Nautical Shirt Dress – Progress

Hello!  Sorry for the radio silence, this week has again been kinda nuts.  Several long days at the County Show, book keeping for Mr, vehicle crisis’ (or whatever the plural of crisis is – flippin’ Land Rover!) and general life has kept me from this here blog.  Fortunately for my sanity it hasn’t kept me from my sewing machine!

I don’t know if you’re aware of Sunni’s two in one sew along she’s hosting over at A Fashionable Stitch?  I’m taking part but decided to mess with the pattern to make my ideal shirt dress.

Simplicity 1880
Simplicity 2246

I’ve taken the suggested pattern Simplicity 1880 and mashed it with Simplicity 2246 – the Lisette Traveller dress.

I knew I wanted a shirt dress as soon as I saw Scruffy Badger’s red elephants version, which is a slightly tweaked 2246.  It’s such a great shape and could be a great wardrobe staple.  But, the Lisette dress isn’t my perfect shirt dress.  I wanted a faux shirt waist – one where the buttons don’t go all the way to the hem.  A lot like the 1880.  But that wasn’t perfect either!

Here’s a sketch of what I wanted:

My ‘Perfect’ Shirt Dress

A fitted bodice with bust and waist darts. A notched collar, with a skirt that’s fitted at the waist line and not gathered.  Originally I was going to use the sleeves from Mary’s Dress but when I muslined the ones from 1880 I really liked them.

So, I’ve taken the bodice from 2246, added the collar extension from 1880 and also the sleeves.  I’ve also used the 1880 skirt as it’s not gathered and there’s no buttons.  I guess it’s about a 50/50 split of elements from the two patterns.

What with combining the patterns, the FBA and muslin to make sure it all fit and then re-angling and re-positioning the darts, I started construction last weekend.  It’s not going to be the fastest thing I’ve ever made as I haven’t sewn that much recently and I’m just taking it easy.  I am really pleased with how it’s going though.

Dusky navy broderie anglaise underlined with red acetate lining.  Yum!  Dibs is currently doing something similar (although she hasn’t told us what yet) with black broderie anglaise and yellow!

Skirt hanging to let the bias settle

So far the skirt is done, the bodice darts are all sewn and the front and back are attached at the shoulders.  I’ve also sewn the pleats in the sleeves.  I’m using french seams in the main, although the neckline and left seam will be finished with purple bias binding or tonal seam tape.

Tonal or Purple?

I’d originally intended it to be self made bias from the lining fabric but I only just had enough to get all the pieces out and had to piece the underlining of the collar pieces…  I’m erring towards the seam binding though at the moment!

I hope I’ll get this done by the weekend, but we’ll have to see how it goes I guess!  I’ll do the collar the tailoring way, buy sandwiching it between the bodice and facings (which I think is the same method Sunni has planned) and I’ll also go for a lapped zipper – probably following Casey’s tutorial from her Swing Dress Sew Along.

What are you all up to?

You’ve Got The Moon On Your Pyjamas, And The Stars In Your Eyes…

I have to thank Mr Paul Weller for the post title as it’s the first two lines of the chorus to “Moon On Your Pyjamas” and it just seemed perfect to me for the Pyjama Party!

I used McCalls 5248 as the pattern for my PJ trousers.  The pattern has a front and back pattern piece, so an in and out seam, which differs a little from Karen’s pattern.  I also altered the pattern from a drawstring to an elasticated waist, and my technique was the same as the method Karen used.

The first pair (made from a thrifted bed sheet and there is tons of fabric left over…) were a bit too wide in the leg.  I also experimented with making cropped trousers with them too.  Initially they were too short so I added some big cuffs to the bottom to add a bit more length.  They’re comfy, but weird to sleep in as they bunch up round my knees.  I’m gonna keep them though as they’re perfect for warmer evenings when I’m just lounging round the house and (if it ever stops raining and warms up a bit) the garden.

So I altered the pattern by trimming an inch off both the front and back piece of the outer seam to narrow the leg and made two more full length trousers.  These were mainly constructed on my serger, using four threads.  So there’s the second line of stitching reinforcing the seam.  It was one of those ‘Why didn’t I think of that?!’ moments when I read Karen’s post on using a serger to make them.

