Saturday, 27 October 2012

Kwik by name, kwik by nature

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3758
Fabric: Navy cotton jersey and stripe cotton from Mason's
Size: M

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love Kwik Sew! They're so not like the other big pattern companies. The pattern paper is sturdy, the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the sizes are actually accurate.

I wanted something that was easy to throw on, but looked pretty and like I'd made an effort so I thought this would be just right. From cutting out to finishing I reckon it took no more than 5 hours and there was nothing confusing or scary along the way.

It's basically a t-shirt attached to a skirt with some elastic at the waist. And a really nice belt to create the high-waist look and the bow. And it has pockets. Yay!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Minxenstein's monster

Pattern: New Look 6802

Fabric: Check knit from Abakhan Fabrics

Size: 10 (eek!)

I've just made two New Look patterns in a row. For Big Minx's waistcoat I went down a size from what he would normally wear, and for my jacket I made a 12 but it turned out too big. So naturally, with this dress I decided to make a 10. It felt risky because I'm not really a 10, but based on past experience this would be the right fit. Wrong! It appears there is no science behind sewing pattern sizes. It fits well on top but the skirt was way too tight. It would possibly have worked on a more fitted item, but the result was simply a baggy tummy area and tight hips, therefore not the most flattering. I had already used the narrowest seam allowance I could get away with so there wasn't really any way to alter the skirt. What an error to think I could ever be a size 10! Top perhaps, but with those hips and that bum? HA!

Fitting aside for a minute, I made a number of changes along the way. I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it and thought it would make a fabulous winter dress. It is, however, a very thick knit and I soon realised that making the lovely twist front would just be too bulky and not sit nicely at all. So part way through I changed it a bit to just be a v-neck dress but that's fine. I still wanted the dress to have a feature so I added the red binding around the neckline which is the first time I've used binding. I just attached it at one edge so it stands up from the neckline. This doesn't fit brilliantly and gapes a bit but I understitched and it improved matters a bit.

I used tiny pleats on the front of the skirt rather than the gathers it calls for as I always find these look a bit clunky and messy. I unpicked the pleats as they looked weird and put in gathers. They made the seam far too bulky so I unpicked them and spread them out a bit. That looked totally weird so I unpicked them. I put pleats back in, but did box pleats this time and they look nice.

The skirt though. It hugs in all the wrong places and makes me look awful and frumpy. I don't want to not wear this after all the effort I've put in and the sleeves are so poufy and cute! So I've chopped the skirt off. It's now a top and I quite like it that way. Of course I have nothing to wear it with although it looks reasonable with a pair of jeans and today I wore it to work with my standard grey trousers.

I would like to make another in a lighter jersey with the twist front, and a skirt! I think I'll size up to a 12 skirt for that. Lesson learned.

The pattern was easy to follow, and it came together really quickly so would have been a roaring success if I didn't have curves.

So, it's pretty much nothing like what I started out making but whaddaya think?

Monday, 15 October 2012

A blaze(r) of glory?

Pattern: New Look 6035
Option A

Size: 12

Fabric: Grey pinstripe wool from Mason's

I've been lusting after grey blazers for what seems like forever but every time I try one on it either fits really badly or is sadly outside my price range. Last time I found one I really liked, Big Minx said to me "Yes, it's nice. Now go and make one like it". A good point well made.

I liked the look of this pattern as it's unlined and I felt like being a bit lazy. Interestingly, however, I think unlined is harder than lined! It means a lot of faffing around with attaching facings and making seams neat. There are no instructions on finishing seams but I couldn't just leave them scraggly, so did false French seams. If I had thought about it at the beginning I would have done proper French seams as false ones are actually harder work. I'm pleased with the finish though as it's the first time I've bothered with proper finishing.

As with the first jacket I made, I didn't make a muslin which was silly. In my head it was all quite simple and I could try it on as I go along. Which I did and as I was trying it on, I worried it was going to be too small. And then it ended up too big. ARGH!! I wonder if jackets will always be my nemesis or if I just buck up my ideas and do a muslin, I could get it right?

I wonder if I should unpick this and try to get a better fit as I suspect it will be relegated to the pile of things that I'll just fuss with every once in a while and decide I can't possibly wear. Anyone fancy altering it for me? I hate having to revisit something once I thought it was finished!

Here it is, photo taken by our home for the past four days, the lovely boat Sonia near Llangrannog in west Wales.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Best foot forward

Pattern: New Look 6166

Size: M

Fabric: Grey wool and blue lining from Mason's

It's exciting that all the autumn/winter patterns are being released and of course my want list is growing daily. One evening I exclaimed to Big Minx "oooh, New Look have made a double-breasted waistcoat pattern" to which he replied "Yes. Want one". Who am I to deny the wishes of such a stylish gent?

We trotted off to Mason's on Saturday morning, found some fabric, and I cracked on with it that afternoon. By the end of Sunday it was finished. "What do you mean, 'finished'?" exclaimed the recipient, incredulous! This was, indeed, a very quick job, especially as Big Minx didn't want pockets or collar (some of the pattern options). There isn't much to say about the pattern - everything made sense and it was really simple to follow. I used lining fabric for the back instead of the main fabric but otherwise didn't change anything.

I do, however, love a revelation, and this time it was in the form of a buttonhole foot. I've always used my normal sewing foot for everything, whether that be inserting invisible zips, or doing buttonholes. I decided I would actually try the buttonhole foot this time and oh my did it make a difference! I am so proud of these buttonholes which were super easy and look super neat. So I'll be using that beast again!

On an aside, I find it astounding how awful the visuals are on some sewing patterns. Who on earth wants to dress like the people on this one?! Surely it wouldn't hurt to get some stylists involved, New Look!

Here is the handsomest waistcoat wearer in all the land:


On another exciting note, my BFF's wonderful mum bequeathed to me her aunt's 1950s Singer 99k this weekend! I couldn't be more excited or touched by this incredible gift. She looks to be in great condition but as I assume she hasn't been used in many years, I'm going to take her in for a service before I use her. It's a no-frills machine that just does a straight stitch, but I believe it's possible to get attachments, such as a buttonhole attachment, which would certainly make life easier. I appreciate that mine isn't the furthest reaching blog, but if anyone happens to read this and owns a Singer 99k, I would love to hear how you get on.

Not my actual machine, but a close relation: