Category Archives: Clothing

Zen Chameleons

Not content with my unfinished jeans, I decided to start another pair of trousers this week…. this fabric is the same type as the penguins, polar bears and astronomy designs and has just about the right amount of stretch to make a pair of Zen Pants* by 5 out of 4 Patterns. I bought a metre and a half this time, just in case a metre wasn’t enough, and picked out a vibrant pink for the top stitching.

I played around with the back pockets, making them a hybrid of the Zen pocket, crossed with the Real Deal Jeans pocket.

And what better way to try out my new smiley face poppers, than on the cargo pocket? This is the first time I’ve tried adding a cargo pocket to a pair of trousers, and it went surprisingly well.


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Pattern: Zen Pants* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
Fabric: Cotton Elastane from Fashion Fabrics

Real Deal Penguins!

Ok, I know I haven’t finished my first Real Deal Jeans yet, but I spotted this penguin fabric in town the other day, and couldn’t resist seeing if it’d work for another pair of jeans.

This is a stretchier fabric than the pattern calls for, so I’ll be adding in some elastic to the waistband, just to help it keep its shape.

I didn’t do any decorative stitching on the back pockets this time, as the penguins are really all the detail it needs.

These should be really comfy to wear – I just need to get on and finish sewing them now!


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Pattern:  Real Deal Jeans* by WinterWear Designs*
Fabric: Cotton Elastane from Fashion Fabrics

 

Making my own Jeans (UFO)

I’ve always wanted to be brave enough to make my own jeans. In fact, this year I added the Real Deal Jeans* by WinterWear Designs* to my 9 to Try in order to persuade myself to pluck up the courage to attempt them!

I decided that denim was going to be tricky on my Janome 525s – I’d struggled with it not feeding through evenly if there’s a bulky seam, and felt that denim would be a step too far as a first attempt. Instead, I found some lightweight cotton elastane fabric which looked like it might work well. I bought a metre, expecting it to be enough for a pair of shorts, seeing as the pattern says you’d need 3 metres.

As luck would have it, being petite in height and a smaller size, meant I could actually fit an entire pair of jeans on this metre of fabric!

Top stitching isn’t my favourite pastime, but I’ve made a special effort to make this as neat as possible…. even though most of it isn’t visible against the patterned fabric!


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Pattern:  Real Deal Jeans* by WinterWear Designs*
Fabric: Cotton Spandex from Sewing Studio

 

Fruit Polo Polar Bear Knot (UFO)

I wasn’t planning on making another Knot Your Average Top* quite so soon, but when I came across some digital print Cotton Elastane in the fabric shop, I knew it was going to make a great top!

I’ve got “so far” with this top, and had to stop to try and figure out just how to make it work – I’ve added in a second layer to the top bodice part, as a ‘shelf bra’. That bit went well, but I’m trying to work out how to add in the elastic and sew the side seams neatly without getting too many lumps of crossing seams!

I think it’ll be worth the effort though, and will make a great top for the autumn, as it’s probably going to be too thick to wear on a hot summer’s day!


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Pattern: Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
Fabric: Cotton Elastane from Fashion Fabrics

Union Street Tee (UFO)

After trying some raglan sleeve t-shirts, I decided it was time I attempted a v-neck, and the Union Street Tee* by Hey June Handmade caught my eye.

As usual with Hey June Handmade* patterns, the instructions are really detailed, so I figured I would be able to make a super v-neck…. unfortunately, due to user error, my v-neck is currently looking rather lopsided.

As I was sewing the neckline band, I think I must have stretched one side further than the other…. unfortunately, I didn’t realise until I’d top stitched the band, so I don’t know if it’ll be possible to unpick to resew that.

Maybe I’ll just leave it wonky, and call it a design feature!

 


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Pattern:  Union Street Tee* by Hey June Handmade
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Ascent 2

I know it doesn’t seem overly seasonal, but with the great British Summer approaching, you never quite know what thickness of clothing you will need! In March we had snow, then a mini heatwave in April, before temperatures of 7C again! Besides, it’s nice to have a warm fleece to wear on a chilly late spring / early summer’s evening.

Following from my first Ascent fleece, I decided to change the facing a little, to make it easier to sew. I couldn’t find a suitably chunky zip this time, so I picked out a 10″ open zip instead and just covered the end with my facing.

I used bias binding for the facing – it dawned on me that a zip wouldn’t stretch sideways, so why did the facing need to be stretchy? The bias binding was a dream to sew in comparison to the jersey I used last time, and links in the white zips as well.

The pockets have regular zips again, but I stuck with white non-concealed zips to lift the navy blue fleece. Too much of a dark plain colour can look too heavy for the person this is made for, so I felt the white zips would lighten it enough for her.

The pockets are self-lined with the fleece, and while that’s not ideal for this time of year, it’ll be perfect for Autumn and Winter, with no risk of cold hands while she’s wearing this!

If you want to be really picky, the front section doesn’t quite seem to want to hang properly – it looks like it’s a little caught up near the base of the zip. But the relative I made this for was perfectly happy with it, and once it’s being worn you really wouldn’t notice it at all.

The pattern has been adjusted for her height (or lack of!), but I added in some extra length to save needing to add a band at the base.


Pattern: Ascent Fleece* by 5 out of 4 patterns*
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics
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Hey June Lane Raglan

After my attempt at making the Shark Rivage Raglan, I wanted to try a different pattern that was a little more fitted without being designed to be skin tight. Enter the Lane Raglan* by Hey June Handmade, which actually comes complete with a FBA pattern piece to save the hassle of trying to add in a FBA to a raglan top (which is something I wouldn’t have a clue how to do!).

Ignoring the fact that I cut the fabric upside down on one sleeve, so those swans are swimming the wrong way up, I’m really pleased with how this came out.

Adding the neckband was a little challenging in places, but once I got my sewing machine to co-operate, it went on quite neatly. I topstitched the neckband in place with a stretch stitch, but reverted back to a zigzag for the cuffs as that is a more forgiving stitch if you’re slightly off line!

 


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Pattern: Lane Raglan* by Hey June Handmade
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

5 out of 4 – 20K Blog Tour

If there’s one thing about the British weather, it’s remarkably unpredictable! We always joke that you can spot a tourist by the way they’re unprepared for rain, or unusually cold snaps, so it seemed a logical step to make myself a warm fleece as part of the 5 out of 4 20k blog tour! Yes, you read that right, 5 out of 4 patterns* has hit 20k members in their facebook group!
Keep reading to check out my make, and read right on to the bottom of his post for details of the 40% off sale and giveaway!

I used the Ascent Fleece* pattern by 5 out of 4 patterns* again, but you’ve probably noticed that my fleece looks totally different from the other Ascent I made before. I’ve got a couple of RTW full-length zip fleeces, but I never find it comfortable to zip them up further than the base of my neck, so I thought a lace up style might be more user-friendly, while still keeping me warm!

I had to deviate from the pattern quite a bit to achieve the lace-up look, so I hope you’re paying attention at the back there, if you want to follow along!

Place the facing and front pieces right sides together and stitch as per the instructions. If you prefer to have no raw edges showing (although as fleece doesn’t fray, it’s not the end of the world), you can overlock / zigzag the two long sides and base of the facing first.

Cut down the centre of the facing stitching, and turn the facing in. The right side of the facing should now be on the wrong side of the front piece. Pin this in place.

Making sure to leave enough space for the eyelets, stitch down one side, across the base, then up the other side to secure the facing in place. I used a straight stretch stitch just for strength, as it won’t really need to stretch much (if at all). I used 4mm eyelets – there’s not really any need to use huge ones, as long as you can fold the tape or fit the cord through the hole.

Add the collar as stated in the instructions, but bear in mind that the facing is already sewn in (there’s no zip to fold it around), so when sewing the inner collar to the outer, you can start at the base of the short edge, sew up, along the top, then down the opposite short edge, before turning the inner collar to the inside.

I added in the holes for my eyelets at this point, but because the inner collar base hasn’t yet been stitched, I didn’t add in the eyelets – you really don’t want to be sewing over the top of them!


I used a straight stretch stitch on the ‘stitch in the ditch’ around the collar base, but decided to skip the top stitching around the top of the collar. I didn’t think it was necessary as the collar stands up fine without it. Really that’s just personal preference – the majority of RTW fleece tops do have that topstitching.

I started fitting the eyelets at this point, but stopped part way through as the thickness of the fleece was proving a bit of a challenge. I will admit I made a mess of 5 or 6 eyelets before I managed to get the fleece to behave, and all the eyelets in place.

I used a metre of plain tape and just threaded it through the eyelets as if I was lacing a shoe. I could probably trim the tape down a little, but I’d rather have it too long than not long enough. It was worth the hassle of the eyelets, as it certainly helps to keep the cold out, while being fully adjustable!

