Monthly Archives: May 2017

Oceanside Shorts – take one

I’ve always been wary of the thought of sewing shorts or trousers. There’s something about the potential alterations that seemed even more scary than sewing neat buttonholes on the front of a shirt! I had attempted some pyjama shorts last year, but never anything that would be suitable to wear outside. But when I spotted the Blank Slate Patterns Oceanside Shorts pattern I decided it was worth a try.

The back is elasticated with drawstrings attached, which gives the shorts a relaxed comfortable fit. I used part of a duvet cover as a trial run, just in case I needed to do any alterations. Much to my amazement, however, there were absolutely no alterations needed!

My finished Oceanside Shorts

The pockets have a neat feature, with the top corner folded over. They are meant to have a decorative button to hold down the corner flap, but I’m still trying to find a couple of buttons shaped liked butterflies which would match the pattern on the fabric.

Shorts pocket - there's a folded corner detail to the pockets

I did make the shorts marginally longer than the pattern stated, but when I make my next pair, I’ll probably just stick to the length in the pattern.

Just to prove the shorts fit, here's a photo of them being worn

I will admit I’ve worn these shorts so much, that the fabric has actually worn through into a hole! Considering the fabric was just part of a cheap duvet cover, I’m not too annoyed – I’ve got a pattern than I know works, and I have plenty of fabric left over, so I can easily make myself another pair the same again.

Working on product testing

There’s no “work in progress” photos this week, as I’m working my way through some product testing fabric for Minerva Crafts. The biggest challenge at the moment, is picking out a pattern to make from the fabric selection – I never realised how tricky that part could be!

Minky Fleece

Lots of patterns for plushies use what they describe as Minky fabric. I found several American companies that sell it, but nowhere in the UK. I even asked in my local fabric shop, and had a confused look from the salesperson who had obviously never heard of it.

Browsing through one shop online, I discovered that UK stores actually call minky fabric “Cuddle Fleece” or “plush” fabric – no wonder I couldn’t find it anywhere!

I placed an order for a small amount of Soft Cuddle in Cappuccino, which is quite a neat shade of brown, and also some “Rabbit Cuddle” which has more of a random texture to the fabric rather than being totally soft and sleek.

I’ve not yet finished making anything from these, but I have got as far as marking out the pattern on the reverse. I wasn’t too sure what would be the best way of marking the pattern – chalk wouldn’t be that easy to use on the fabric, so in the end I used a biro.


Finished Showerproof Shoreline Boatneck

Well, the showerproof jacket is not 100% “finished” as I haven’t added a hood to it, but it’s 90% finished and wearable, so I’m counting that as no longer being a UFO! I ‘hacked‘ the Blank Slate Patterns Shoreline Boatneck to make a button-up shirt, and had the idea of making a showerproof jacket to wear on the allotment.

Sewing with ripstop gave some unexpected challenges though, as it slips around even more than fake fur when you’re trying to sew. I couldn’t pin unless it was within the seam allowance, as the pin holes were challenging and sometimes impossible to get rid of afterwards, so it took a lot of slow sewing and careful pinning to achieve.

The front closes with velcro, so it’s possible to do it up (and undo it) with gardening gloves on.

Eventually there will be a hood that will attach with velcro on the neckline. I decided to make the hood detachable for ease of sewing…. mainly because I was uncertain how to add the hood onto a jacket that had a facing. But it should also make the jacket more user-friendly when it comes to washing it.

So far I haven’t hemmed the sleeves or the base, partly because I wasn’t too sure how long I wanted the sleeves to be, but mainly because I don’t think ripstop will run, so there isn’t really much need to hem them.

The ripstop should be showerproof (although I know if I get caught in a deluge, I’ll still get wet), and hopefully any mud or soil should just be able to be sponged off.

Calligraphy – just for a change

I’ve taken a week or two off from sewing, so instead of a current UFO (unfinished object), I’ve got a little calligraphy project to share.

I don’t like the idea of practising for the sake of practise, so my calligraphy practise is usually envelope art!

I hope it also brightens the postie’s day when they see the colourful envelopes 🙂