Sew Over It Penny dress

sew over it penny dress

It was love at first sight when I first glimpsed the Sew Over It Penny dress in my inbox. She was the PDF club pattern in June and I snapped her up straight away. I even printed and assembled the pattern the very same day, which is not like me at all. Progress stalled while I waited for fabric to arrive and then I decided to use completely different fabric anyway. This fabric is quite different to what I normally go for but I really like it.

I got the manfriend to take these photos for me in the park behind the Town Hall 5 minutes from our house and I’m really pleased with them. I also tried to get some little videos to use on my YouTube channel and then some people walked past with their dog and I felt like a right dick. How fashion bloggers and YouTubers do it I don’t know.

Anyway, the dress! I’m a bit in love with it. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times I’m on a zip embargo so I’ve been trying to hunt down pretty and comfy zipless dresses, the Penny dress definitely sits nicely in that gap. I got lots of compliments when I wore it to work and I got to, “thanks, I made it!” to someone who didn’t know I sew, which is always fun.

penny dress

My version is accidentally a bit skimpy so don’t rush in and add length. It’s a midi skirt as drafted, which I don’t like on me. I just feel a bit swamped in fabric as I’m only 5’2″ so I shortened it before cutting it out. I was originally going to cut the length of the size 8 but then I measured it and thought that would still be a bit long so I took 2″ off. Then I tried it on once I’d made it and thought it was still slightly too long so I took about 2-3″ off when I levelled the hem and then regretted it. It’s hardly indecent but I think I’d like an extra inch or so.

I managed to get it out of much less fabric than the fabric requirements say (3.2m for my size) by ignoring the layplan and putting the pattern pieces around the skirt and cutting some pieces on a single layer. I got everything except the back bodice out of the same section of fabric as the skirt.

sew over it penny dress

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Penny dress

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 40

A0 file included? Yes, 2 pages

Measurements: Bust: 39″ – Waist: 32″ – Hips: 41.5″

Size made: I chose to make a 12 – even though my measurements put me as a 14 – based on the finished measurements. The bust is the only important one in this dress and the 12 has the finished measurement of 41.5″ giving me 2.5″ of ease, which is plenty for my preferred fit.

Alterations: 

I shortened the skirt a lot, probably about 6″ in the end, which was a bit too much.

Fabric used: About 2.25m of 140cm wide viscose from Oh Sew Crafty

soi penny dress

Another version?

Yes definitely, I’ve already cut it out and started sewing it.

Any changes next time?

I’ve cut it the same length but I won’t shorten it as much, if at all, when I level the hem. I lengthened the centre front a little bit (3/4″), tapering to nothing at the side seams. The bodice waist seam is completely straight and I find that shaped ones work better on me.

Any tips or advice

Whenever I sew a collar I always trim the undercollar down a smidge (1/8″ at most) as it helps the seam roll to the underside of the collar.

There is an error on the skirt pattern piece, it tells you to cut out two on the fold, when you on only need to cut out one. This has been corrected.

There was a notch missing when I sewed Penny so I found point 12 in the instructions a tad confusing but the notch has been added now. To be honest though, I think the instructions could be a bit confusing even with the notch because they don’t make it that clear that the facing is also the button placket. You’re told to “Very neatly, understitch the facing to the seam allowance, 2-3mm away from the seam. Then, to create the button placket, fold the facing to the inside of the bodice at the centre front notch. Press in place.”  I wouldn’t call it understitching when it is going to show on the outside and I think a fold line on the pattern piece would be really helpful. I haven’t re-downloaded the pattern yet though so I don’t know if they’ve added a line or just a notch.

I also found it helpful to change the order of the steps. The instructions have you sew the bodice side seams quite early on and you stitch the back facing down as one of the last steps. I did all of the collar steps, then stitched the back facing down, then sewed the side seams last before moving onto the skirt. I have seen someone on Instagram suggest doing the buttonholes before putting the skirt on too. But I didn’t bother with buttonholes and just sewed the placket shut.

sew over it london penny dress

Non-clueless versions:

I haven’t seen a version I don’t like though, check out the Instagram hashtag #soipennydress for loads more beauties.

Final Thoughts

I’m really pleased with my Penny dress and I think it’s a lovely pattern but I think you’d want to have a couple of projects under your belt before tackling it.

#TwentySevenJean Begins

A couple of weekends ago I finally strapped on my big girl pants and waded back into jeans fitting. This time armed with my big ass book on fitting and a more easy going attitude to what’s good enough I was confident that I will actually get a wearable pair of jeans at the end.

I spent pretty much the whole weekend doing flat pattern alterations and then sewing up a rough toile, making tweaks and then altering my flat pattern again. In the end I reached what I tend to call the Eff It Point (though obviously I say the real word), most often seen with DIY but it does occur in other areas too. Where I’ve just had enough and decide that perfectionism can do one. I pranced around in my toile in front of the manfriend asking, “this is good enough, right?”

I cut out my jeans last weekend and finally got round to starting sewing them this weekend. After sewing the pockets, I basted them together and then tried them on. To be met with… WEIRD CROTCH WRINKLES OF DOOM

I have no clue how to fix this. Most things I’ve read say that frown lines from the crotch may mean that your crotch is too long but trying to pinch out the excess didn’t seem to do anything so I’m not sure that’s the problem. I wondered if I maybe needed to let the side seams out in that general area in case it’s just stress wrinkles but the jeans don’t feel too tight at all.

I had a sort of bubble crotch thing going on in my toile, which was helped by straightening out the front curve – the flat pubis adjustment in this post. But now I’m second guessing whether that was the right thing to do.

I bought a Craftsy class on fitting jeans called The Perfect Jeans: Fitting Techniques for Every Body by Jennifer Stern-Hasemann and Jennifer is really, really helpful if you ask questions. If you upload a photo of your problem and your pattern she will draw on the pattern suggestions of how to fix your problem. So I’ve just uploaded my photos and asked for help. Because I’m lost on my own.

I thought I’d share my progress here because I always find people’s posts about fitting really interesting. And if I eventually fix the problem it might be useful if you get the same problem. Plus, you might be able to give me some advice. 

Here’s the back view too:

This is view B of the Closet Case Ginger jeans shortened to a more mid rise jean by the way – using this tutorial. I shortened them by 3cm. Though looking at this photo I think I possibly shouldn’t have shortened them quite so much. And while I like a snug fit on the bum maybe a little bit more room wouldn’t go amiss.

Hopefully I’ll be able to improve the fit of this pair. But even if I can’t I’m still going to finish them and wear them. I’ll report back if they get any better.

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend with less frowning at yourself in the mirror than me.

Alina Sewing + Design Co Chi-town Chino Shorts

I very nearly didn’t blog these shorts as I hate the photos but I feel like my blog should be a full reflection of my sewing and if that means I have to share some unflattering photos so be it. They also really could have done with a go over with the iron, which doesn’t exactly help. But oh well.

I originally bought this green sateen from Fabric Godmother with the plan to make Grainline Maritime shorts as I loved Josie’s pair. But then I saw a few Chi-town chinos popping up on my Instagram feed and I really like the trouser version from expansion pack 2 so I thought I would buy that instead.

I really enjoyed making these shorts. The instructions are so thorough and well thought through I think they’re a perfect first shorts/trousers pattern. You are talked through absolutely everything, from how to choose your size, to how to make a muslin/toile, how to sew French seams on your pockets and even how you can customise the pattern.

The instructions start by getting you to do all of your prep first, which I really liked. You apply all your interfacing, sew the belt loops, fly shield, back pockets and finish some seams. It means everything is ready for you when you get to that stage.

I’ve only sewn two fly zips, these and the one on my abandoned Ginger jeans and the instructions were very similar. I’ve seen a lot of people rave about the Ginger jeans zip instructions but I thought these were possibly even better. On the Gingers you have to mark your pivot point and stitching line for the front crotch but on the Chi-town chinos the fly extension interfacing is shaped so that the edge of it is your stitching line. A simple thing to be impressed by and others might not care but I thought that was such a good idea.

I’ve got quite a lot of excess fabric bunching on the front and they’re a little bigger than I’d like them to fit, except on my bum so I think for my next version I’ll size down but do a full seat adjustment. Though lowering the rise a smidge might help too. Mine are a little shorter than as drafted because I did a turned up cuff instead of hemming them, I thought it looked better on me.

I made these over a few days just before going on holiday and I really enjoyed the whole process. I love making trousers/shorts, it’s just the fitting I hate. They’re a great project to work on in small chunks of time because of all the little steps, which I really like. You also get to feel like a sewing ninja when you’re done even though it’s pretty easy sewing, just with a few more steps.

My topstitching is pretty wobbly and the zip bartacks didn’t go particularly well. I tried to use it to cover up some of my iffy stitching and it didn’t really work. I installed my first jeans button – probably not quite in the right place if this photo is anything to go but but I’m still pleased.