Can I just say that I love patterns which use a 3/8″ seam allowance, as that is the same as the width of my walking foot, so it’s really easy to line up on straight edges and on curves.

On to the pockets next, and another small deviation. I don’t have a concealed zipper foot for my machine (and really don’t want to fork out £20 or so for a branded one), so I picked out two standard zips instead. Rather than following the instructions, I used the method I came across before, for adding a zip to a dress.
You sew the side seam, then backstitch just where the zip is meant to start. Change the stitch length to the longest straight stitch you can, and tack (baste) for the length of the zip. Change back to whatever stitch you were using on the side seam, take a couple of stitches forwards, then backstitch to lock that in, before finishing sewing that seam.

If you look closely, you can see the difference in stitch length between the main seam (to the right of the zip) and the tacking where the zip will be.

Then you place the fleece wrong side up, and position the zip face down over the tacked stitches. I did straighten the zip out before sewing, as I realised it was somewhat wonky the way I’d pinned it to start with!

Turning everything right side up, carefully sew the zip into place. I kept the walking foot on for this step, so I had to sew half the zip at a time (I couldn’t get the zipper pull to move past the walking foot), but if you sewing machine will cope with the fleece and a zipper foot, that is a much better option.

Then just unpick the tacking (basting) stitches to open the pocket up and make it usable! This method will result in the stitches and the zip showing a lot more obviously than if you were using a concealed zip.

I added the pocket linings as the instructions stated, although I did use the main fabric for the pockets as well – I like to be able to plunge my hands into warm, cosy pockets on a cold day, so fleece was a necessity! That has made the front a little more bulky, but to my surprise my machine handled all those layers with no trouble at all when it came to hemming the base.

Although it was a cold windy day when these photos were taken, I was perfectly warm with my fleece top. It was definitely a wise idea to use the same fabric for the pockets, as my hands were suitably warm and toasty!

  

Never a wise idea to not have your hair tied back fully when it’s windy!

Wondering where the blog tour will take you this week? Here’s a handy little schedule to make sure you don’t miss any of the stops 🙂

5 out of 4 Patterns 20k Blog Tour Schedule

April 2 – Tales from a Southern Mom | Miss Marah Sewn

April 3 – Dragon’s Flame Designs | Poppy Monroe Collection

April 4 – Pear Berry Lane | Candi Couture Designs

April 5 – Sewing with D | Kathy Kwilts and More

April 6 – The Sassy Seamripper | My Heart Will Sew On

And to top off their celebrations, 5 out of 4 patterns* are not only offering 40% off their patterns (excluding Gloria) from Monday 2nd April through Saturday 7th April with the code SOBIG, but also have an amazing giveaway you can enter! Check out the prizes on offer (and how to enter) in the Rafflecopter box below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And good luck!


*

Pattern: Ascent Fleece* by 5 out of 4 patterns*
Fabric: Mark Pickles Sewing Studio
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Shark Rivage Raglan

While I was looking for some cotton to make a dress (which incidentally, I haven’t even cut the pattern pieces for yet!), this shark jersey caught my eye. It’s not a pattern I would usually wear, but there was something about it which looked like it would make a great t-shirt, so I bought just over a metre in the hope that would be enough.

I wasn’t too sure on the fit of the Blanc to make another just yet, so I used the Rivage Raglan pattern.

I’m still not sure on the high-low style hem…. I think maybe I need to make the hem a bit longer at the front, and possibly even level it out to make it a straight hem.

I do love the pattern on the fabric though! I stuck with a zigzag stitch rather than a straight stretch stitch, as my machine finds it easier to feed through with a zigzag. It worked really well though, and the white thread gives a slight contrast to break up the pale blue.

 


Pattern: Rivage Raglan by Blank Slate Patterns
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics

Knot your Average – take two

After my previous  Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns, I decided to try making one without the contrast colour and also in a slightly different size to see if it ended up as a better fit.

I got on better sewing the knot this time, although there are still a couple of points where I had to hand stitch the seam line, as I still didn’t get the sewing machine needle quite close enough to the knot itself!

I will admit I forgot to change the sizing on the back, although the front is now a S all the way through. Maybe in a slightly less ‘clingy’ fabric it wouldn’t feel quite so slim-fit still.

I stuck to the pattern instructions with the hems this time and the front panel obviously went in a lot better, as there are no awkward lines coming down from the knot! Maybe next time I will remember to alter the sizing at the waist and hips, so it has a more relaxed feel.


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Pattern: Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics