Jeans are among my favourite kinds of garments to make. I’ve had particular success with Closet Core Pattern’s Ginger Jeans pattern, and made a low rise version, a high rise version, and even a pair from waterproof softshell for walking and cycling. Pair number 2 (the high rise pair) have been worn so much that the denim has worn through at the thighs, so it was time to make another pair. I’m getting better at keeping sewing notes with each of the patterns so that I can document how I’ve adjusted the pattern and what techniques I’ve used each time, so that I know what to do again and what to change next time. This time, I also had the blog post I wrote for reference, so I was confident that things would go fairly smoothly.Continue reading →
Posts tagged "sewing"
Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know that I’ve collected a few sewing machines over the years. I have a modern Janome DKS100 and a Brother overlocker which I use for most of my sewing, and two vintage Singer machines (hand-cranked and treadle operated) that I use when I just need a beautiful straight stitch and I want to enjoy the serenity of non-motorised machines. Actually, I have another tiny Singer 99 which was the first I bought, but I don’t often use that one these days. When I learned more about the unique features of different brands, I really wanted to try a Pfaff machine. Sewing enthusiasts tend to have their favourite brands, but Pfaff (and Bernina) fans tend to be very loyal to their chosen machine maker. However, when I bought my Janome, the problem with that plan was that both were really expensive to buy new. I think I made the right choice with my Janome at the time. It is a very capable and well-made machine for the price, and I have thoroughly enjoyed making a wardrobe of clothes on it. However, I’ve kept an eye on eBay from time to time to see if any used Pfaff machines came up at reasonable prices, and about a week ago, I spotted one. Reader, I bought it.Continue reading →
I like to have a sewing project to tackle when I’m on holiday, so this has been a chance for me to tackle a long-planned project: making a pair of Carolyn pyjamas from cotton flannel.Continue reading →
It seems that I’m not alone in the sewing world in having slightly lost my sewing mojo (or ‘sewjo’) recently. It’s not that I have completely stopped sewing: I made a birthday shirt, another pair of Persephone sailor trousers, and an (un-blogged) pair of Lycra workout leggings, as well as many masks and my keyboard mat, though the latter barely counts as sewing. Those items are obviously not nothing, but the output is less than I would normally have sewn in a comparable period. I certainly don’t have more spare time than I would normally have. Even though I have been working from home, my home office is my sewing room and vice-versa, and unfortunately not big enough to be set up for both functions simultaneously, otherwise I might have been able to take a short breaks to do 20 minutes or so of sewing in my day and get away from the screen. Mostly, I think the problem has been that while I enjoy the sewing process itself enormously, my main impetus to sew is to produce clothes to wear in the presence of other people, and those opportunities have been severely lacking since March. Recently, I wanted to make something cosy and comforting, but which would also look fairly smart on work calls, and so I decided to make a Wiksten Haori jacket.Continue reading →
I was thinking the other day that I am incredibly grateful that past me (back in September last year, which seems about a decade ago) decided to take the plunge and buy a proper sit-stand desk. Like many people, I’ve been basically living at this desk for six months (though I’m very lucky to be able to work from home), so it has been fantastic to have a good, ergonomic setup which allows me to change position throughout the day. It doesn’t make endless Zoom meetings any more bearable, but my body does thank me at the end of the day.
I’ve made a couple more tweaks recently to improve things further: I’ve added a home-made desk shelf and a felt/cork keyboard mat.Continue reading →
I haven’t sewn as much as I thought I might during lockdown — partly because I’ve been busier with work than I expected — but what I have sewn has been a joy and something to be savoured. This weekend I finished making a second pair of Persephone Sailor Pants, this time using some lovely linen mix fabric from Clothspot.Continue reading →
Well. I don’t want to dwell, but I can’t avoid the elephant in the room. This wasn’t — to put it simply — the 50th birthday I would have imagined only a few weeks ago. I’ve had Happy Birthday sung to me on a WhatsApp voice recording, lots of lovely messages and phone calls from friends and family, and I’ve had the fun of finishing sewing this chunk of riotous colour: a Granville shirt by Sewaholic.Continue reading →
A while ago, I bought a length of lovely charcoal herringbone wool tweed fabric from ClothSpot. At the time, I was vaguely thinking about making the longer version of the Arielle Skirt by Tilly and the Buttons, which I have already made successfully in denim. As I thought more about it, I reflected that I am not really a tweed skirt kinda gal, at least not in a sober colour like grey. I have long harboured an ambition to make something a bit unexpected like a biker jacket out of one of the very vibrant colours of Harris tweed, but this was not that occasion. Eventually I settled on making a proper tweed waistcoat.Continue reading →
While I was on holiday, I made another Closet Case Patterns Kalle shirt. It’s fair to say that this pattern is becoming what sewists refer to as a ‘TNT (tried ‘n’ true) pattern’. This shirt is now the fourth Kalle I have made. However, the various pattern variations (length, button placket or tunic, collar or collarless, and so on), combined with the way that garments made from the same pattern can look completely different in different fabric means that my obsession with this pattern is not immediately obvious to the casual observer.Continue reading →
Last weekend I finished drafting a pattern for a simple sleeveless top and then sewed up the pattern. It turned out pretty well in the end, but it wasn’t without a bit of drama.Continue reading →
If you follow me over on Micro.blog you may have seen this post a couple of weekends ago. I had decided to try to make a dress using instructions from one of the Pattern Magic books by Tomoko Nakamichi. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, I decided to make it out of a sentimentally special fabric, and for a special event happening the next weekend. Sewing isn’t (usually) an adrenaline sport, but it was quite a nerve-wracking experience, but one which happily worked out well in the end.Continue reading →
I have been looking for a treadle cabinet for my Singer 201K for a while. The electric motor is perfectly fine, but I was curious to see what it would be like to power it entirely with my feet. A cabinet or table would also mean that I could store the machine in the table, and when using it, the bed of the machine would be flush with the table surface, which is ergonomically much better, and means you have more control over the fabric as it goes under the presser foot. I have a dual-purpose machine/cutting table for my modern Janome machine, which fits in a cutout in the table with a perspex insert. I have found that flush-mounting the machine in this way has made my sewing more accurate. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I found a beauty of a cabinet and a lovely vintage machine into the bargain. Read on for all the details!Continue reading →
I might not have written much about sewing recently, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing. I’ve made a few things that I haven’t got around to blogging about, but a few weeks ago, I finished a pair of Persephone Sailor Pants (a pattern by Anna Allen) which I’m really pleased with. However, the making was not without incident. Part of my reason for writing this is so that I might remember not to be such a blithering idiot in future.Continue reading →
“Can girls wear trousers too?”
I remember it with great clarity. I was about four years old, my Dad holding me up at the window, as we looked out at the street. I had seen a girl, wearing jeans, walking down the street, and the though suddenly struck me for the first time. When my Dad answered that of course girls could wear trousers, it was like the sun coming out. I really wanted to wear trousers, and had no idea that I could. That was the beginning of my love affair with jeans.Continue reading →
I’ve just come out the other side of a bit of a frantic period of sewing. My brother is getting married next week, and so of course I wanted to make something nice to wear. Naturally, I have known the date of the wedding for ages, so I had plenty of time to plan what I wanted to make, and sew in a relaxed and leisurely way. Did I do that? Reader, I think we both know the answer that that rhetorical question. I did not. I waited until about a month before the wedding before starting my dress, then made some stupid decisions about a top layer, panicked, and ended up going on a three-day sewing bender less than a week before the wedding.Continue reading →
As I make progress with my sewing, I’m trying to be a bit more strategic about what I make. When you start out, the giddy excitement of actually making things means that you flit between patterns, making anything shiny that catches your eye. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (and it’s certainly fun), but I’ve been trying to plan a bit more thoughtfully, and think about what kinds of garments I need to give me maximum flexibility. I’ve also tried to slow down a bit, and make each item as polished as I possibly can.Continue reading →
You might think that one sewing machine should be enough for anyone. I have a very nice, modern, computerised, Janome sewing machine (not to mention an overlocker for finishing seams and sewing stretch fabrics), and I’m very happy with it. It sews all kinds of stitches very competently (including zig-zag stitches), and has some useful features like stopping with the needle down (or up), so that you can easily pivot around corners, pulling the bobbin thread up automatically, and even snipping the threads automatically. And yet, I found myself browsing vintage straight stitch-only machines.Continue reading →
Well. That was a distressing, bewildering, enraging, and terrifying week. I don’t even know where to start with it. In response, I seem to have diverted into temporary displacement activity: who else would like to join me in a few moments of thinking about something other than the state of the world? I made a very red, very corduroy tunic: the French Dart Shift Tunic by Maven Patterns.
