Upcoming and Planned Projects

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Circle of Top

So in one of Papercut Patterns' sales a few months back I bought a few patterns. I had planned to get some of their most recent collection, but ended up going with older patterns instead. This is the first one I've sewn, the Circle Top.

I love cardigans and jumpers. Honestly, it's a good thing I can't knit because I'd be wanting to make so many cardis. Overflowing piles of fabric and patterns are enough to deal with without adding a yarn stash in. So I'm going to make what I can with sewing instead. I haven't yet made much in the way of cardigans because I haven't found patterns I like, but this one is really good.

What appealed to me about the Circle Top is how cosy it looked. I do like fit and some level of structure in my other clothes, but I'm a big fan of cardigans and jumpers that can be pulled around oneself, sleeves that I can pull down over my hands, and generally having cardis that are as blanket-like as possible. This pattern being a giant circle with long sleeves basically is a wearable round blanket, so it's great. It can be worn with the top half of the circle up like a hood or down like a cape collar, so it's nice and versatile.

The fabric is just a basic dove grey ponte from Spotlight which I bought for this pattern. I wasn't entirely sure on how the size of this pattern would affect the drape, and I also wanted something that was still solid enough to definitely be durable. I thought a ponte would fit the bill well. And it didn't hurt that it was on sale. I chose a plain fabric because I wasn't sure how a print would turn out with this top, and the dove grey because it's nice and neutral but not drab. Although it does look a little like the killer in I Know What You Did Last Summer when viewed from behind with the hood up.

The pattern is rated rookie, and it really is. It'd be a great choice of pattern for a newbie sewist looking to learn how to use knits. Honestly, it took longer to cut out the pattern than it did to sew it. And half of the sewing time is attaching the binding to the enormous circular hem. Even setting in the sleeves, often really frustrating to do, was very simple. The stretch of the ponte definitely helped with that. but the sizing and shape of the sleeve piece was just right.

This was also my first time sewing with a ponte, and it was a good experience. I had previously sewn lycra and double knit, so it wasn't entirely new. And just like those fabrics, it flowed through my machine with pretty much no problems. The only slight issue was on the hem binding, which is made of three pieces then sewn onto the top. That means that at the seams there are quite a few payers of fabric. My Janome handles those sorts of things, but it does let me know they aren't it's favourite thing to do. But, as long as I slow down and pay attention, it works fine.

I really enjoyed this. It's a quick make, comfortable and easy to throw on with anything.I most likely will make this again, and probably experiment with something other than a ponte. I also might move the sleeves up an inch so that when I put it up on my head as a hood it doesn't fall all the way in front of my eyes. If I make a summery lightweight version I'll also move the sleeves in a teeny bit so that the seams sit on my shoulders, rather than just off as they do on this one.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Hot Pink Merino

The weather is warming up, so this might be the last winter item I blog this year. The pattern is an adjusted version of the Fave Top from Tessuti Patterns. It's a one size pattern and designed to be oversized, so was initially far too overwhelming on me. I trimmed it in, also giving it slightly longer sleeves in the process. This was a bit of trial and error, cutting off a bit more and a bit more until it no longer seemed like I was a toddler playing dress-ups.

I added cuffs to the ends of the sleeves to make it properly long sleeved and wintery. I did initially stuff up the neckline, though. I wanted to make it more of a boatneck but cut it a little too wide so it was wanting to slip down off one shoulder. Combined with the batwing top it was all a bit too '80s, especially as my hair doesn't take much to be '80s fluffy! So I added a small foldover pleat to the centre front and a neckband to bring it in a little and keep it on my shoulders. It's still a loose neckline, but not falling off any more.

The fabric is a merino from The Fabric Store, and is lightweight but still relatively warm. I was a little daunted to sew with it, but it wasn't too bad. It behaved itself very well in my machine. Plus, it was on sale so I hadn't spent too much money on it!

