finishing up now; my DREAM JACKET (or one of them… I love jackets!) and then (jumping on the most recent bandwagon) LINGERIE!


Named Jamie Jeans!!

Ok so let me start off by saying that there are two revelations in this post:

  1. I made jeans
  2. I am wearing skinny jeans for the FIRST TIME

I have been a boot cut girl for as long as I can remember and always thought that skinny jeans would give me the dreaded ice cream cone figure LOL. To my surprise, not only do they flatter the figure, but I love the way these feel AND look!!

(sorry for the poor photo quality; it was raining and I had a tough time getting full cooperation from my photographer LOL)

JamieJeans-1

Named Jamie Jeans – front view

 

JamieJeans-back

Named Jamie Jeans – back view

The pattern is awesome; especially being a first jeans attempt for me it was a great way to ease into the craft. I found the instructions very good, and the pdf pattern was easy to work with. I actually love that Named uses as little pages as possible. There is a bit of overlapping on some pattern pieces but the up side is you don’t have to match and tape as many pages, which means better accuracy overall.

JamieJeans-frontpocket_fly

slanted front pockets, center front topstitching and jeans button and fly

I absolutely love the slanted front pockets. You can use a contrast fabric for a different detail but I wanted these to be a bit more dressy/subtle so I could wear them with a blouse or jacket to the office.

There is a lot of topstitching involved which I LOVE. I’m a weirdo – I adore topstitching and I do it all by eye, as I don’t have any special feet. I have a second machine so I loaded her up with the topstitching thread and was able to swap back and forth construction and topstitching without switching threads every five minutes. Bonus :)

JamieJeans-backpocket

check out that yoke topstitching matching awesomeness – yeah!!

My fabric is a wonderful stretchy dark black cotton denim. It is a bit more dressy than a traditional blue jean, washes and wears beautifully, and was a dream to sew :)

Closeup front and back just for fun:

JamieJeans-flyJamieJeans-butt

I will DEFINITELY be making these again!!! I think I will give myself a bit more room in the calf area on the next version, as I have pretty beefy calf muscles LOL. I have a wonderful brocade that I think would look smashing in this style, for a bit of a dressy casual look :)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 125 other followers