Gingers for cycling

Front of cycling Gingers

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

Making a Bunka-style sloper

sewing View comments

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

Self-drafted shirt version 2.0

sewing View comments

Full view of shirt as worn

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

Carolyn pyjamas

sewing View comments

Carolyn pyjamas

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

Self-drafted shirt

sewing View comments

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

Drafting Hobbit trousers

sewing View comments

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

Drafting patterns

sewing View comments

When I started sewing, I never thought that I would have a go at drafting patterns, but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past few days. When you draft a pattern, you start with your measurements (or the measurements of whoever you are making clothes for), and a blank piece of paper, and you create a pattern from scratch. It has always seemed like a really daunting process, but I came across a series of classes on Craftsy.

Continue reading

Latest sewing projects

sewing View comments

I haven’t written much about sewing recently, but that’s mostly because I’ve been too busy doing it to write about it! I thought it might be time to do a round up of what I’ve been making recently, as much to remind me what I have made as anything else. Earlier in the year, I attended a wedding. Some of you may remember the extreme reluctance with which I approached the prospect of having to go clothes shopping when I found myself in a similar situation a few years ago.

Continue reading

Abracada-Bra

sewing View comments

I was planning to give everyone a break from my rattling on about sewing this week and write about something else, but then I went and made a bra, and apparently, I can’t shut up about it1. If you wear a bra, you know that all bras go bad. It may start the day feeling comfortable, but by the end of the day, you feel as if you’re being pinched and stabbed by tiny, bad-tempered demons.

Continue reading