I hope you’re all having a nice Christmas holiday! This is the first of two posts where I can finally show you what I made my niece and nephew for Christmas, now that they’ve received their gifts and my dad has very kindly taken some photos for us (in my opinion, he’s outdone himself here!).
I started thinking about this gift in October, when my parents were visiting London. We talked about what to make for my nephew Logan, who’s eleven, but there are hardly any patterns out there for tween (or teen) boys that aren’t that same, freaking button-down shirt (I think I could wallpaper the boat in copies of that button-down shirt pattern – news to pattern producers – try harder! ) !
My mom suggested Logan might like another hoodie, so I found one with great lines over at Lekala, so I just entered in his measurements and voila, a pdf pattern arrived, made to fit. (FYI, Lekala have a new, more user-friendly site so if you were confused with the ordering system on the original site, you might want to give the new site a try!)
I used Lekala 7160 (which isn’t on the new site yet) – a sweatshirt with yoke, dropped shoulder, three-piece hood, upper centre front zipper, and topstitched, in-seam pockets.
I normally buy my sweatshirting from Pennine Outdoor, but I was also buying for my mom and we wanted a bigger colour selection so we ended up buying the “Royal blue” sweatshirting from Josery, a new-to-me, UK-made textile mill. I’ll definitely be using more of their fabrics in future, as they’ve got a massive colour selection and a ton of ribbed knit to match their sweatshirting, too. I already had some black ribbing and black sweatshirting scraps on hand so I used them here as accents.
Big, big thanks for my Dad for taking Logan out on a mini fishing trip and taking these photos in a nice, relaxed environment!read more >>
I know everyone goes through periods of extreme busy-ness and stress, but I feel like the past 6-8 weeks have just been nonstop with barely a pause to catch my breath! You’ll have to accept my apologies for not going into these various sewing happenings in full – I’m saving my writing time for my finished garments!
So, without further ado, a catchup on the last few weeks’ goings on…
1. The day after I arrived back from Amsterdam, my parents arrived for a visit! Among other things, they brought with them a big stash of Suziplex wicking lycra that Lakaribane bought for me by request while she was in Montreal recently! I think I’ve lost track of the number of international borders these 5 meters of fabric have crossed, but I am so happy to have more, because the three running leggings I’ve sewn with the stash I bought in March are my favourites ever.
2. I recently went on a bit of a Young Image magazines and envelope patterns binge, so I sat down with my mom while she was here and she picked out some designs she thought my niece might like for her Christmas present…read more >>
It’ll be no surprise to you that I’ve already started on my Fall sewing, since you’ve just heard all about my upcoming trench jacket, but I’ve been thinking about the rest of my Fall sewing ambitions over the last few weeks. Having August temperatures mostly in the 50sF (16-20C) meant that I was mentally ready for cooler weather a long time ago!
I’ve got the fabric for all (but two) of these already, too, so I’m sure to get through a lot of my stash this way, too… Though I did just buy some new fabric in order to make four of these, oops. More on the matching fabric later.
- The trench jacket – Burda magazine 02-2009-119 – finished!
- The transitional jacket – My Image Winter 2011 #M1165
- A silk blouse – Burda magazine 09-2010-110 – finished!
- The “I mean business” skirt suit – Burda magazine 09-2011-126 and Burda magazine 09-2011-127 – both already traced!
- A basic cowl tee – My Image Winter 2011 #M1152
- A silk blouse – Manequim 08-2011-356 – already traced!
- A basic cowl tee – Lekala 4039
- “Off duty” jeans – KnipMode 12-2005-10
- A silk blouse – Manequim 08-2011-360 – already traced!
First of all, congratulations to #9 Rebecca, #13 Olga, #17 RuthieK, #14 Clair McLaughlin, and #20 NancyK who were the winners in last week’s Lekala contest! I picked these using Random.org but you’ll just have to trust me that I did so without any favouritism (Seriously, if I was faking it I would’ve picked a few numbers from the beginning and the end of the list, too. Funny how all the picks were in the middle this time around…)! Each of these ladies received a Lekala code good for 2 credits, so if you’re one of the winners, skip ahead to step two below to activate the code I just emailed you.
Since Lekala use an ordering system different to what any other site uses, and the English isn’t 100% perfect, I thought it might be good to go through the steps on how to purchase patterns on their site. Please note that I do not work at Lekala, nor do I have any affiliation with them, nor have I been paid in any way for this post! If you need help from Lekala, please email Lekala customer support.
If you just want to try their custom sized patterns without buying anything you can enter in your measurements on the limited set of free patterns here. Or if you happen to be their special example size (165h/84b/74ub/64w/92h in cm) , you can download all their patterns for free in those set measurements by clicking the pdf link next to “FREE DOWNLOAD Pattern on fixed size” anywhere on the site (so if you’re a total grading wizz then I suppose you could always grade that size to match your own, though it’d be a fair amount of work!).
Step One – Buy a code
Before you decide which pattern to purchase, you first need to purchase a code. The idea is kinda like those Pay As You Go mobile phone cards, or top-up mass transit tickets – you purchase the code, which contain credits, and with each pattern, credits are deducted from your code. So you only need to purchase the code, not the individual patterns. read more >>
You’ve seen my version of this fantastic cowl top, now’s your chance to make your own and show me yours!
As you’ll recall, the above is made using Lekala 4020, but I’ve created sleeve bands on the back to echo the ones on the front, so our first step is to alter the pattern for this.
Lekala give full pattern pieces rather than placing some patterns on the fold, so the first thing I like to do is fold the front and the back in half. If you’re altering the back like me, then cut the back piece in half along this foldline (at the CB).
To echo the sleeve bands/yokes on the back, first lay the front sleeve band/yoke piece onto the back, and mark the corresponding widths at the back shoulder and the back side seam, so the two bands will align nicely when sewn together. Then, using the front yoke piece as a guide, draw a nice curve to join the two points, trying to keep the width of the yoke even. Lastly, draw a double notch somewhere in the lower half across the line, so you’ve got the notches on both the back piece and your new back band piece. Then cut along the line and treat as two pieces.read more >>
I feel like I made this top so long ago, but the delay in showing it to you really wasn’t my fault! First it got delayed for a week while I went and bought more grey topstitching thread for the shoulder bands (and then immediately afterwards I found my other spool inside the case of my vintage hand crank Singer machine! Isn’t that always the way??), and then I had another week delay in taking photos while we waited for a break in the awful weather (mid-50sF and rainy for the past week, guh).
But cast your mind back with me and you’ll recall that I chose Lekala 4020, only I opted to create echoing sleeve bands on the back to decrease the “coffin back” look:
I’ve got full instructions on this pattern alteration and my order of construction coming shortly (honestly, they’re ready to go – I made the wise decision to write them right after making mine), so if you like the design and you’re roughly a Burda size 44, you may want to snap up this pattern while size 44s are free on Lekala’s site for another few days….
I made this top using some more offcuts of silver silk jersey, either leftover from Gez’s bridesmaid dress or from my sister-in-law’s LMB tunic, I’m not entirely sure which. But this stuff is so lush and drapey and easy to wear that I just can’t bear to let a single scrap go to waste! And the cowl neck here definitely benefits from a nice, drapey fabric, too.read more >>
Yesterday I ran a 10km running race to celebrate my 2nd rebirthday of my bone marrow transplant (well, it’s a month early but this race is so much nicer than the July one I ran last year!).
The race went really well, and I truly gave it EVERYTHING I had, running the first 4 kilometers at an astonishingly fast 5min per km pace, and then I tailed back to a bit more realistic 5:30/km pace until the last 200 meters, when I gave an all out sprint for the finish!
Like last year, I ran with the memory of my three departed BMT friends firmly in my mind – this was for Vera, Rob, and David, who fought so so hard, and who even today inspire me to push and fight even harder on their behalf.
I wasn’t quite sure how well I did until I viewed the official chip times on the website last night… 51:21!! That’s only 7 seconds off my pre-illness Personal Best! I really was only trying to beat last year’s time of 53:38, and I honestly didn’t think I’d come anywhere close to that magical 51 minute point for me!read more >>
My turquoise and silver motif dress is nearly done (check out the fantastic lace hem tape I found in my stash to pretty-fy my hem, too!), but it doesn’t stop me thinking ahead…
- Lekala 4020 – My brain needs a quick knit top, and I looooove the cowl neck and shoulder yokes on this. I’ve created echoing sleeve bands on the back to decrease the “coffin back” look (the only reason I haven’t made their “S dress” yet is that I’m contemplating how to jazz up the back on it. Any ideas?). I’ve got some small lengths of silver silk jersey left in my stash that I think will find a good home in this top.
Even better is that they’ve got every pattern available in a free size 44 pdf this month if you want to try them free before you do the custom-size thing!