Anyway, these two were made construction line style, repeating the same process for each of them in turn.  I’d already decided to add a tag so that I could work out which way round they went (mkI pair was marked, post construction, with some sharpie).  But the hanging loop that was suggested was added in too – I used some silver grey rayon seam binding for my loops.

My summer PJs are made from a white cotton lawn printed with pink roses.  It’s much more ditzy than I’d normally go for.  It’s been in my stash since I started sewing and was a cheap eBay win.  I have no idea to its providence and there’s no mark on the selvedge.  The trousers are light as air though and will be lovely if we ever have warm evenings.

To go with them I made the cami length Cinnamon slip from Colette patterns.  All I can say is that this slip is incredibly flattering (and hubby likes it…) and was an absolute cinch to put together, despite being cut on the bias.  I cut a 16 in the body and the cups are an 18.  The only adjustment I’ll make next time is to increase the cup size a bit more as I have a ridiculous size G chest and a little more room would be good!

Then of course there are the flaming plaid trousers.  These need to have an old band tour t-shirt to go with them I think!  But I don’t have one so it’ll be a red or orange vest top.  There is some limited plaid matching going on across the PJs, but there is no matching at all from the front to the back.  And heck, they’re PJs so I’m not going to stress about it.

These are the opposite of my dainty PJs.  They’ve got some weight to them and are really thick and snuggly.  They’ve been worn a lot with a pair of walking socks and a hoodie since they’ve been finished as they’re soooo toasty.  Perfect for curling up and watching a film with mug of hot chocolate, or glass of Vin Chaud. Mmmmmm.

And here’s my bedside table!  As you can see my reading is, well, sewing centric…  Does anyone else find that stuff sticks in their head better if they’ve read it just before going to sleep?

We’ve got Adele Margolis’ book “How To Make Clothes That Fit and Flatter”, the Colette Sewing Handbook, My iPad, “High Fashion Sewing Secrets” by Claire Shaeffer and “Sewing with Sergers.  I haven’t read any fiction for a while.  The last fiction book I read was The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Actually, I lie a little!  It was really The Gruffalo to Boy for his bedtime story last night.  Can any other parents recite that off by heart too?

I have to admit that making these PJs has got my sewing MoJo back.  I was feeling a bit meh and unmotivated but these quick, easy and satisfying makes have got me back to a happy place.  There are now three, yes three, dresses in the pipeline.  An aqua linen blend Pastille, Harry’s Christening dress and a dress for a “25th wedding anniversary + 50th and 55th Birthday party”!  Oh, and Sewaholic’s new dress pattern would be perfect for work…

And, finally, one of the songs I learnt as a Guide and then passed on to my Guides and then Scouts when I was a young leader:

I wear my pink pajamas, in the summer when it’s hot. 
I wear my flannel nighties In the winter when it’s not. 
And sometimes in the springtime and sometimes in the fall, 
I jump right in between the sheets with nothing on at all

Why, Hello!

How are you?  Where have I been?  Well…  no where exciting, actually.  Just a bit tired and then we went camping over the Easter weekend.  I’ve now caught up with the laundry and the housework and fancy a bit of sewing.

Karen of Did You Make That has come up with a wonderful sew along.  Pyjamas!

This is a genius idea and brilliant timing for a number of reasons:
All my PJs have died and I didn’t replace them as I’m normally a nudey-rudey sleeper (sorry if that’s a bit too much information!) or a t-shirt and knickers if it’s a bit cold.
After camping I desperately need some as tracky-b’s are not comfy to sleep in and trying to get dressed when half asleep is not fun.
Tracky-b’s are also too long and get wet from the grass
PJs are the most comfortable piece of clothing known to man!

So, why didn’t I replace the ones that died?  Erm, because I live in a centrally heated house and haven’t been camping since their demise.  If I’m just mooching around at home I have a really comfy pair of jersey maternity trousers that I wear, or my tracky-b’s.  Both have been seen on this blog and neither are particularly flattering!

So, I now have a pattern for my PJs:

I’m using McCall’s 5248.  Basically because it was a useable ‘set’ and didn’t include a dog jumper or remote control holder or anything else weird.  Plus it was on sale at my local fabric store so only cost me £4.89, which would be about the same as getting it online after the postage has been added.  I discovered that I’m too stingy to pay a lot for a basic pattern such as this and currently too lazy to draft one of my own, I’m ashamed to say.

Anyhoo, I could feasibly make the robe part of this pattern in the future.  The cami may be made sooner if I go the matchy-matchy route.

Fabric wise, I’m using this fabric that I’ve nicknamed ‘flaming plaid’ just because of the colours.  It was on sale at £1.95m when I bought the pattern and I’ve got 3m of it.  I’m hoping to get two pairs of trousers from it, or a pair of trousers and a cami.

The other fabric I intend to use is this vintage cotton sheet I bought last year I think.  As it’s a double there’s enough for several pairs of trousers and tops, or a full set of robe, trousers and cami…  I love the colour of the turquoise blue flowers.

Finally I have the rose print cotton lawn type fabric which would be very light and floaty, feminine jammies.  I have a Sorbetto that I made with this top that I sleep in as it came up a little short which is very comfy.

So, my recipe for my JimmaJamma’s is:

3/4 length trousers to keep them out of the wet
Elasticated waist to hit around belly button height

There’s not a lot more I can say about them really!  I may make the cami, or pleat-less sorbetto’s or even sleeve less v-neck Renfrew’s for the top half.  Or maybe my old, ratty t-shirt will stay.  I might add ribbon to give the illusion of the trousers having a tie, or maybe some lace at the hem, or some cuffs in a self or contrasting fabric.  With such a simple canvas, there are so many possibilities!  It’s going to be fun…

There’s a lot of Layers in them there Shoulder Seams!

As the Minoru sew along is proceeding at quite a sedate pace I made a start on my wearable muslin of the Colette Jasmine pattern.  And I have to say I’m pleased as punch so far!

Colette Jasmine Neck Line

First up, I had a bit of a crisis when I sewed the side seams.  Basically I couldn’t see how it would ever fit, but sew them with the full 5/8″ allowance I did and (drum roll here) it fits!  A size 14 Colette pattern actually fits me (after a FBA to accommodate the girls)!  You have no idea (well, probably a bit from the over use of exclamation marks…) how happy this makes me.

So far, I’ve attached the collar (turning that the right way out is a right royal pain in the  butt) and the facing.  The inside is an unbelievable mess as I haven’t finished any of the seams.  I did overlock the edge of the facing though?!  No idea why when I haven’t finished any other raw edge…

But there are some serious layers in the shoulder seams.  You’ve got the fabric and seam allowance from the bodice (2 layers), the same times two for the collar (4 layers), and the fabric and seam allowance for the facing (2 layers).  That’s 8 layers at the shoulders!  6 at centre front and back.  I have to admit that getting the facing to stay put inside the top, even with the understitching and some heavy duty pressing is, erm, interesting.  The instructions do suggest hand stitching it to the seam allowances though which will help.  I may well have been hindered though by the fabric as whilst drapy it does have some body to it, due to the textured weave which may well exaggerate any minor issues with that aspect of the construction.

So all I need to do now is construct and insert the sleeves, an absolute first for me!  I’ll try and get some more photos once this step is done…

New Zip

As for the Minoru, I rejected the planned zip and bought another today in my lunch break that matches the one destined for the front.  But as it’s a separating one with quite chunky teeth I haven’t sewn over the ends of it, just edge stitched above and below it.  Which you can only tell if you’re about 4″ away from the collar!  I’ve also basted the completed hood to the collar as per today’s step.

They told me to pull and gather them...

I have scooted a little further along though and pinned the hooded collar to the top of the jacket and drawn up the gathering stitches…  What is it with gathering stitches that just make you want to draw them up?

Three rows

I did three rows of stitches, the seam line will be between the yellow and matching thread.  It makes the final gathers a lot more controllable.

I do love the gathering detail with this jacket though.  It’s starting to come together for me now.  I’m trying to be really good and not just keep going as I know that I’ll get a better result by staying with the sew along.

A Bit of Hood Action

Hood Detail: Topstitching and Lining

Today is the day of the hood!  Well, in Minoru-sew-along-view-A land it is, which is where I’ve happily been residing for the last hour.  I’ve also been trying to do some self portraits with said hood on my head and failing miserably!  How do you take a photo of yourself in the mirror?!  Mine just have a great big glare from the flash – natural daylight would help immensely I suspect.

But I digress.  Hood.  I’ve lined mine but used a slightly different method to the one Tasia mentioned in the sew along post.  I’ve constructed the outer hood as per the instructions up to the end of the topstitching.  I then created the lining of the hood by using the same pattern pieces but with 1/2″ removed from the front edge and omitting the top stitching.

