24 February 2013

FO: Mathilde blouse

Ok, this post has it all, guys: drama, tears, joy and one hella lovely blouse.

I think at this point, this patterns needs no introduction: it's the Mathilde Blouse, by Tilly (she of the buttons). First off, if you haven't already, go buy it! You won't be sorry.

Mathilde Blouse

It's a lovely button-back blouse, with front yoke, vertical tucks and puffed sleeves. All that loveliness in just one blouse.

When Tilly blogged about her original makes, I was green with envy. And when she announced that it was available for sale, I didn't even pause to think about what an incredible achievement that was - I just had to have it. And I was Tilly's first customer! But of course, now I've had plenty of time to think about it, and gosh... what an achievement! It's lovely - no?
Unfortunately, the vertical tucks are a bit hidden by the busy print - but if you peer closely, they are there! I used a light cotton lawn - it's a very dark navy blue with a lollipop tree design. I wouldn't want to go much heavier with this blouse - the sleeves in particular might be a bit too stiff. One day, when I'm all grown up, I might try this with a slippery fabric. But for now, cotton lawn suits me fine!

Mathilde Blouse

I used wooden buttons for the back closure (is it ok to use my rubbish "you can't see the wood for the trees" joke here?). As you can see from this photo, I could probably take some ease out of the mid/lower back (but do let me know if you think that would be unwise).

The fit is great. I cut a 2 at the bust, grading to 5 at the hips. I also added 2" length at the bottom, and an extra button. I didn't lengthen the sleeves, but I did remove 4" fullness from the bottom of the sleeve, just because at this length on me the sleeves felt a bit too full. I think this level of puff is just right for me. (Puffed sleeves always make me think of Anne of Green Gables!)

I just love this blouse. I'll be making it up again - I like the thought of a contrast yoke and shorter sleeves.

Mathilde Blouse
One happy customer!

So where's all the drama I promised? What about those tears? Ok, so brace yourselves - the next photo is pretty upsetting:

Let this be a lesson to those of you tempted to sew past midnight, when you already feel a little bit tired and that voice in the back of your head says "let's just finish this up tomorrow". Listen to that voice. And don't think you're above putting pins at each end the buttonhole before getting the seam ripper out.

I can't believe how stupid I was, but the proof is there. I didn't do too bad a job patching it up though...

You can't really notice it unless you're looking for it, and I don't expect many people will be paying that much attention to my lower back in any case.

And on the subject of buttonholes, my sewing machine (a Janome DC 3050) has a one-step buttonhole function. Hooray in theory. But in practise, it's a real jerk about it: jamming up for no reason, deciding it's done half way through, or seemingly losing interest and just stopping. I gave my machine a really good clean last week, so I don't think it's due to a build up of fluff, and it seems to do everything else with no problem. And I used a new needle for this make. Has anyone else had a similar problem? Any suggestions on how to deal with it? The most annoying thing is that I'll do half a dozen test buttonholes with no problem, but when it comes to working on the garment, the machine just starts playing up. It's like it knows!!!!!! Double grrr.

The sums
2m cotton lawn: £20 (from Fabrics Galore)
Mathilde pattern: £7
8 x wooden buttons: £5
Thread / interfacing: stash
Total: £32

A tad pricer than the usual make, but worth every penny.

Anyway, next up...  I haven't forgotten about my Moss mini skirt, but I also just received my Deer & Doe Sureau pattern, and also have an itch to sew up another Renfrew. Do you sometimes feel paralysed by too much choice?

Speak soon

15 February 2013

FO: Bailey hat

First things first, guys: today, I'm featured on the grainline patterns blog!

So exciting!

In other news, I haven't touched my sewing machine in two weeks. But I'm not in a sewing funk, nor have I misplaced my sewjo. In fact, I have three projects in various stages of ready-to-sew (mathilde blouse, moss skirt, jumbo cord a-line skirt). 

The reason for the no-sew, is simple: Mr P&N and I are stuck in Netflix. Currently we're watching House of Cards and Spiral, and they're both so gripping - it's impossible to want to do anything else of an evening.

But, while I can't sew while engrossed in TV, I can knit! So I made a hat!

I used the Bailey pattern by Jane Richmond and one skein of Malabrigo Worsted in Paris Night.

The pattern itself is well drafted, and pretty straightforward. There are options for a slouchier or fitted version. I went for the latter partly because I grew impatient, and wanted to wear it! (I haven't blocked it yet).

It basically uses a bramble stitch (also known as a trinity stitch, or raspberry stitch), which is very easy to remember (perfect if you can't tear your eyes away from the screen!).

I love a snuggly, warm hat, and Malabrigo worsted yarn certainly delivers! I'm not a big knitter, but it's definitely my go-to yarn for hats and scarves. I did use it for some arm warmers last year, and while they are very cosy, they pill like crazy - I certainly wouldn't use it for a sweater.

The colourway I used for this hat is "Paris Night", and it's a lovely mix of blues, purples and some grey. I do have a fair bit left, and am very tempted to stick a bobble (pom-pom) on top. Or maybe I'll use my various leftover bits of Malabrigo worsted to make a new, stripey hat with bobble. We shall see.

The sums
Bailey pattern: £3
Malabrigo yarn: £9 (from the Village Haberdashery)
Total: £12

Not too shabby.

I am hoping to get sewing this weekend. Not tonight, though - I've had a ghastly couple of days at work (the joys of middle management), and I think I deserve much vino.

Have a lovely weekend, and speak soon!

1 February 2013

FO: Sewaholic Renfrew top

me again, and so soon too!

But look, guys - I did it! I worked with a knit and it wasn't that bad after all!

I think I might be one of the last people in blogsville to try the Renfrew pattern. Better late than never, I suppose! So here it is:
(I don't know how to use this camera - on self-timer, it focuses for the background. So you get to see my living room clearly, but my Renfrew is a bit blurry. oops!)
I made a size 8-10. I deliberately went up a size from my usual in Sewaholic sizing because this knit is very stable and quite thick, and I didn't want it to be too fitted. That little fold on the bust seems only to have appeared for the photos - I can't seem to replicate it in front of the mirror, so perhaps it's just because of how I was standing? I made view C (with the cowl collar), which in this fabric makes it pretty cosy. The sleeves are the 3/4 length, but they hit my elbow so I might look to lengthen them next time.

As you can see there's some pooling of fabric in the back. I think next time I might add a central seam, and try to tweak the fit that way. But what do you think?

I think if I make it in a lighter knit, I'll have to rethink the sizing - perhaps go back down to 6-8. But I'd like to try this pattern in a sweater knit - I think I'll likely get more wear out of it that way. It's just not that easy to find a good sweater knit in the UK (but fellow UK sewists, please correct me if I'm wrong!). The fabric I used here is a double jersey (Melizza made a dress from the same fabric).

So sewing with knits wasn't the disaster I made myself believe it was. I'm not sure I'll go crazy with this pattern, but I am now more open to knits in general. Maybe a dress sometime?

The sums
1.5m double jersey: £12
Pattern: £10.50
Total: £22.50

And in other news ...

I'm going to the meet-up in Walthamstow tomorrow. Anyone else going? 

speak soon!