Sunday, 22 March 2015

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

So the 61 steps are finally completed and here is my Grainline duffle coat.

It was a lot of work and quite a challenge, but I'm pretty pleased with the final result.


It's very comfortable to wear, though a spring rather than winter coat, as the fit is too snug to fit a very thick sweater, and I didn't add any extra lining for warmth.  I cut a size 12 and the only change I made was to take an extra 3/4" off the shoulders and sleeve length.

There were many challenges, and not least sewing around 8 layers when fitting the zip, it only just fitted under my walking foot, and there were times when I had to pull quite firmly to get the fabric through!  The was my first time in completing lots of techniques:

First time fitting a open-ended zip, following the steps this was fairly straightforward except for the multi-layers.

First time sewing leather with the toggles.  This was the hardest task for me, trying to sew in a neat circle and this is one of the better ones!  I don't think anyone will actually notice, but certainly I wasn't too successful in attaching the toggles.  You also need to space them out quite tightly as the leather ties stretch a lot.

Still, I really do like the toggles.  They were a bargain from Amazon, only £4.20 including postage and they came quickly even though I ordered them from America!

I love the fabric, even though it frayed like mad.  Its a wool with some synthetic content and good value at £13.00 a metre, the black yoke was some left-over melton wool.  I used a very slippy and quite substantial lining.  I have found the lining on the sleeves a little long.

This was the first time I have bagged a lining, with the help of the excellent sewalong it wasn't too difficult.  You fully sew the lining to the coat .....
You don't think it will ever work, but you pull everything through a gap in the sleeve lining.

Most of my pattern matching worked well, look at the continuation of the body stripe through the sleeves!  The collar worked well (though again the layers are challenging).

The only real  problem is the hem.  I ended up with a problem on the left size which you can see here, its been pulled up a bit (and this is wear a bagged lining makes it very difficult to sort out problems).  My attempt to sort it out made it worse, when I trimmed the wrong line, so there is nothing I can do now, I can just about live with it though, and I've worn the coat twice already.

I think this is a great pattern, though definitely not for the faint hearted.  It took me almost two days just to cut out the pieces.  The sewalong was a great help, though the pattern itself is pretty clear.

First time was mothering Sunday at Dalemain House near Penrith, where Dan and I went for lunch.

Lovely sunny day!

.... and lots of lovely flowers

 ... and a lovely basket of flowers from Dan and Gemma delivered.

It's been a really hard week at work, though successful and so I've just enjoyed a weekend of sewing, mostly my wool jacket, but I'm also slip-stitching 14 metres of bias-binding onto my walk-away dress, which is almost finished.
We have a new member of the family, Dan and Gemma have a westie puppy, called Monty, so cute.


Night, night!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A lacy Linden

I've been deep into making a Grainline duffle coat which will hopefully be finished this weekend (there are 61 steps!) and making a tailored jacket at my sewing class, so I felt like a quick make, enter the Grainline Linden sweatshirt as I could definitely do with something warm and cuddly in the Cumbrian weather we are having.

 I cut a size 12, but a pin fitting showed it was too big, so I sewed all the seams at 5/8" rather than the 1/4" as set.   I think this makes it easier to handle than the 1/4" which would make it impossible to overlock the seams.   I still think it's too big.  You can see a lot of room in the sleeves, the back ....

and particularly at the tummy area.  I think next time I might even go down to a size 8.

I made the view B with view A sleeves (though just folder over the sleeve hem rather than using the rib).  I would prefer the neckline to be a little higher.

I added 2" to the length, I might even add an extra inch next time (I'm only 5'4" so it would be very short without the added inches on a tall person).  I wanted to make it a little different so just added some scraps of stretch lace to the shoulder seams.  I just topstitched around the scallops and basted to the shoulder seam then sewed as normal, I think it adds a little individuality.  I decided to use some black rib to match the lace.  I think the rib could be a little wider.  Just as an aside I ordered 1/4 yard of ribbing and I only used a tiny bit, I think it would last for lots of projects.  The ribbing and fabric came from My Fabrics.

 The fabric turned out to be a bit disappointing.  It's lovely a warm with a fleecy inside, and a really nice shade of teal, but when I washed it it ended up patchy and half of it had a strange self-stripe which made it look like seconds.  I should have returned it really as it wasn't cheap for sweatshirt fabric.  My Fabrics have a great range of fabrics, but perhaps the attention to quality isn't as good.

The final sweatshirt is very wearable and warm.   I want to make another from Liberty Fleece as  have been really inspired  by Karyn's 3 liberty sweatshirts.  Rather extravagant, I know, but what a treat!  Karyn's blog is great she uses such lovely fabrics, have a look!

I can't believe we are at the final stage of the Great British Sewing Bee already (wonder why this series is 2 episodes shorter).  I've really enjoyed it and I've taken some inspiration.  My walkaway dress should be finished next weekend, I've used up some more of my lace oddments on a silk T which has just been cut out, and I really am fancying trying a leather jacket!  I liked Lorna's jacket with Neil's collar.  I've managed to track down Lorna' pattern, so who knows maybe I will be brave if I can get hold of some leather, or better still some really high quality faux leather.

Have you made a Linden or have any recommendations for some quick makes?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Solja sweater and another Mabel skirt

This is the first time I've made a yoked scandanavian-style jumper. 

This is the Solja by Anna Maltz from Pompom quarterly magazine. I really like this magazine.  It's A5 size and comes beautifully wrapped which feels like a real treat.  At £9.50 I think it's good value.   There are usual several patterns I would like to knit, articles on all kinds of wooly topics and a sweet recipe! 

Image result for pom pom quarterly

I've got my eye on the cardigan on the cover of this quarter's issue!  I knitted the second size which is quite roomy (I have a loose tension!).   I reduced the sleeve length by an inch and they are still a bit too long!

The body has a little lace repeated pattern.

The sleeve was supposed to have this pattern too, but I just couldn't be bothered to try and work out the pattern among the increases on the sleeves, so I knitted them in straight stocking stitch.  The yoke is easy to knit.  I just changed the colour choices.  The wool is Navia Trio, Faroese Shetland wool. I bought it from Island Wool, the colours seem to have changed and the pink, maroon and mustard don't seem to be available any more.   I was worried that it might be itchy, but it isn't at all, it really is very comfortable for a 100% Shetland wool.

I'm wearing the jumper with another Collete Mabel (number 7!).  This time version 1, though I lengthened it by 3 inches (too old for a proper mini I'm afraid).  This was some pretty cheap and grotty ponte roma (really I'm trying to find some plaid ponte but this was the nearest in a dogtooth).  It's a reasonable fit and I like it with thick tights and chunky ankle boots.

Just in case you have noticed I only blogged a jumper three weeks ago, no I'm not a superfast knitter I've just let my knitting pile up a bit waiting to be blocked, and so they seem to be appearing thick and fast. 

I'm rather glad February is almost over, it is a difficult month for me, and the weather is so gloomy at the moment, an excuse to get in a lot of sewing!  I'm in the middle of the Cascade duffle-coat sewalong; I've just cut out the Walkaway dress and a Linden sweatshirt, so I'm a busy girl.  Roll on next weekend!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

McCall's 6696 Shirtwater number 2

This is my second attempt at McCall's 6696 and generally I'm happier still with the result (first one blogged here).  My last version was a bit baggy on the waist and this time I graded from a slightly generous 14 1/2 to a 12 at the waist.  This made it look very angled on the pattern, but it seems to have worked.

I took out my usual 1"from the bodice length as I have a high waist.  What I love about this pattern is that it has a C cup size, without having to do a full-bust adjustment.  It is really fitted, but feels comfortable.  I made the belt loops this time, and I do like it with a belt.

What I forgot to do is to take 2" from the back gathering as I did the first time, so it is a little "puffy" but not too bad.

The fabric is the same as my bruyere shirt, but in the burgundy colourway.   There is an olive colourway too, perhaps I'll get some of that too.  I love this fabric.   Its great to sew, soft but with some structure.

I think the other thing I love about this dress is how neat you can make it inside.

I used French seams throughout, and this was my first time using French seams for the sleeves.   I wasn't sure how this would work, but it went well and wasn't much more difficult. I missed out the pockets, which I don't really use so that the side seams were neat.