I pressed back the front edge of the outer hood 1/2″ and then tucked the raw edge of the lining up against that fold.  I then folded the outer edge back another 1/2″ as per the instructions.  So on the front edge of my hood, if you were to cut it in cross section and looking from the outside in you’d see outer, lining, outer, lining, outer!  A bit like a pinwheel.

Can you see the pinwheel / layers?

I pressed like a woman possessed, pinned and then topstitched.  I then added a second row of topstitching as just one row looked a bit lonely!  I just need to baste the lining and outer hood bottom edges together now.

View from inside the hood: lining and a bit of outer fabric

The layers make quite a sturdy front edge, which I like as if it were to flap or flop about too much it would drive me nuts!  It’s still pliable enough though to fold/roll up and stuff into the eventual collar.  And the flannel is much softer around the ears than the cotton canvas would have been, but it’ll do nothing for the hair do – so maybe I’ll have to stash a hair brush in one of the pockets!

Grey Pastille – Decisions, Decisions…

For the first time ever, I actually ordered swatches of fabric before making an online order.  Normally I’ll just take a punt on it and it’ll probably do.  I do seem to have a change in mind set though whereby rather than just seeing each garment as a learning experience that will hopefully be wearable, I now see wearable as the main goal!

This is probably how most of you sew, but as I’ve been sewing for less than a year (garment wise, anyway) I never had particularly high expectations of the finished garment.  I think it was my Sencha that has changed all that – every time I wear it, I get complimented on it and asked where I got it from.  My current response is to mumble that I made it and then make myself scarce!!

The Pastille Dress from the Colette Sewing Handbook

But, back to the point!  I would love to have a dress that I can wear to work.  Makes the whole getting dressed in the morning thing a little less of a headache.  In my mind it just means putting on a dress, tights and as sensible or silly pair of shoes as my heart desires and then off out of the door!  Pastille is in my sights for that dress.  Demure enough for the office but with an interesting neckline and pleating detail at the bottom of the skirt.

So with that in mind I went interwebs shopping as I’d got it in my head that I wanted a dark grey fabric.  I couldn’t decide and as I mentioned, my expectation have increased a wee bit.  So I ordered three swatches from Ditto fabrics.

From the Top: Wool, Linen, Cotton

The top plaid is wool
The silvery grey is 100% linen
The dark grey is 100% cotton and is the same tone as school uniform grey

The one I love best is the plaid wool.  But I have never sewn with wool before, and have no idea how to care for it.  I’m guessing that machine washing it would be a bad idea?  Can someone please give me some advice?!  I recently did a swap with Annabelle and have some gorgeous wools to use but I’m a little bit scared.  Partly because of the care issue, partly because I love the fabrics SO much I don’t want to use them and not love the finished garment (please say I’m not the only person who feels like that about bits of fabric…)  Also, would I need to line it?  Which would mean drafting a lining…  Any tips or recommendations for tutorials on that one?  I have a rough idea but would like to research the heck out of it first to make sure I was happy that I knew what I was doing!

The linen is gorgeous and I can see myself ordering some for a Rooibos and using the teal plaid I thrifted the other week for the contrast collar and piping

The dark grey cotton has a bit of stretch to it, even though it’s 100% cotton.  I think it may be due to the weave?   That’s a complete guess on my part though.  And it’ll be the easiest to look after.  Plus I kind of like school uniform grey!

So, what do you think?  My heart says the plaid wool, but I definitely need to do some more research to make sure I can look after it properly and that it’s comfortable to wear…

This Might Be A Bit Much…

I’ve been trying to decide if throwing my name in the ring for this sew along is a good idea or not! You’ve probably seen it on Coletterie, if not Rhinestones and Telephones or Miss Crayola Creepy‘s blogs as they’re the instigators.

The name of the game is to sew one item from the CSHB a month and January is the Meringue skirt. I’ve got a lovely grey cotton twill which I think would work well for this skirt. And Pastille is such a cute (and would be my first) dress. And the ruffle on Truffle and the airiness of Taffy! The only one I’m not so sure of is Licorice but then I could always veto that one?

Either way, I’m going to see if I manage it, along with all the other items I want to sew! The Minoru starts Monday and I have plans for a starry Jasmine… But tonight I’m going to bed early as I’ve been up the last few nights with boy and I need to sleep!