This is a dreadful photo but I thought I should show the back as well. I don’t think they’d look this awful if I’d ironed them. You can see where I had a bit of wobble when I was topstitching the waistband facing. I did find that part a bit of a struggle, without having a seam allowance marking to follow. I stuck a bit of washi tape to my machine but it’s not the same. The pockets are perhaps a smidge too wide set and a bit too high. I also didn’t finish all the belt loops.

The pattern includes a really useful waist extension at the centre back seam to give you some fitting wiggle room, which I thought was a nice idea. As part of the sewing process Alina also has you baste the shorts together and pin the centre back so you know if you need the extension or not.

The details

Pattern: Alina Sewing + Design Co Chi-town Chino Shorts (also a skirt included)

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 31

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop

Measurements: Waist 31.5″ – Hips 41″

Size made: 12

Alterations: None, except the cuff.

Fabric used: 0.9m Green Stretch Sateen

Another version?

I’ve definitely got a pair of the trousers planned. I’ve bought some beige gaberchino from Minerva for a wearable toile but ultimately I want a navy pair.

Any changes next time?

Yes, I’ll size down and do a full seat adjustment. I may lower the bum slightly too and I might change the front crotch shape. We’ll see. I’m working on some Ginger jeans at the moment and I’ve been learning a lot about fit that I will probably apply to all my future bottom half makes.

Final Thoughts

Overall this is just a great, thoughtful pattern, with loads of lovely little touches throughout the instructions and I’m looking forward to making the trouser version and getting the fit right.

True Bias Southport(ish) Dress and Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

Morning lovelies, hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxed. Just pootling around the house, getting some laundry done and a bit of reading. We also watched series 8 of Archer, which was fantastic but too short. Anyone else an Archer fan? I really enjoyed the Dreamland thing and would quite like them to do the same for the next season but in a 70s or 80s style. Anyway, you’re here for the sewing, not for my views on a cartoon. I’ve got a two for the price of one post for you today with a dress and cardigan combo.

Southport dress

This is the first of two new Southport dresses I made for my holiday. I say Southport dresses but I took all of the interesting Southport bits off them. I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button placket, swapped the drawstring for an elasticated waist and the skirt is slashed, spread and cut on the fold.

True Bias Southport dress

These photos were taken on the morning of our last day before we got turfed out of the villa. I wore it to travel home in because it was great for the warm, Cyprus leg but just needed a pair of leggings and a cardigan for the chilly plane part. I wore it again when we had our five day summer last week and it was perfect, it’s so cool and floaty.

The fabric is a lightweight viscose from Adam Ross Fabrics but I bought it on eBay, not directly. They marked it as B grade and I’d say that’s fair. It’s perfectly usable but a bit lightweight and easily pulled off grain. I would still buy it again.

Southport dress

It was a nice quick and simple sew, though I used French seams, which does make it a bit slower. I also ended up having to level the hem twice as my dressform – who I had been calling Doris but I feel like I may have stolen that name from someone so I’m going to rename her Susan – had gone a bit wonky and I didn’t notice. So it’s perhaps a smidge shorter than intended. I finally got round to padding out Susan’s bum so my hems are much more level on me now, which is nice.

The neckline is a wee bit gapey but I tweaked my next version and I think I’ve solved that now. It was already cut out so I just cut a bit off the front shoulder on the neckline side, tapering to nothing on the shoulder side and it seemed to work well so I’ll update my pattern piece to match.

True Bias Southport dress

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 51

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop

Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″

Size made: 6

Alterations:

The same fit alterations I made to the bodice for my first version.

In terms of style alterations:

  • I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button band,
  • Made an elastic channel out of the waist seam instead of the drawstring channel, and
  • used a slit-less slashed and spread version of the skirt.

Fabric used: 2m of viscose from Adam Ross Fabrics

Another version? Yep – I made another maxi version straight after this one.

Any changes next time?

After cutting this one out I remembered I wanted to do a swayback adjustment so I did a makeshift one of those by wiggling my pattern piece when I was cutting out my next version. I tweaked the front shoulder seam to fix some neckline weirdness.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this dress. It’s a perfect, floaty and cool dress for warmer weather.


And on to the cardigan.

Seamwork Wembley cardigan

I bought this jersey a really long time ago with a view to making a t’shirt, thinking the burnout pattern would make it a bit more interesting than a plain white tee. But as you can see it’s rather sheer and there’s no way I could have made a t’shirt out of it without showing the world everything I’ve got. So it sat in my stash for ages until I thought of turning it into a little cardigan for chucking over dresses in the summer.

Wembley cardigan
Terrible photo but it was the only vaguely decent one of the cardigan open

I’m really not sure if I like it but I can’t put my finger on what it is that I don’t like. I have been wearing it and it was good for those really hot days we had as it’s so thin. My issue might be that it’s cut sort of like a waterfall style cardigan but having the bands on to finish the raw edges means that it doesn’t really drape like a waterfall cardigan. I prefer it tied at the front to just hanging loose.

Seamwork magazine wembley cardigan

The details

Pattern: Seamwork Wembley cardigan

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 25

A0 file included? Possibly. It wasn’t when I downloaded it but they do offer them now so they might have gone back and added A0 versions to the older patterns too. I just made my own A0 version by printing the US copyshop version to a PDF and selecting A0 as the paper size under page setup.

Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″

Size made: M but I tapered the sleeves to a S

Alterations: Nothing but the sleeve grading

Fabric used: Just over a metre of burnout jersey from Minerva Crafts

Another version?

Really not sure, maybe I should make one in a different sort of fabric to see if that’s the problem. Or not waste my time and just work on a cropped Helen’s Closet Blackwood as I know I definitely like that.

Any changes next time? 

In terms of fit it seems fine. I do constantly push the sleeves up to 3/4 though so I probably might as well make a 3/4 length sleeve version instead.

Final Thoughts

I feel a bit meh about this one. It’ll probably make a useful addition to my summer wardrobe but I’m not going to rush to make more.

Pineapple Grainline Scout tee

Morning lovelies! Hope you’re all having a splendid weekend. It’s mega sunny here in the UK, so I’ve been trying to eek out every second of outside time I can. I’m typing this on my decking while the Manfriend cooks us bacon on the barbecue and it’s already warm (10ish).

I’ve got another of my photographed on holiday makes to show you today. It’s a Grainline Scout tee, which I’ve made twice before so there’s not really much to say. Especially as it’s just a simple woven t-shirt.

I narrowed the shoulder by 1/2″ for this version and they’re still quite wide on me. The t’shirt has gone a bit lopsided in the photo below but you can see that the right (as you look at it) shoulder is still hanging way down from where my actual shoulder ends. The left side seams about right though so I think I only need a little adjustment. But then again I don’t want to overfit. This feels perfectly fine to wear.

I did the dart adjustment that I said I would do in my post about my last Scout (basically take a dart and rotate it out) and it has helped the lines from bust to hip a bit but hasn’t gotten ridden of them entirely. I’m happy enough though.

The fabric I used is a viscose voile, which I hadn’t come across before. It’s very light and drapey but wasn’t as hard to work with as I expected. It’s very cool to wear in warm weather. It was great for being a bit covered up but not sweltering.

There were orange and lemon trees growing just in front of our villa so I couldn’t resist a taking some photos pretending to pick one. I look very pleased with myself.

I used French seams throughout as it’s my preferred finishing method with viscose – just because I think they look nicest and I don’t really trust the overlocker on something so lightweight. Though I do use it on some of the beefier viscose fabrics. I need to watch how aggressively I trim my seams though as some of my French seamed tops seem to be fraying a bit now.

That’s about all I can think of to say about this tee and the sun is edging closer to the decking so I probably won’t be able to see the laptop soon. Here are the deets:

The details

Pattern: Grainline Scout tee

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 18

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop file

Measurements: Bust 38.5″ – Waist 31.5″ – High hip 40″ / Low hip 41″

Size made: The same as my last one, a US 8 at the shoulders and bust grading out to a 10 at the hips (current measurements could possibly do with a little more room at the bust) 

Alterations: 

1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment and took a tiny bust dart and rotated it out.

Fabric used: Just a bit less than 1m of 139cm wide viscose voile from the Textile Centre (the navy is long sold out as I bought it last year but they still have some in peach)

Another version? Undoubtedly

Any changes next time? The shoulders are still too wide on me but instead of narrowing them again I might fiddle with narrowing the whole upper chest area. I think I might lengthen it slightly too.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this t’shirt and it’ll make a great addition to my wardbrobe.

Have a lovely sunny day peeps.

