When a friend announced he was going to be a daddy, I decided it was a good reason to dig out the Patterns for Pirates Wee Lap Tee pattern to make a little t-shirt for the baby. I was organised and had the tee made well in advance, but wanted to wait for the birth announcement to know what colour to make the bear’s top on the card!
Like the previous Wee Lap Tee I made, this one is made from starry jersey. I didn’t want to go with a baby blue shade and as his parents both like shades of green, this should meet with their approval!
Unlike the previous Wee Lap Tee, I added a waistband cuff to this one – I think it makes the overall t-shirt look more professional in its finish.
All I have to hope now, is that it fits little Jonathan!
I will admit I actually made this dress last year, but somehow it missed being blogged! I wasn’t too sure what to make from this cotton lycra, but once I saw the Knot Your Average Top* had a dress option, I knew this was what the fabric would become.
Unlike my Polar Bear Knot Top, I followed the pattern exactly for this dress. I do have some excess fabric bunching above the knot on both sides, and I think maybe that could be resolved on a future Knot Top by losing a little of the height between the shoulder and over bust.
I didn’t want to feel the dress was too snug on the hips, so I picked the a-line version. With the way the cotton lycra holds its shape, I think I could actually get away with the more fitted version. I’m considering taking in the side seams on this one, to make the shape a little more flattering.
I do think I could have used a deeper hem, as that would have helped stop the hem from wanting to flip over – since I made this dress, I’ve discovered that a 1 inch hem is a lot more practical.
I found some buttons which fitted well with the blue, and was planning on using some smaller ones on the cuffs. Unfortunately the bulk of fabric on the cuff meant that my sewing machine thought the one-step buttonhole was meant to be a lot smaller than I was aiming for. Rather than trying to unpick one line of stitches, I cheated and added a popper to the cuff instead. It’s not quite what I was aiming for, but it’s better than risking making a mess with the buttonhole!
I’d already decided I wanted to have a label on the back, and assuming the neckline would be sewn as a regular facing, I added the label and some bias binding around the edge as I didn’t fancy sewing a narrow hem on the curved edge. Then I read down to the next line and realised that the neckline works more like binding than a facing. I really didn’t want to scrap my neckline piece, so I skipped the proper instructions and just attached it as if it was a facing, then topstitched around the bias bound edge to hold it in place.
This has made the neckline slightly lower, but that’s not a problem for me. I’ll have to remember that when I get to that point on my denim Fashionista though, as that bit will come after I’ve added in the lining.
I obviously wasn’t going to try ironing the softshell, so the waistband isn’t quite as crisp as you would expect. But overall, the jacket has a great look, the buttons and buttonholes all line up, the pockets work, and the jacket fits!
Now where’s that rain so I can test out how waterproof this softshell is!
Having cut out the fabric for my Showerproof Fashionista Jacket, I wanted to use some of the left over fabric, but wasn’t too sure what to make. I liked the idea of making some kind of showerproof hat, especially as the jacket doesn’t have a hood and as luck would have it, that day I was browsing on Instagram and discovered that From the Studio (Jamie Kemp) has just released the Clovelly Cap pattern!
Whenever I go outside, I always wear a baseball cap so I don’t get caught with the sunlight, but the caps I’ve been wearing are looking past their best now. I don’t know about you, but I’d always thought that baseball caps would be really complicated to make, involve a lot of additional hardware (which no doubt would be hard to find in local shops), and wouldn’t be worth the effort.
I was intrigued to see how Jamie’s pattern instructions compare to some of the other Indie designers’ patterns I’ve been using. The most noticeable difference is that Jamie uses a more traditional style of line drawings rather than photos to illustrate each step.
But the instructions are really well written, and after holding the pieces together and reading the following step, it made sense what was being sewn where – I didn’t even need to unpick any stitches!
I wasn’t brave (or reckless) enough to iron my softshell, so I stitched the seam allowance down instead. Because those stitches were then stitched over to attach the bias binding, that did leave a few extra stitching lines on the crown. If you don’t look too closely though, you wouldn’t notice them.
As for the supplies needed to make the cap, I already had the softshell left over from cutting my jacket. The lining is a black polycotton I had in my scraps box, I bought the bias binding and velcro, and surprisingly enough finding the square buckle-like piece for the back wasn’t as challenging as I’d thought!
The only potential struggle was the brim stiffener – while my local sewing shops have a good range of items, I had a feeling this would be something too specialised for them to have in stock. I had a rummage through my sewing box, and came across some clear vinyl (pvc) I’d purchased for a different project. I cut two brim stiffener pieces from the vinyl, stitched them together around one edge, and used that inside the brim pieces. Even with the heavier weight of softshell as the underside of the brim, those two layers of vinyl seem to be the perfect choice.
I fully admit I’m already starting more projects than I’m finishing this year, but having spotted this softshell fabric in my local fabric shop for £8 a metre, I couldn’t resist getting enough to make a showerproof Fashionista* jacket for the spring!
At the moment, my Denim Fashionista is semi-shelved while I figure out where I went wrong with the lining – I’d already sewn the denim sleeve to the neckline by mistake (don’t ask how I achieved that!), and in sewing the first part of the lining together, I had more pleats and tucks than I should’ve done. So that’ll need unpicking and some careful pinning to try and resew that.
But rather than plough on through a project that wasn’t going all that well, I decided I needed to feel I could successfully make something. Softshell fabric has a waterproof outer, with a fleece backing – perfect for spring, and also perfect because it doesn’t need a lining!