- A foam cup bra – OMG I am amazingly excited to learn there’s a pattern out now for making the type of bras I buy in RTW with the moulded, foam cups! It’s the Pin Up Girls “Amanda” bra pattern. I’ve made bras before, but I’ve never been happy with the fit, and I think that half my problem is that I’m trying to sew the kind of bras I never actually buy…
I had an email chat with the lovely Kellie, owner of The Sewing Chest shop (the best UK source of elastic and boning and lingerie fabrics, hands down!), and I’m now totally excited about sewing bras again. She’s advised me to put some of her foam cups onto the non-cup parts of the KwikSew 3300 bra I’ve made before, and see how that goes. She’s also advised me to use a different underwire size, too. Fingers crossed for bra success!
read more >>
This is a project that is new-to-you, but feels old-to-me! I made this top for my nephew back in February, but I only just now got sent some photos of him (and my niece, who I’ll show you next week) wearing the gift!
These were meant to be Christmas gifts, but the timing of my pre-Christmas swine flu meant I was totally unable to complete them on time for the Christmas posting deadlines. My sister-in-law said I should just send them over whenever I got a chance, as the kids get so many gifts at Christmas that they’d probably appreciate them more at another time of year anyway. I thought this was supremely wise thinking, and it also made me feel much less guilty for being a “bad Auntie”!
I chose Lekala 7089 (modified) for my nephew, Logan.
I realised the last two things I made for him were hoodies, so I decided to leave off the hood on this one for something different. There’s a noted lack of patterns out there for boys over that magical 128cm height mark (what’s up with that, Burda??), but there’s a pretty great selection of Lekala stuff for boys, and because the sizing is custom, you can make it for any sized nephew you want!
I thought this looked really wide in the body when I’d finished it, but it looks okay and intentional when he’s wearing it, so I think it’s probably just because it was drafted with more ease for sweatshirts rather than the teeshirt material I used here.read more >>
You wouldn’t know it from the lack of sewing photos, but I’ve actually been fairly productive over the past two weeks.
I was a terrible auntie this year and failed to make anything nice for my niece and nephew this Christmas, and my sister-in-law said I should just send them something when I get around to it, seeing as how they’re both so overwhelmed at Christmas anyhow. So before I got started on my March Mini Wardrobe stuff, I took an afternoon to make these, which are currently in transit:
I made a fluffy pink zebra minkee bolero for my 7 year old niece, and an adapted (ie: no hood) monsters and red jersey tee for my 8 year old nephew. You’ll see more about these when they try them on, with any luck…
And while I was clearing the sewing guilt decks, I finally also made the silver silk jersey dress I’d promised (and muslined) for James’s sister over a year ago!read more >>
Many of you correctly guessed that my first project from my post-coat winter sewing plans would be the Lekala knit top, as there’s nothing better than a “quick knit top” after a long and involved project!
Lekala patterns are usually €0.50 each (€1 if you want seam allowances included), but 8004 is one of Lekala’s free patterns made to your measurements. You enter in your height, bust, underbust, waist, and hips (all in cm), and then you’re emailed a pdf pattern! I chose the pdf pattern for A4 paper with no seam allowances.read more >>
Now that I’ve got my big winter coat sewing out of the way, I can turn my attentions to filling in a few gaps in my winter wardrobe. Sewing these things now means I can get another good 3-4 months of wear out of them before moving on to short sleeves and lighter jackets (no really, for the past few years we’ve had flurries and hard frosts in April or May).
So I’ve gathered together the patterns I’d most like to sew along with fabrics I’ve got in my stash that would help fill my wardrobe voids…
Starting at the top of this collage, we’ve got:read more >>
Pip came round last night for dinner, drinks, holiday food exchange (French cheese from me and Greek nougat from her!), and her final fitting on her bridesmaid dress.
If you cast your mind back to April and May, her gown is the long, purple, silk jersey Gant exclusive design gown from the Sept 2008 Burda magazine.
I’d completed the gowns back in May, but I left off the tiny covered buttons on the cummerbund and finishing the hem until closer to the day so that they wouldn’t have to worry about gaining or losing a few pounds, or deciding on different shoes before now!
Happily, Pip’s gown fits her perfectly, with minimal overlap at the cummerbund, and really her hem was just about perfect with her chosen heels. But then we realised that if she switched to her comfort flip-flops on the dancefloor, the hem would drag, so I’m going to pull up the hem by an inch.
Then Pip wanted to see me in my gown, and since I hadn’t tried it on since the skirt was attached, I felt it was a good idea. But even though I was capable of wrestling into the boned bodice before, it was proving impossible (and more than a little claustrophobic) with the attached skirt. It was apparent that I had to remove the brass bar at the top of the zipper to allow the top to fully open and give me extra room to squeeze into the gown. I’d thought I might have to, but I kept it in until now since it wasn’t a problem. So now I’ll just need to add one or more hook and eyes to the top of the zipper to keep it all in place.read more >>