Hop over to the Minerva Crafts Blog to see what I made from this nautical polycotton – it’s never too late to think of summer sewing!
I cut out this Button-Up Top* last year, then shelved it because I ran out of fabric for the sleeves. I managed to get some contrasting fabric in the autumn last year, then decided that it a summer-weight short sleeve shirt wasn’t a project I wanted to work on in the colder months, so it was shelved again.
So this week I started sewing the pieces together, and realised that my first attempt at pattern matching (albeit only the horizontal lines) actually worked surprisingly well!
Both front pieces line up really well, give or take a few millimetres, and I tried to line up the back yoke with one of the lines, so it gives a nice border to that piece. Unfortunately I wasn’t as careful in cutting out the back – I was more eager to use as much of the fabric as possible, than trying to match the lines.
I’m trying to ignore the back not being anywhere near lined up… after all, when I’m wearing it I won’t be able to see the back anyway! All I need to do now, is work on the sleeves and collar, then find some suitable buttons. Hopefully I can still get it finished during the summer!
It’s taken a while, plus some unpicking when I accidentally stitched the sleeve to the neckline… (yeah, don’t ask how I managed that!) but my denim Fashionista* is looking less like a pile of pieces, and a lot more like a jacket now!
The lining was where I came unstuck when I shelved this project last month, but I decided I ought to just get on and try it again. I didn’t unpick the seam where it caught up, but to be honest I don’t think you’d know now it’s all sewn together!
I hadn’t expected to find branded lining fabric, but when I came across this Jaeger lining, I knew it would work really well for a jacket lining. It does make the jacket a lot more structured – the jacket looks like it’s still being worn when it’s on a hanger!
The sleeves need a little hand stitching just to catch the lining into the side of the placket, but other than that they were sewn exactly as the pattern suggested. Eventually the cuffs will have buttonholes and denim buttons, but I want to test using my Prym pliers to attach the buttons as I think that might work a lot better than hammering them.
I decided to stay with just one line of topstitching but deviated from the pattern to top stitch the sleeve seam as well. I thought that would help to strengthen the seam after I had to unpick it.
Although the jacket looks mostly finished, as you can see by this photo, I still have the waistband to attach, and the buttons to add. As with my Showerproof Fashionista, I chose to sew the facing as you would normally expect, rather than adding it like bias binding as the pattern suggests. That was I was able to use my ‘take it easy’ ribbon piece on the back as a label.
Starting the Denim Fashionista – Part way through the Denim Fashionista (this post) – Finished Denim Fashionista
….or in other words, I’ve finished my Showerproof Softshell Fashionista jacket! I still haven’t finished my denim version of the Fashionista*, but this softshell jacket has come out looking fantastic.
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!
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!
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!
Starting the Denim Fashionista (this post) – Part way through the Denim Fashionista – Finished Denim Fashionista
I really don’t know how I’m making so many mistakes with jeans at the moment – my first ever pair of denim jeans came out as I expected, but since then my jeans have been going wrong!
First let’s start with the positives on these Real Deal Jeans*. I decided to do some decorative top stitching on the back yoke, and also for the back pockets. The yoke stitching isn’t overly visible unless you look closely, but that doesn’t matter as the anchor pattern is quite bold anyway.
So the back was a definite success, which means the front must have the disaster, right? I don’t know if it’s just the way I put the zip in, or if I’m missing something in the instructions, but the left side is a different height at the waistband to the right-hand side.
What seems to happen, is that the zip moves (despite being pinned), and ends up slightly higher on the second side. I had this before with my Penguin RDJs but while my Dawn jeans didn’t have this mistake, these anchor jeans have a more noticeable difference between the left and right at the waistband.
Not only that, but I had a disaster with the button – when I hammered it in, it ended up skewed.
So before I get on and sort the hem to finish these off, does anybody have any recommendations for how to remove the hammered-in button, and also to resolve the waistband problem, or will I be stuck with that lopsidedness forever?
It’s taken me a little while to get back to finish this Button Up*, but it was worth taking my time on!
I had the idea of adding in piping to the armholes instead of using bias binding, which worked much better. The piping adds just enough interest to the arm, without making the seams too bulky.
Rather than adding in poppers again, I bought some fancy buttons and hand stitched them on. The only thing I did do ‘wrong’ was the orientation of the buttonholes – I stitched mine horizontally, but afterwards realised that shirt buttonholes are usually vertical!
But it is a perfectly wearable and comfortable shirt – I just hope we get a lot more hot weather so I can wear it!
One of my quicker makes, this one wasn’t a UFO for long!
Not only did I add in the bias binding for the armhole and side seams, but I decided to be creative with the stitching on the front panels. I picked a contrast goldy brown thread which stands out against the purple without being too ‘in your face’, and chose a couple of decorative stitches to top stitch those seams.
I cheated and used poppers instead of buttons, but with smiley poppers like these (especially those which match the flowers on the shirt), how could I resist?