Now I know this jacket won’t be 100% waterproof, because at the moment I’m not planning on using any tape or anything to seal the seam lines. That means that water could seep through the stitch holes along the topstitching. But really, I think for my first attempt at sewing a proper showerproof jacket, I’m happy with it being 95% showerproof rather than aiming for 100%.
I didn’t want to try colour matching the pockets, so I picked out some ‘natural’ patterned cotton for the pocket bags – if I get them sewn in correctly, they won’t be visible from the outside so it won’t matter that they don’t match!
The back is all sewn and topstitched – I’m beginning to wonder if I should have made an attempt to fussy-cut the foxes, but I think this was the most realistic use of the fabric. If I’d fussy cut or tried matching the fox heads across each piece, I think I would have wasted a lot of the fabric.
The neatest front yoke I’ve stitched so far – yes there is a slight catch where the yoke joins the front panel top stitching, but it’s much better than my denim jacket’s front yoke! I did have a bird’s nest of bobbin thread on the pocket topstitching (I hadn’t realised I was sewing that with the pocket flap upside-down), but I’m hoping I can unpick that without too much hassle.
So far so good, although I’m not looking forward to adding in the sleeves – that’s where my denim Fashionista started to go wrong!
This is the first time I’ve tried mashing two patterns together, let alone two patterns from different designers, but I wanted to try the hood and neckline of the Around the Block Hoodie without risking the rest of the hoodie being too snug as this French Terry wasn’t the cheapest fabric out there!
I was going to use the hood lining fabric for the cuffs, but it was disappointing in it’s thickness and strength. So instead, I used some premade ribbing fabric for the waistband, and found two premade cuffs that worked really well for the sleeve cuffs.
All I need to do now, is get it finished so it’s able to be worn!
It hadn’t ever dawned on me to try making a showerproof jacket to wear on the allotment, but each time I’m working there, it’s almost guaranteed the weather will be either blazing hot sunshine, or showers. I had considered buying a showerproof coat, but after looking at the prices, they all seemed way too expensive for something which would most likely end up covered in mud after the first time I wore it, and no doubt would get snagged on the raspberry thorns!
I didn’t want to attempt a sleeved jacket, as non-stretch fabric potentially wouldn’t allow me the range of movement I would need to be gardening. However, I’d had my eye on the Aspen Fleece Vest* from 5 out of 4* for a while, and after asking if it would work in a non-stretch fabric, decided that I would try making my own showerproof gilet.
I was advised I could go up a size to allow for the lack of stretch, but after making this one, I think I’d be tempted to actually go back down a size for my next one, as this seems roomy enough.
I used ripstop for the outer, so in theory if it gets snagged on the thorns then the hole won’t spread. The lining (which isn’t part of the pattern itself, but was just made to the same size as the outer, then stitched together at the armholes, neckline and base hem) is a plain microfleece.
I used the fleece for both sides of the collar, so it makes it more comfortable to wear.
The stitching isn’t perfect (the lining seems a bit big compared to the outer on the side seams), and I know I messed up trying to sew the armhole seams…. I really need to learn the burrito method! But the jacket is perfectly usable – it’s really comfy, and all I need to do now is go out in the rain to test out how waterproof it is!
Ok, I will admit I finished this Knot Your Average Top* late last year, but I realised I hadn’t ever blogged the finished top! Back in May, I had got to a sticking point with this Polar Bear Knot top, when I wanted to add in a shelf bra style part that isn’t in the pattern, but wasn’t too sure how to make it work.
After what felt like hours of instruction-less fabric origami, I wrangled the shelf bra into place, but had to unpick one sleeve as I’d made a basic error in attaching that to the shelf bra armscye. But that was mostly user error, and trying to add in a shelf bra for the first time, on a pattern that doesn’t include that option.
I won’t be sharing how I eventually achieved adding it in, as I made it ultra complicated – I need to try adding it into a few other patterns to perfect my method, before feeling confident at sharing it!
As with my other Knot your Average tops, the bust section has folds where it appears there’s too much fabric. It’s still there even when I change the cup size on the pattern (even on the smaller cup size top I made from scuba), so I’m assuming that it’s down to either the fit on the shoulder, or maybe needing to take out some height between the shoulder and underbust (that’s not an adjustment I’ve ever tried doing).
So ok, it’s not perfect but then if I’d bought a ready to wear top in a similar style, that was never going to fit me perfectly anyway. I had fun sewing this top, and learnt quite a bit in trying to add in the shelf bra, and that’s what matters!
* – affiliate link Pattern: Knot Your Average Top* by 5 out of 4 Patterns Fabric: Cotton Elastane from Fashion Fabrics
Ok, I will admit that I did the very first part of my WinterWear Designs Fashionista* last year, but because I filed it away over Christmas and New Year, I’m counting this as my first UFO for 2019.
The Fashionista* has a shaped front yoke which looks really good, but did prove a little challenging to sew accurately. I know there’s a slight catch in the front section below the yoke, but there’s a matching one on the other side so I’m calling it a design feature rather than a mistake 😉
The back still needs pressing from where the middle panel was stored folded, but it’s looking like the variegated topstitching thread was worth buying. I chose to only do one line of topstitching instead of two, but I’m using a triple straight stretch stitch so it shows up more than a regular stitch.
That’s the front and back panels complete, so I’ll be working on the shoulder seams next, before diving into the sleeves. Denim jackets normally are unlined, but I spotted this ex-designer fabric on the Minerva Crafts website and thought it could make an interesting addition to my Fashionista. Once I’ve got the sleeves attached, I’ll then work on the lining, before adding the front plackets, cuffs and waist band…. or at least that’s the plan – it might well end up unlined if I can’t figure out how to add a lining!