I'm pleased with this dress (though a short-sleeved cotton dress isn't that seasonal).  I'll be making at least one more version, this time in liberty carline tana lawn (the purple colourway) which I got for the bargain price of £6 per meter from Standfast and Barracks in Lancaster.  It will be thinner, so one for more spring like weather.
I'm enjoying a few days off over half term and taking a pattern cutting class on trousers (more later), so lots of sewing fun and challenge!  Hope you are having some sewing fun!

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Cravat-necked sweater; a bit of vintage warmth

Time for a bit of knitting.  This is the Cravat-necked sweater from Runway Knits.  It is a very simple sweater, just stocking stitch and rib, and I would say is a pretty easy knit for the knitting beginner.    I bought my book second hand for a few pounds on Amazon.  The have a copy for 79p at the moment.

The cravat is knitted separately as a sort of ribbed rectangle and then just sewed on.  The only difficulty I had was setting the sleeve cap which was a bit square shaped and has left the shoulder a bit puffed up.

I knit the size 35", which should work out at 3" of negative ease (though I knit rather loosely and so I usually do size down).  I took one inch out of the bodice length as I have a high waist.

I love the  shape giving you such a fitted waist and I'm pretty happy with the fit.  I am wearing it here with my Butterick 5391 skirt and I wore this outfit to work today with a black jacket.

I love this wool.  I knitted my sweater in Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK and it is lovely.  So snuggly, soft and warm.  I had this sweater on during the dog walk today and I had to take my coat off because I was so warm!  The cravat, being a high neck makes it even warmer.  This wool is a delight to knit with and has excellent stitch definition if you like that pronounced look.  I realise I look a bit like a sweater girl here!  I guess this style definitely accentuates your assets!

Sorry about the poor quality photos, and the rather odd lines (which aren't there in real life), but I think Tess is trying to say she is bored waiting for her walk!

I knit quite a lot when I'm infront of the telli (I hate not having something to do with my hands).    Other knitting projects are on my Ravelry page.  I might well knit this one again in the future, perhaps in a mustard colour.  Are you knitting anything at the moment? Thanks for your comments, it is lovely to hear from others.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Sewaholic Robson Coat

My second coat this winter.  This time the Sewholic Robson Coat.  I have to admit that yet again I got sucked in by a sew-along, rather than this being a garment I either love or need, and I have to say that I feel pretty ambivalent about the finished item. 

The sewalong was held by Rhonda, but it turned out to be more a number of tutorials rather than a sewalong which took you logically through all the construction.  This meant there were still bits which puzzled me about the construction.  I think this ended up to be the most challenging garment I've made, and I'm not really sure it was worth it!  The sewalong ended in December.  I spent most of my Christmas 2 week holiday sewing it and the fact that I've only just finished indicates how much work there is in this coat.  I did take a break because I actually got fed-up of it.  This all sounds a bit negative I know.

I cut a size 12, grading to a 10 at the waist.  I followed Rhona's suggestion to make the sleeve cap bigger, because my upper arms often need the space, however, I think this was a mistake.  You can see there is too much fabric in the upper arm, and as for the sleeve length ......

I reduced the sleeve length by 1.5" and they are still far too long.

 I'll have to keep my hands in my pockets.

One of the reasons it takes so long is that every seam is bound by bias binding (pretty insides though).  Because the sleeves are wool, I lined them.

This meant there were lots and lots of layers to fit in the bias binding!  You can get the idea below.
You can probably tell from the photos that the yoke pieces would have been much better if I had interfaced them as they stick out a little floppily.

There are bit I am very pleased about.  There was lots of top-stitching and generally I was very pleased with the result.

The collar fitted well and the epaulettes are cute.  The wool looks lovely with the gabardine. 

The coat was only time rich. it cost very little.  The light sage gabardine was only £5.99 per metre and I used 3 metres.  The wool was cheap from Abakan and was in my stash.  The bias binding was probably the most expensive part, you need 12 metres!  It's wearable, but I'm not excited!

So have I learnt not to get pulled in by the lastest sewalong!  Not at all, I'm afraid I've already bought my fabric for Grainline's Cascade duffle coat.  Yes, another coat, I must be a glutton for punishment, but I've always wanted a duffle coat, and it's a lovely pattern (not that the pattern is available in the UK yet!).    So is it just me or do you get distracted too!!