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Crazy Cat Lady Leggings

23 October 2014, 13:52

I mentioned at the end of a post earlier this month that I cut into the kitten-face lycra Fleur brought me from the Garment District and made some leggings, but they weren’t finished at the time, and I owed you more photos.

I wanted to minimise the disruption to the print as much as possible (I could hear the kitties screaming every time I chopped through a face!), so I used KwikSew 3636, which is a one-piece legging pattern with no seams running down th outside legs. Coincidentally, this is also the pattern I also in my Lovely Leggings classes (and there’s still time to join this Sunday’s class if you sign up now!), so it’s super quick and great for beginners, too. Perfect for showcasing a wild print!

We were out in Wiltshire at the weekend visiting a friend, so I wore these for a little walk around her village. They actually work surprisingly well as casualwear, especially paired with my trench jacket I made in 2010 and still wear regularly!

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A Coat Muslin Downer & a Pick-me-Upper

8 October 2014, 13:38

Remember a few weeks ago when I took a quick trip down to Brighton and came back with some gorgeous wool coating and vintage Italian silk lining from Ditto? Of course you do!

Well, as shown in the photo above, I bought it intending to make the StyleArc Audrey pattern to be a transitional Fall “car coat” (heavier than a jacket, but not a full-on winter coat). So having arrived home to decidedly Fall weather, I thought I should get a move on with this coat or else it’ll be too cold before I can make it!

So I pulled out my Audrey pattern, cut out all the million pattern pieces (the attention to detail is really terrific – the lining and facing pieces are exquisitely drafted rather than just carbon-copies of the exterior), and made a muslin.

I know muslins can be super useful, especially for fit problems, but there’s something about them that makes me lose all enthusiasm for a pattern once I see it made in beige, crumbled fabric held together with pins and covered in Sharpie marks. I think I’ve probably dumped more coat patterns at the muslin stage than any other garment (let’s all try to erase the Armani coat muslin horror from our minds… oops)! I put this one on, looked in the mirror and thought…. meh.

So I recruited James and a friend for second opinions. They both gave it the thumbs down, then started going through the list of things that could be done to improve it, lengthen here, take out fullness here, etc etc. Err, no – for something that’s supposed to be “fun sewing” I’d rather just dump this and use another pattern I haven’t yet lost all enthusiasm for!

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Acid Trip Leggings and a Not-Sacrificial Sweatshirt

28 February 2014, 13:12

A few months ago Rosie (aka DIY Couture) gifted me this crazy, mind-melting lycra when she was moving house, saying it looked like something I’d like! It definitely falls into the “fabric I’d run in” category rather than my normal wardrobe, I’m sure you’ll agree, so I knew I’d make leggings from it!

As it happens, I needed to test out KwikSew 3636 for a leggings class I’ll be teaching soon (yay!) so I thought I’d whip up a quick pair with this lycra, which I’ve decided is an acid trip in lycra form. In reality like it’s even more loud than the print itself though – because it’s actually wet look, too!

I mean – who looked at this fabric and though “Nah, not enough. How can we make it CRAZIER? I know – add some wet look shimmer!”?

If you’re a regular reader, you know I don’t often sew with Big Four or envelope patterns much these days (and especially not for something I draft myself, like leggings) but credit where credit’s due – I was impressed by this pattern, actually! It’s a one-piece pattern with two different fit options – one at 100% of body measurement, and the other with negative ease. Clearly I went for the negative ease one!

I was also impressed that they finish the waistband in my preferred method, which I’ve never, ever seen on a pattern before!

Cutting out the pattern made for some stomach-churning moments – don’t stare directly at the fabric! Lucky for me I only had to cut out one piece, and the construction was so quick I was wearing them in well under an hour.

During the photoshoot, James asked why I was “going all Sasha Fierce”, ahahahah! Blame it on my acid leggings, I suppose!

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Open-backed Splatter tank top

23 July 2013, 17:45

It’s not quite a “Quick Knit Top” in my eyes, but I wanted to try out one of the running top patterns I selected in my Spring/Summer 2013 Sewing Ideas before I jumped headfirst into sewing another pair of jeans. I pulled out KwikSew 3672, which my mom bought for me a while back in one of the pattern sales you all get in the US. Otherwise KwikSew tend to be pretty expensive over here and I’d probably never got around to trying it!

Despite being a fairly recent pattern, it’s already OOP so act fat if you like the design lines! I’ve only made the top this time, but I think the skirt could be perfect for travelling if made in a hefty jersey. The splatter-print jersey I used here is from Minerva – it’s a bit 80s but I thought it’d do nicely as a test-top as its soft and has a nice weight. For the shelf bra lining I used a lingerie nylon(?) but in future I’d suggest something more supportive yet breathable like power net. Obviously for heavy-duty running I’d use a wicking supplex for the exterior, but for several reasons I’ll go into below, this pattern isn’t suited for running anyway.

I never trust Big 4 sizing any more so even though my measurements matched up perfectly with size Large, I still laid my jersey sloper over the nested pattern and ultimately decided Large was probably the best bet anyway.

Even though my fabric isn’t anywhere near as stretchy as the guide on the pattern envelope (who actually uses those, anyway??), the fit is still very nice, and as far as I can tell, very true to size considering I was smack-dab in the Large measurement range! I’d definitely describe this as close-fitting though, and the length feels just about perfect to me, too. The only fitting issue that surprised me is how high the neckline is in front! This feel seriously matronly to me – I’d normally have this at least 3 or 4 inches lower in a running top!

This pattern has an shelf bra, which contains the bulk of my problems with the pattern: the finishing of the under-bust elastic leaves exposed elastic against the skin (what?), an unfinished (albeit small) top edge inside, and unflattering and bad gathers that neither support nor make for clean finishing.

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Spring 2013 Sewing Ideas

30 April 2013, 13:52

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my asymmetric Drape Drape teeshirt! A girl could get used to that level of flattery…

It also marks the start of my sewing short sleeves, which means it must finally be Spring, and hence, time to start thinking about marrying up the patterns and fabrics I’d like to sew for the next few months. I really do these only for my own benefit, and so they’re not a “SWAP” in the sense that everything must coordinate against each other (lord knows I have enough clothes that I don’t have problems putting combinations together!).

This is more just a set of ideas towards which I’d like to work, so when I get to the end of a project, I can quickly refer to this image and go “oh yeah, I want to sew that next!”

For the first time I’m also including running/exercise gear in my plans, since I’m wearing lycra as a significant portion of my weekly wardrobe, and I want to contain all of my sewing ideas together. So you’ll find all the running stuff on the bottom row, and the rest of life’s wear on the upper two rows!

Top row:

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Racy lacy lingerie set

8 February 2010, 11:23

When fellow blogger Sigrid visited me last May, she brought along a birthday gift for me – a fantastic lingerie kit from Kantje Boord (a big lingerie notions shop in Amsterdam), full of really cool goodies you only ever see on high-end RTW underwear. In fact, it was all so nice that I was hesitant to cut into it as my bra-making skills are not quite as polished as the rest of my sewing yet.

But Pattern Review are having their first-ever Lingerie sewing contest, so that gave me the impetus to cut into the kit!

I planned on making the same partial-band, underwired bra I’d sewn once before (twice if you count the muslin) with a few improvements, plus my TNT thong panty from KnipMode, and, as it turns out, I was able to squeeze a camisole out of the yardage included in the kit, too!

Camisole


We’ll start with the largest item first, even though I made it last… This one was really easy – I started with a RTW knit vest (tank top if you’re American) that I really liked, laid it on my fabric and traced the front, then did the same with the back.

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Marni silk blouse - muslin cold feet

15 January 2010, 12:14

In light of NancyK’s conclusion that KnipMode designer knockoffs aren’t as thoroughly tested as the rest of their patterns, I decided to make a muslin of the KnipMode August 09 Marni catwalk blouse before cutting into my nice teal silk satin (charmeuse).

Only now that I’ve got my bedsheet muslin done, I’m unsure about whether I like it or not. Now, you do have to use a bit of imagination here to block out the busy bedsheet prints (in reality, it’ll all be one solid teal colour, plus collar and cuffs):

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KnipMode & KwikSew Lingerie Set

24 February 2009, 12:24

Wow, I’m really falling behind with my photos, it feels like so long ago that I finished all these lacy bits! But then again, I bought the brown and turquoise bra kit from eLingeria.de way back in January 2008 so I suppose a week or so isn’t much in the lifespan of this fabric!

The kits from eLingeria.de give you all the bits you need to make one bra and two panties – really soft, stretchy microfibre, stretch lace, elastic, bra straps, underwire channeling, hooks, and the strap loops and findings. The only thing I needed to buy extra were the underwires, since they’re so size-specific. I really enjoyed sewing these, and having the kit meant I didn’t have to gather all the materials in matching colours on my own, so I’m definitely going this route again. €20 for a matching lingerie set is a steal, even with the current exchange rate!

The bra pattern is KwikSew 3300, which I extensively reviewed when I sewed my first bra toile a few weeks ago, only this time I used the right elastic so it fits!

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Sewing my first bra

26 January 2009, 14:08

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at bra-making for over a year now, but I just kept putting it off because it seemed so complicated and easy to mess up and I didn’t want to ruin the really pretty fabrics I’d bought for it. So my bra-making ambitions sat in a box, waiting… Until I saw that thesewingchest.co.uk was giving away free toile kits with any bra pattern purchase and knowing that I’d have all the fabric and bits I’d need to make a bra, but without the worry of ruining one finally gave me the courage to try!

Even though I have two bra patterns I bought last year, I picked up KwikSew 3300 plunge bra – and made View B with both lower and upper cups in lined cloth as my muslin. View A has the upper cup in lace, which I’ll try next…

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Patterns To Trace

16 January 2009, 11:18

Recently I’ve been doing more batch tracing rather than tracing one pattern, sewing it up, then tracing the next. I find my sewing bottleneck is often in the tracing step (even though it doesn’t take much time), so by doing a bunch at once I can always have something on the go to work on in the mornings and evenings.

I’ve been mentally matching up my patterns to fabrics in my stash and tracing an awful lot the last few nights. Here’s what I’ve got coming up in the next few weeks, though you can see my plans have had to change somewhat to focus more on comfortable knits…

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The Big Fleecy

29 January 2008, 12:14

My boyfriend James has a RTW fleece that he loves, but it’s getting scraggly and it’s a bit too thin to be useful when we work outside a lot. He’s been bugging me to recreate him a new one for a while now, and I recently picked up KwikSew 2561 which I thought would be easier than just tracing his old one. He bought the fleece from cheapfabrics.co.uk since we knew how nice and thick it was from our earlier fleece adventures. After the mental gymnastics of the Pendleton wool jacket, I decided it was time to make something simple!

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