At the start of the winter, I had a plan to make a warm winter dress. My first idea was to make a corduroy pinafore dress, an idea that rather surprised me. I think I last wore a pinafore dress when I was about 5 years old. In fact, I have a photograph of me wearing it, with a ribbed polo neck jumper underneath, and a puddingbowl haircut with slightly wonky fringe above. I’m vaguely aware that they have become somewhat fashionable recently, but that wasn’t why I wanted to make one. I was after a dress that I could wear a thick layer (like a jumper or long-sleeved t-shirt) underneath, rather than covering up the dress with a cardigan. I was ready to try to draft something myself, when I saw another alternative that I could wear in the same way: Maven Patterns French Dart Shift Tunic.Continue reading →
2016 is certainly not getting any easier as it drags on, is it? Like many people, I’m finding it hard not to get anxious and disturbed by every new revelation or outrage on the news. There are certainly plenty of issues about which it is absolutely right and proper to get anxious, disturbed and angry, but there comes a time when you need to switch off for a bit. Personally, I find solace in both music and making things.Continue reading →
My latest sewing project unites my love of sewing with my love of cycling: a pair of Ginger jeans made from showerproof, windproof, softshell fabric for winter cycling. I used the Ginger pattern because I’ve made it a couple of times before and know that it fits me well, and because it is intended for stretch denim, and the softshell fabric I bought has a similar amount of stretch. This is a project I’ve had planned for quite some time, and while I’m very happy with the result, it was a project fraught with difficulties.Continue reading →
I have been wanting to buy a couple of the Pattern Magic pattern cutting books for a while. The author, Tomoko Nakamichi, is a professor at the Bunka Fashion College in Japan. These books distil the methods taught at the school for creating slopers, and adds her wonderful creativity, playfulness and incredible ability to wrangle fabric into improbable forms. They have fairly recently been translated into English, but I wanted to take a look inside one before committing to a purchase. Last week, I managed to find copies in Waterstones, and instantly blew a book token I had been hoarding since my birthday on buying the first and second books.
The patterns in the book are based on the so-called ‘Bunka sloper’ as a starting point, and the instructions and figures in the book show you — with incredible precision and economy1 — how to alter the sloper to get the designs depicted. There was only one problem: the Bunka sloper is based on the average body dimensions of young Japanese women, and my middle-aged Western body is very far from that kind of shape (more’s the pity). Would the sloper work for me?Continue reading →
I remember learning at University about the intricate mechanisms involved in embryonic development. So many processes have to happen at just the right time, in just the right order, and in just the right amount to produce — for example — five separate digits on the end of the hand that it amazed me that any of us are born with the ‘standard’ body plan at all. Since I started fitting patterns, and more recently drafting patterns myself from scratch, I’ve been experiencing the same kind of wonderment: how did I ever buy anything ready made that even vaguely fitted me, when there are so many variables to account for?Continue reading →
My latest sewing project has been a lot of fun: Carolyn pyjamas. I’m normally a t-shirt and jersey pyjama trousers kind of person, but I was taken with this pattern for ‘posh pyjamas’. I bought the pattern, and then around my birthday, I made a special visit to John Lewis to get some fabric befitting of such fancy night attire.Continue reading →
I’ve just finished another pair of Ginger Jeans, this time the high-waisted View B version.Continue reading →
This past week, I finally finished a sewing project that has taken a long time, but which will hopefully be just the start of new sewing adventures: I finished making a shirt from a self-drafted pattern. Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos below. The light has been terrible for photography today!Continue reading →
When I last wrote about drafting patterns, I had made a muslin of my first draft and adapted the pattern to take into account my oddly-shaped legs, but had run out of muslin to test whether the modifications had worked1. In the intervening period, I’ve made a second muslin, drafted a long shorts pattern from the resulting sloper, and made the shorts. It all went swimmingly.Continue reading →