Sew Over It Doris Dress

Ooh, what could this be? A finished garment post? Stay very still or we’ll scare it away. This is probably going to be quite a vague and photo heavy post as I made this Sew Over It Doris dress in August last year so some of the details are a little hazy. It’s actually the project that I took to the Sewing Weekender and I wore the finished dress out for dinner on my friend’s 30th birthday so it has lots of nice memories attached to it.

Sew over it doris dress
And holiday ones

I made Version 1, the longer version with the tie back, but I shortened the skirt pieces by 2″ – at the hem when I was tracing the pattern, not at the lengthen/shorten line. It hits just above/on my knee and that’s spot on for the length I wanted. I made a toile of the bodice and it had fit fairly well but I made a small forward shoulder/head adjustment* and took a wedge out of the neckline.

*I don’t know what the adjustment’s actually called but I remove some length from the front shoulder and add it onto the back. In a proper forward shoulder adjustment I think you pivot the shoulder side of the seam and leave the neck bit where it is but because my head sits forward, I move the whole seam. I hope that makes sense.

The length of the bodice was fine on my toile but is a little too short on my finished dress and I think it may be because I lined the bodice with cotton voile instead of using the facings – not a fan of facings. Cotton is so much more stable than viscose I think that the toile had probably stretched out but the lining stops the final dress doing the same. The lining didn’t really work anyway so next time I’ll just use the facings. Or maybe try a half lining/all in one facing kinda thing.

I’ve only actually worn the dress twice because I saw it as a dressy dress so had only worn it on my friend’s birthday night out and out to dinner on holiday – when I took these photos. Because I wore it with flat shoes on holiday and it didn’t look stupid (don’t tell me if you think it does look stupid) I’ve now decided that I can wear it to work. I may even lift my zip embargo and make more for wearing to work as well. Maybe a black and white polka dot one with red buttons.

I made a bit of a boo-boo by not leaving the dress to hang and levelling the hem. As you can probably see in these photos, it’s a little wonky as the panels have dropped a little bit at the edges. As is my usual way I’d left it until the last minute and was still finishing off the dress the day we were going out (handsewing the hem on the train and at my desk in my lunch break).

Check that flare

I love all the colours in this fabric (and it’s still available on Minerva Crafts if you do too) though I probably should have paid a little more attention to print placement as I’ve got a few clusters of mainly pink flowers and I was disappointed with the two blue flowers at the neckline. I thought it looked like I had tried and failed to pattern match but when I said that in the YouTube video where I showed the dress people commented that it looked like a deliberate little posy so I’m happy with that.

Mushy photo klaxon

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Doris dress

PDF or Printed: I used the printed version but it does come in PDF too.

Measurements: They were quite a bit smaller when I made the dress but at the time of the photos they are: Bust 38.5″ – Waist 31.5″ – High hip 40″ / Low hip 41″ (*whisper* maybe even bigger, it’s been a while since I checked them…)

Size made: 12, though my current measurements are much closer to the 14 and it still just about fits.

Alterations: Forward head/shoulder adjustment and took a smidge out of the front neckline. Shortened the longer length by 2″ at the hem not the lengthen/shorten line.

Fabric used: 3m of 140cm wide floral viscose from Minerva Crafts

Another version? Yes

Any changes next time?

I think I need to make a hollow chest adjustment as there’s a little bit of gape between the dress and my chest. I’ll lengthen the front a bit too I think.

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. I’m a big fan of a kimono sleeve and I adore the shape of the skirt. I’m becoming more of a Sew Over It fangirl with every one of their patterns I sew to be honest. Anyone else a fangirl for certain pattern companies? It’s Sew Over It and Helen’s Closet for me and sort of Deer and Doe, though I haven’t sewn all of their patterns I’ve been compelled to buy.

Lace Yoke Coco Dress

I think “take photos of blue coco” has been on my to do list every weekend since November and I finally got round to it. Ta dah!

Also, new hair!

I cut this out so long ago I can barely remember anything about it so this probably won’t be a very useful blog post I’m sorry. I fiddled with the pattern straight after making my first Coco dress. Eventually cut out the fabric in May and then didn’t get round to sewing it up until October. Nearly a year after the first one. So blinkin’ slow!

But it’s done now and it has been in heavy rotation ever since. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight recently so it’s a bit too snug now. But I’ve started eating mainly sadness foods and not stuffing my face with office treats so hopefully it’ll fit better again soon.

I shamelessly copied the lace yoke idea from Katie of What Katie Sews but I can’t find her blog post with her lace yoke Cocos anymore to link to. I’m really pleased with how it worked out. I just traced off the yoke part of the pattern, cut it out in lace and sewed it to the front piece around all the edges using a zigzag stitch. Actually I used the three step zigzag stitch because if fancied trying it.