I finished this top over a month ago, but it's taken me a while to put it up. Honestly, it's turned out just how I'd envisioned it, but when I put it on after finishing it I wasn't excited by it. It matched pretty much exactly what was in my head (the sleeve cuffs were meant to be maybe half an inch shorter, but that's it) but I didn't feel as good about it as I thought I would. I'm not normally one to wear oversized and untailored styles, so this top is a departure for me (apart from it being bright and colourful), so it took a few wears to get used to the shape.

This is actually the second lot of photos I took for this. The first were taken at a different spot and on a very sunny day and were all either far too bright or completely washed out. This time it was a slightly cloudy day and I waited for the sun to be off to the side behind some trees, and they've turned out much better.

The pink is very pink. It's been a while since I sewed a pink this bright, but I have sewn with a lot of pink fabrics in the past. At one point I banned myself from buying any more after noticing my excessive pinkness in the line at Lincraft. It was winter, so I was wearing my coat which is fuschia lined with hot pink satin, my phone at the time was pink, I was wearing pink tights, and two of the three fabrics I was buying were pink. I decided I needed to stop being the pink sewing Barbie, and didn't allow myself anything pink for a year. I do now try and be more varied in my colour choices, but was never going to be able to resist something as fabulous as this.

Overall I'm pretty happy with this top. A few things I've made this year have been outside my normal style comfort zone, and it is fun to experiment with different shapes. But it does take getting used to. And because I am, well, child-sized I do need to do adjustments when making something loose and oversized like this. Still, it's turned out well and is very comfy, which is the most important thing.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Hand-sewn Guipure Top

Lace is pretty, but scary. I think I've only sewn with it once before, and it was a cheap piece I found at the local Salvos, only costing $5 for 4 metres of it. It also seems less versatile, so while I could find something to do with a printed cotton, finding something for lace is harder. But when I saw this remnant piece at a local fabric store, My Hung Fabrics, I couldn't go past it. It was $15 for the 40cm piece, so that was an amazing bargain I had to get.

I knew pretty much immediately I was going to make a top with it. The lace is 90cm wide, so it's about the same as the circumference around my shoulders. All I needed to do was stitch the sides together to make a tube, stitch it on either side of the cut edge of the tube so that it left enough room to put it over my head, and clip out around some of the flowers on either side to form the armscye/cap sleeves. So easy on paper. And it was actually surprisingly easy to do, although a bit terrifying to cut in to.

The shape of the top is very basic and simple, given it is just a tube with arm holes, but the simplicity means it drapes really well. It's comfortable and unfussy, but looks really nice. The bottom edge of the top, which would have been the bolt end of the fabric, is uneven as the flowers fall to different places. I did remove one flower from the bottom which was much lower than the others, but left all the others as they were.

One thing I like about hand sewing is that it lets you be so exact. It takes longer, and you have to force yourself to be patient, but you can stitch everything completely hidden. I had a thread that was almost the same colour as the lace to use for this top, and now I can barely find where I stitched the sides together. Machine stitching doesn't let you do that, especially not with a fancy delicate fabric. The neckline is probably where you can most easily found where I've sewn it together, because I had to add in a couple of extra flowers and leaves where the fabric had been cut through. I removed the flowers and leaves that had been cut in half, and added in pieces I'd cut out for the front neckline.

As the whole top is hand sewn, I spent a lot of time watching Netflix while making it (like an excuse is needed to watch Netflix!). I managed to watch the entirely of The Thick of It, which makes a kind of weird juxtaposition. Sweary Malcolm Tucker and fancy fancy lace, probably not a normal combination.

When I bought this lace, the woman at the fabric store told me it was an amazing bargain because Guipure lace normally goes for $100+. So after I finished this top on Saturday night I had a bit of a look online at other Guipure lace, out of interest at its price and because I enjoyed working with it. The few examples on My Hung Fabric's website start at $120. Tessuti fabrics has one that looks pretty much identical except for the colour which is $253 a metre!. That gave me a slight heart attack to see. Honestly, I think if I'd seen that before I started making the top I never would have dared touch the fabric.

But I'm glad I did buy this fabric and make this top, because it's gorgeous. And the fabric is just another reminder that remnant bins are THE BEST PLACE to find fabrics you'd otherwise be too scared to buy.