Not Waterproof, But Shower Proof?

This is my water test on my NikWax’d and dried fabric.  And you can finally see an accurate representation of the colour!

I simply flicked a load of water on it and ignored it for five minutes- not hugely scientific!  Most of it has beaded on the fabric which is good, although a little has soaked in, but hasn’t spread.  Tasia did a post about assessing waterproofness (is that even a word?!) of fabric yesterday.

So, my jacket isn’t going to be waterproof, but isn’t going to be a sponge in a short shower either which is great!

I’ve also constructed my muslin and believe me when I say that Tasia has produced not only a pattern that looks pretty good in calico, but also sews up super fast!  I only used the pieces for the outer, but even then, including pining in elastic at the waist and making the cuffs and attaching them, it was sewn up in about 90 minutes!  It looks like the envelope illustrations too!

I do need to make a few changes though to perfect the fit:

The first is to shorten the torso length by about 2″.  I don’t know if my waist is high or I just have a short torso, but the elastic looks better 2″ higher than the placement marks!  So I’m going to take a tuck out above the elastic and see what that does rather than just moving the elastic placement.

The length as is though is just perfect for me, so I’ll be adding any length I take out back into the skirt part of the jacket.

I also need to take about 3″ of length out of the arms as even with the sleeves folded back at the cuff they’re a touch too long, so I’ll pin that out as well and see what I think.

Other than those pretty simple adjustments and the original FBA I think it’s pretty much there.  Once I’ve made the adjustments I’ll subject you all to the muslin to make sure that there isn’t anything I’ve missed…

Minoru Preparation, or What I Get Up To When I Have a Day to Myself!

Squee!  It’s a week on Monday until the sew along starts!  I am really looking forward to making this jacket, so today as I had a day all on my own to do what ever I wanted with  (which probably should have included some housework?!) I did some preparation.

I traced and FBA’d the pattern over the last few evenings, which meant lengthening the placket by 7/8″.  I used Lazy Stitching’s tutorial, which follows the same method as Fit for Real People.  Instead of adding the extra fullness to the gathers at the neckline, I’ve instead opted for a bust dart.  Flat pattern wise, that’s the only adjustment I made – apart from also doing the FBA on pattern piece 9 (lining) and lengthening the aforementioned placket piece (No 6).

So, I then thought I’d get on with pre-washing my lining and proofing my cotton canvas outer.

Nikwax-ing the Cotton Canvas

I’ve used Nikwax Cotton Proof and used 150ml.  As that’s for one item and for two you’d only need another 50ml.  I did the hand wash method and didn’t follow instruction 1: Use Gloves.  As a result of pushing the fabric into the hand-hot (well, a smudge warmer, but I could put my hands in it) I had a slightly waxy residue left on my skin.  No biggie as we have tubs of Swarfega (a hand de-greaser, used a lot in the motor trade) due to the Land Rover obsession of Husband by every sink!

For the rinsing part, I again ignored the whole gloves thing and rinsed, and rinsed and rinsed some more.  This time with cold water,then a quick spin in the machine to get rid of as much water as possible and then into the tumble dryer as we have a dry bright day here so the solar panels are working well but it’s not warm enough to dry outside and I don’t have anywhere inside that’s suitable for drying that sort of yardage!

I also made miles of piping, which needs to be carefully coiled and tied and pre-washed.

Next up,  I did a little bit of shopping.  For essential supplies:

See, separating zip (32″ as the FBA added nearly an inch of length to the front), and another non-separating one for the hood, buttons for the next Sencha, elastic, thread (2 spools as suggested by Lladybird in her pattern review).

Oh, and then there was the not so essential shopping… The star fabric will either be a Violet or Jasmine.  And then the dotty one is a jersey that was £3.99 for 2+ yards as was the plaid in Oxfam!  Don’t you just love the teal of the plaid – I’m thinking a pencil skirt, maybe with a godet…  Like this one!

Next up, the muslin / toile!


Sew Along is On!

OK, I’m probably a bit late on realising this one!  But Tasia has announced the date for the start of the Minoru sew along!  It is Monday 16 January 2012!  Which is just under 11 weeks away, and in that time frame I’ll be in a new decade, Christmas will have been and gone, it’ll be a new year and my boy will have celebrated his second birthday!

I bet we’re there before we know it…