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!!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Lace Camas Blouse

Presenting the Camas blouse from Thread Theory, which is described as "the unrestricted comfort of a t-shirt and the put together elegance of a blouse". 

This isn't really the kind of blouse I would usually choose, because I prefer a more fitted look.  But what attracted me was the opportunity to use some stretch lace in my stash on the shoulders and yoke.

The pattern is a pdf (yes another one, even though I really do hate all the extra work!).  The yoke was easy to fit and it gives a nice neat finish inside.  I used the black jersey in the inside yoke and lace on the outside.  Because I was using un-lined lace I didn't follow the instructions to hide the shoulder seams in the yoke, because they would have shown through the lace .

I cut a size 12, but found it just too baggy, so I took another 5/8" in at the waist for a more fitted look.  The other major change I made was to raise the neckline by 1" as the original would have been too low for me.

This was a fairly straightforward sew, although the placket is fiddly to fit, being so narrow!  You need to use lots of pins to ease around the curved neck (I used stretch fusible interfacing, which I don't think was necessary, non-stretch would have done the job and been cheaper).

I didn't manage to get a neat finish at the hem edge of the placket, you can see how it has sort of bowed rather unattractively.  It's difficult not to get stretch when you are adding a placket to a stretch fabric. 

Rather than top stitching the placket as per the instructions I stitched in the ditch as I thought the placket was rather narrow to top-stitch (plus I'm not sure how neat I could have got the topstitching on jersey).  I didn't make button-holes, choosing to sew the buttons through both plackets as the blouse easily pulls over my head.

I like the blouse out with jeans.  It can be worn tucked in, but if I'm going to wear it like this then I'll have to remove the two bottom buttons because they are too bumpy tucked in (you can just see this in the first photo).  But here it is to give you an idea.


I don't think I'll make another Camas, but I love the contrast lace trim and so I will be looking for another pattern which offers this option.  The other thing I loved was the cotton jersey fabric.  It is a really good weight, warm and buttery.  It's lovely quality at £9.75 and I used 1.25m.  The fabric comes from The Cloth House, which is fast becoming one of my favourite on-line shops (for quality fabrics as its not cheap).  They send really good size samples which cost £3.50 for 5, and when you order the fabric you get a tag with washing instructions.  I'll be getting more of this jersey in the cream and the grey.

I've had a hard week at work, so I've really appreciated my sewing down time.  I'm in the middle of a Robson coat and a wool jacket, so slower more challenging projects. 

We have had a little snowfall, though it didn't last, beautiful on the hills though, and I leave you with a little Cumbrian scenery.


If you watched Wolf Hall last week, you may have thought you spotted Rosie!  Couldn't find a photo but the dog in Anne Boleyn  entourage bore more than a passing resemblance (although a neater hair cut).  Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Lady Skater Seagull dress

This is my second Lady Skater dress from Kitchy Coo.  Its a very straightforward pattern.  I cut a size 4 which is pretty much identical to my measurements, and this is pretty much straight out of the packet.

The fit is pretty good, although it's only when I see the photos that I think the style makes me look pretty busty!

I got the fabric from the Village Haberdashery, who have some funky knits (though this one is sold out now).  When I bought it I did think it was more of a duck egg colour, and it isn't a true grey.  What I don't like about it is that when stretched the white backing shows through.  You can probably see this from the neckband in the photo, where it is clearly lighter in colour.  It also isn't as stretchy as the other pontes I have used and the neckband could have done with being a little longer.

I also think I should have been a little more careful about seagull placement!!  I didn't really intend to have a flock placed just on my left-boob!

I made the short sleeve version because I wanted to wear it with a cardie in winter and I thought the short sleeves would be more comfortable, and this is indeed a comfy dress.  I would definitely recommend this as an easy to make, easy to wear pattern.

I've got lots of sewing planned; another tailored Gertie Jacket, another McCall's shirtwaister, a Camas jersey blouse, a crepe colour-blocked dress, a Deer and Doe Sureau dress, Ginger Jeans, to list a few.  I have all this fabric waiting and so I am desperately trying not to buy any more fabric or patterns until I've made at least 12 garments from my fabric/pattern stash!

What I also want to do is to try some new skills in 2015;

a lapped zip
more tailoring including pad stitching and using horsehair
welt pockets
making covered buttons
flat felled seams
attaching belt loops
adding horsehair braid to a hem
inserting a double ended zip
lining a skirt vent
making a waist stay
sewing a bias-cut garment
get more confident sewing with silk
Make a pair of jeans
Make a bra and pants
Make some really well-fitting trousers

I really want to improve the fit of my garments.  There are too many in my wardrobe where the fit isn't great, especially too tight in the bust.  I have got to crack the full-bust adjustment rather than just trying to put a little more fabric in the seam.

So I'm joining in The Little Tailoress' Fun with Fit series.  We are going to make a sloper using Butterick 5627, so I'm hoping I'll learn a lot!     Do you have any crafting plans?

Friday, 2 January 2015

The Oslo Christmas Cardigan

I expected to see more Oslo  cardies around the blogasphere.  The pattern is from the new Colette Seamwork e-magazine. The magazine is free, but you can pay extra ($6)  for patterns.  The three patterns this month are the Oslo cardigan, a bag and clutch.   The patterns are advertised as being a 2 hour maximum make.  I think that is possible, it took me a bit longer because I sew using the machine and then overlock after.  I'm not confident that the stitch line is strong enough just on the overlocker (maybe I've not got the tension right?)  The overlocker also decided not to co-operate and it took me about an hour of fiddling to get it working again!  So I think in total I spent about 3 1/2 hours sewing and it was a really enjoyable project.   There are also discount codes (15% off dragonfly fabrics at the moment).

So to the cardigan.  I really wanted a cosy, comfy warm cardie to wear over Christmas.  I really wanted a plain grey boucle knit but there was very little choice in the UK.    In the end I went for this rather pricey striped fabric, but it is absolutely lovely.  The effect is just what I wanted.  It can be casual wrapped around, or with a belt a bit smarter to wear with a skirt.  I didn't bother with a self-belt or the buttons.

Did I mention it's snuggly!

I wore this on Christmas Eve at Dan and Gemma's where we celebrated Christmas early with presents, dinner and a film (The Book Thief).  The dogs were given Santa hats!

Don't worry these were only worn for a few moments! They've both had a hair cut since then!   On Christmas Day Dan was working so I didn't see him for the first time in 23 years!  Rather sad, but had a nice dinner round at my friends and I saw in the New Year at the local pub.

Paula Quinn's photo.

Mostly I've just enjoyed the rest.  Lots of sewing though not all successful.  I tried to make a Colette Zinnia to wear on Christmas day, and I really, really didn't like it.  It was most unflattering, even worse than it looks on the dummy.  Not even good enough to go to a charity shop, and I won't be making another of these.  As you can see it is version 3, with a  chiffon overskirt and satin underskirt.  The idea was good, but it just didn't work.  Oh well, you can't win them all.  Another flop turns out to be the Francoise dress I blogged about last week.  I wore it to work and just couldn't stand the neckline which really irritated me around the neck.  I need to remember I just don't like high necklines.

I had a really nice birthday on the 29th, spending the day with Dan, Gemma arriving after work and watching Dallas Buyers Club (good film) in the evening.

Jess seems a bit happier in the hat (though Dan is holding it on!)

 There has been a lot of rain here in Cumbria, but we have managed a couple of lovely sunny, frosty walks.


So that's Christmas 2014.  Hope you all have a really good year, with lots of happy sewing and knitting!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Yona coat

I made a coat, an oversized boyfriend coat and I love it.

I think there is something about making coats which make you feel rather clever.  Actually this is a relatively easy coat, and probably a good choice for a first go at a coat.  The baggy style means you don't have to worry about fitting.  The pattern is Named Yona Coat.  Unfortunately I had to get it on PDF, which I absolutely hate.   It just seems to take ages, and no matter how I try never quite seems to go together absolutely perfectly.    Having printed out the pattern and spent more than an hour sticking together and tracing (which you have to do on this pattern due to overlaps) I finally decided to check the size of the box (yes, I know crazy, you are supposed to do this before you print out) and it was too small, so I had to print, stick and trace again!  That was at least 4 hours work and I would far rather pay the small premium for a paper pattern.  This pattern was only available on PDF and I do like it.  It maybe a little too baggy though, and I could have stuck with the slightly smaller first version.  I cut my usual 38" bust, grading down a little at the waist.  The pattern does look very different on the website made with a wrap and belt, but with buttons it does look different.

The fabric is boucle wool, bought through ebay and a really good value satin lining (£2.50 a metre) also from ebay.

It's a really comfy coat, though to make it warm you would need to interline, and I didn't do this.  I did do bound button holes (too dark to show on a photo).  The coat was pretty much a doddle to make.  The main difficulty was getting the collar together with the layers.  I used my new clapper to press the thicker bits much flatter.  I know a clapper is only a bit of wood but it definitely makes a difference when pressing thicker fabrics and I think it will make my jackets and wool items much better.  Definitely recommended, though it is only a bit or wood and you don't need to purchase a specific clapper to get the same effect.

Also wearing the coat in piccie 1 with my new crochet cowl.  Here's a photo before joining together.

I did get rid of that strange purple row on the right.  This is a complete copy of Gillian's lovely cowl(hope you don't mind Gillian!).  I had a lot of left over bits of baby cashmero from my blanket and this has made a really cosy warm cowl, just right for the weather now. 

I am very, very happy to be welcoming more readers on Bloglovin.  It's great to know that others are interested in my meanderings!  Happy Christmas if you are reading this on the 25th, or hope you had a great time if it is later.  Because Dan is working a 12 hour shift on Christmas day we had our celebration today and had a lovely time.  I'll leave you with a photo of my lovely boys Christmas 2000 and our much loved dog Kerry.