Tilly pose

I made a swayback adjustment but I’ve got hell of a lot of bunching in the lower back area that I don’t think was as bad when I first made it so I think it’s the extra hip girth causing most of it. I’m not sure I can be bothered to make a bigger swayback adjustment anyway. I can’t see my back and I just don’t think I care. As long as I don’t look at these photos ever again and forget how bad the back looks.

I’ve started giving some quite serious thought to having a go at bra making as I have quite a fat back/large band size in bras but small boobs so I really struggle to find bras to fit. In this photo I’m wearing a 36AA and my fat is bulging over the band so I think I need a 38AAA, which doesn’t exist. Anyway, that’s not really relevant to this dress but these back and side view photos make me keener on the idea so I thought I’d share.

I bought a couple of knicker sewing patterns and a beautiful kit from Evie la luve so I’m going to have a go at making knickers to practice the whole elastic thang as I haven’t even really done much sewing directly onto elastic.

The lace overlay worked really well to elevate what could have been quite a boring dress and I’m really happy with it. I love the colour of the dress with my new hair colour too. I’ve got loads of this lace left if you have any suggestions of what to do with it. Lace yokes on everything!

Trying to be bloggery – looking more like I’d seen some dirt on the floor

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: At the time of making they were Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″ but now they’re Bust: 38.5 – Waist: 31.5 – Hips 41″

Size made: Size 4

Alterations: 

  • Took 1/2″ out of neckline
  • 1/2″ swayback adjustment
  • Narrowed the sleeve
  • Forward shoulder adjustment

Fabric used: Blue ponte roma from Plush Addict. I can’t remember exactly how much sorry, more than a metre but less than 2. I cut out on a single layer.

Another version?

Probably.

Any changes next time?

I think I need a little more length above the armpit. That seam digs in a tiny bit and I don’t think that’s just because of the enplumpening.

Unrelated to Coco but have you been taking part in #MIYMarch17 on Instagram? I’ve actually managed to keep up with it for the first time and I’m going to miss the prompts so if you know of any daily photo challenges for April I could get involved with I’d love to hear them.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Another Seamwork Paxson jumper

What’s that? A finished garment post? Don’t all keel over in shock. I seem to be starting a tradition of making the manfriend a Paxson jumper/sweater/pullover/whatever it wants to be called for Christmas. Even though he would far rather I didn’t make him anything and just enjoy December rather than shutting myself in the sewing room making presents.

While I’m on that subject I should put my pledge to myself down on (digital) paper:

This year I am NOT making any Christmas presents in December. I can make Christmas presents by all means but they must be finished by December.

Last year I had the week before Christmas off work and I spent it stressed and miserable because of my stupid habit of taking on far too much. Instead of pottering about and watching Christmas films I was sewing and cake decorating and stressing. And I still haven’t actually finished all the Christmas presents yet… oops.

Anyway, this year’s Paxson. There’s not a lot to say really as it’s a simple make and something I’ve made before so this will be a fairly photo heavy post.

Nonchalant lean and a chat with Judy Hopps
Arty…

I made the same size as last time even though he’s a bit bigger this year because the last one still fits. Paxson is a super quick sew because you can do it all on the overlocker. I do love the neat finish of a cuff or hem band. Though as of tomorrow I will be the proud owner of a coverstitch machine, eeek! So I should be able to sew lovely neat knit hems. Ha, we’ll see…

I shortened the sleeves a little bit but a cutting mishap made them a little shorter than I intended. He tends to wear it pulled up slightly like this. I have offered to fix it (redo the cuffs a bit longer) but he’s said he likes it fine as it is.

The fabric is the snaggiest fabric in the world. It kept catching on the edges of my nails and I was really worried I was going to leave pulls in it. Which isn’t the best considering the Manfriend is a gympanzee and has callouses on his hands from weight lifting. So it snags on them too, which is a bit of a bugger.

The details

Pattern: Seamwork magazine Paxson sweater

Measurements: Chest 43.5″ – Waist 36″ – Hips/Boy waist 36″

Size made: L

Alterations: I shortened the sleeve slightly (a little too much)

Fabric used: About 1.5m Warm jersey from White Tree Fabrics

Another version?

I think it’s time to try other patterns if I do more unselfish sewing.

I am going to try to make myself something with the left fabric though. Which we’ll never wear at the same time don’t worry.

Final Thoughts

He claims to like it and has worn it in public so we’ll count it as a win, it’s just a shame about the catchy fabric.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, with lots of sewing and/or relaxing. I still haven’t actually done any sewing so far this year. This week I cut out a Sew Over It Nancy dress and the mustard Deer and Doe Plantain I mentioned in my Make Nine post. Taking my total of cut out projects to seven. So I really should actually sew some of them soon. I’ve got tomorrow off work to bake cakes to sell at work to raise money for an old school friend’s crowdfunding appeal but if I finish quickly I might do some sewing.

Anyway, have a good week folks. I’ll leave you with the manfriend’s (moderately terrifying) “broken doll” pose to haunt your dreams.

broken doll manfriend

New Look 6096 and Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

It’s another bumper two for the price of one post today after another longish gap. Sorry, I’m rubbish. Life and work are really hectic at the moment so I haven’t been finding the time and energy to blog or even sew much to be honest. I’m having a bit of a knitting phase at the moment instead. I’m about half way through the body of this jumper but without stripes.

Today’s post is about sewing though. I took these photos over a month ago now, I went for a dog walk with my mum and we stopped for photos whenever we thought the backdrop looked autumnal and pretty.

New Look 6096

First we have New Look 6096. I’ve made this as a maxi dress before for myself and as a short version for my Nan. My maxi dress gets worn a lot in the spring and summer so I’ve wanted a shorter version for a while but I finally got round to it (umm, in August).

nl6096 dress

I didn’t really change anything from the first time I made it for myself and it’s a straight size 10 but shortened slightly (perhaps a little too much). I mostly used French seams except for a couple that I overlocked.

new look 6096 collage

There’s not a lot to say about the dress as it’s pretty simple so this is probably going to be a more photos than text kinda post. Especially as I’m full of cold so my brain is a bit fuzzy and I’m not so hot with the words.

new look 6096 dress

new look 6096

The details

Pattern: New Look 6096 View A

Measurements: I haven’t checked these in a while so they may not be entirely accurate as I’ve been digging into the office treats with abandon but last time I checked they were: Bust – 38″ Waist 30.5″ Hips 39″

Size made: 10

Alterations: I took quite a bit off the length but I couldn’t tell you how much sorry, probably at least 4″ though.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide viscose (but only just, there’s a bit of selvedge in the skirt seam)

Another version?

Probably yep, unless I’m forever distracted by the new and the shiny.

Any changes next time?

I might try to narrow the neckline and bring the shoulders in a bit, they sit quite wide at the moment.

Final Thoughts

It’s a comfy dress and I like it even though it makes me look a little bit pregnant.

Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

I’ve had a Seamwork subscription for aaages and I made the Manfriend a Paxson sweater last Christmas but this is the first of their patterns I’ve got round to making for myself. It’s a bit of a funny one because I’ve worn it loads since I made it but I’m still not sure how much I actually like it.

olso cardigan

seamwork-cardigan

oslo cardigan closed

I love the colour of the fabric I used. It’s a polyester sweater knit kinda thing and it’s soft and lovely. It dries really quickly too which is good during winter when it’s difficult to get washing dry.

Being a Seamwork pattern, it was a nice speedy sew, almost entirely sewn on the overlocker. I did have to go over a couple of bits again though where I’d cut my notches a bit too big so I had teeny holes – I need to be more careful with notches.

seamwork oslo cardigan

seamwork oslo

olso cardigan back

The details

Pattern: Seamwork magazine Oslo cardigan

Measurements: Bust – 38″ Waist 30.5″ Hips 39″

Size made: Small for shoulders, armhole, sleeves, and collar grading out to a Medium from the bust down.

Alterations: I shortened the cuffs by about 3″

Fabric used: Just shy of 2 metres of 150cm wide “wool type knit” from the Textile Centre.

Another version?

Yes I think so, unless I find a different cardigan I like more.

Any changes next time? 

Yes, I’m going to size down I think.

Any tips or advice

There is an error in the instructions for the cuffs (at least there is in my version, I don’t know if it’s since been corrected). It says to match the short edges of the cuffs and stitch but it is the long edge you need to stitch. That one had me second guessing myself for a while. Especially as I had shortened the cuffs so the long and short sides weren’t that different.

They say to go for the size up if you’re in between sizes but I think I’d probably say the opposite. My measurements put me at the upper end of the medium and I could quite happily wear the small. But then I suppose that depends on the look you’re after, I like big and cosy but don’t want to feel swamped in fabric.

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I reach for my Oslo all the time so I must like it, I think it’s just slightly baggier than all the cardigans I’ve ever bought myself so it feels not quite right. Looking at the RTW cardi I have on right now I think it might be the fit of the sleeves that bother me as most of my shop bought cardigans are definitely slimmer fitting on the arms.

Have you ever finished something and not been sure if you actually like it or am I being a weirdo?

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

I’ve got a bumper two in one post for you today so apologies if it gets a bit long. The manfriend’s brother got married last month so I wanted a pretty dress to wear to the wedding. It was a gay wedding so I hoped to be able to make a dress made out of this incredible rainbow and unicorn fabric:

rainbow and unicorn fabric

But unfortunately it was a classy and respectable wedding so it was vetoed and I went for some less extravagant floral stretch cotton sateen instead. I still really need to own a dress made out of that unicorn fabric though.

I used the Sewaholic Cambie dress pattern but with a circle skirt and here is the dress in action in the stunning gardens of their wedding venue. (Sidenote: if you’re looking for somewhere to get married in Shropshire, The Hundred House Hotel is beautiful.)

sewaholic-cambie-dress-at-wedding

But before I tell you about the dress I have a top version to share. I worked hard on the fit of this dress. First making a rough toile and then a wearable toile peplum top.

cambie peplum top

My first toile had fit fairly well except for a lot of extra length in the front strap/sleeve bit and a gapey neckline, front and back. So I shortened the strap by 1″ and set to work on my pattern for the gape. The back was easy enough – I just cut a line front where it gaped to the back armhole and overlapped to get rid of the gape. But the front was a bit of a headscratcher and I ended up butchering my front bodice pattern piece so much that I had to retrace it. It was then that I noticed that my toile seemed to have stretched out of shape quite badly, with the sides being much longer than they should have been. The darts were also slightly too wide for me.

That gave me the idea of cutting 3/8″ off the centre front and adding it onto the side seam instead. So I gave that a go and I also stabilised the front neckline with twill tape to prevent it stretching out again. I used this tutorial from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.

cambie-top-back-and-side

My adjustments worked pretty well but the back neckline was still a bit gapey and there was a little bit of fabric pooling at my lower back. So I increased the neckline overlap and did a slightly overzealous swayback adjustment. Then cracked on with my dress.

sewaholic-cambie-dress-with-circle-skirt

Which I am super super happy with. I used the free Veronika skirt pattern from Megan Nielsen for the skirt part because the last time I tried to draft a circle skirt it went horribly wrong so I didn’t want to risk it. And fortunately the size 8 of the Cambie dress and the size M of the Veronika skirt had the same finished measurement of 30¼”. Of course that wasn’t leaving me with any ease whatsoever but I figured that the stretch in the fabric would cover that or I could use smaller seam allowances if I needed to. Luckily I was right and it fit great, without even needing to fiddle with the seam allowances. Hurrah for stretch cotton! It even coped with the amount of food and booze I threw at it.

sewaholic-cambie-dress

In terms of construction the dress is the same as the top. I again moved the zip to the side and stabilised the neckline with twill tape. I also did a horsehair braid hem to give the skirt a bit of weight and floof without having to wear a petticoat. It was not fun to handstitch.

cambie-dress-back-and-side

There’s not a lot else to say about it really so I’ll just bombard you with a few more photos and then leave you with the details.

cambie-dress

sewaholic-cambie

cambie-at-wedding

The details

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress with a Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt

Measurements: Bust 37.5″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ — Height 5’2″

Size made: 8 (dress) and M (skirt)

Alterations:

  • Moved the zip to the side
  • I shortened the sleeve pieces by 1″
  • Took 3/8″ off the centre front and added it onto the side
  • Overlapped the back neckline by about 3/4″ to remove some gape
  • A swayback adjustment (not sure by how much as I think I eyeballed it)

Fabric used: Just over 2m of 150cm wide stretch cotton sateen.

Another version?

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with this pattern now.

Any changes next time?

I want to use a non stretch cotton next time so I’ll probably have to use teeny tiny seam allowances or add a bit of extra room when I cut out. The darts possibly need shortening a smidge too. And I think I may also bring the centre of the sweetheart neckline down slightly as I lost some of the shape by cutting a bit off the centre. I’ll probably put a pleated skirt on it next time too. So just a few changes…

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. The fabric is gorgeous, it fits well and is perfect for twirling in.

spinning-cambie